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Your smile is one of the first things people notice. So what do people see when you smile?

If you aren’t flashing a perfect pearly-white smile, don’t fret; you aren’t alone. In fact, very few people are born with perfectly straight teeth, which is why so many turn to Invisalign to fix their smile.

Invisalign is a great alternative to traditional braces, and the treatment isn’t as expensive as you might think. Here, we’ll discuss the process, including the average cost of Invisalign. By the end, you’ll have a much better idea of what to expect from your treatment and how affordable Invisalign is.

How Does Invisalign Work?

Unlike traditional metal braces, getting Invisalign is a more discreet way to correct your smile. Invisalign uses clear aligners like the mouthpieces athletes wear to protect their teeth instead of metal brackets and wires. 

These clear aligners are completely removable, making them much more convenient than braces when it comes to eating and cleaning your teeth. The best part is they are more effective too.

Only a professional orthodontist can say for sure, but Invisalign has proven extremely effective in treating nearly every condition that affects your smile. Crowding teeth happen when there isn’t enough space in the jaw bone. Teeth grow in at odd angles, but Invisalign can correct overcrowding.

Gaps in teeth are common and one of the easiest conditions to treat with Invisalign. Overbites, underbites, and crossbites are all treatable with Invisalign. Talk with an orthodontist to determine if you’re a candidate for Invisalign. 

What Is the Average Cost of Invisalign?

The cost of Invisalign varies from person to person because every smile is different. The average cost is around $5,000, with small corrections costing as little as $2,000 or more difficult corrections as much as $7,000 or more.

There are factors that can raise these costs, such as additional orthodontic work needed before you can begin using Invisalign.

Teeth extraction can be necessary, especially with overcrowding. You may not have the space in your mouth to straighten all of your teeth.

The average cost of a tooth extraction ranges between $1,000 and $1,500 without insurance. If you have insurance, you can expect to pay between $300 and $600, depending on your coverage and deductible.

Severely crooked or twisted teeth might need to be shaped, adding to the Invisalign cost. Shaping teeth can cost as little as $100 per tooth.

In most cases, you’ll need a retainer once the straightening with Invisalign is complete. These retainers cost between $300 and $700.

Some orthodontists offer a lifetime replacement program where you pay around $1,000 upfront and never have to pay to replace your retainer, should you lose it.

Ways to Save on Invisalign

There are ways to save money while still realizing the benefits of Invisalign. You can research the following programs to see which methods work best for you.

Insurance Coverage

Most insurance plans cover Invisalign as part of your orthodontic care. How much is based on the plan you have, so contact your provider for details. 

Flexible Spending Accounts

One strategy you can take advantage of is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). FSAs are pretax withholdings taken from your paycheck every week and set aside in an account to be spent on healthcare expenses not covered by insurance. Many employers offer these as part of their benefits package. 

The benefit here is you aren’t taxed on this money. But you are limited to how much money you can withhold in your FSA account. In 2021 the amount is capped at $2,750

Health Savings Account

Another strategy is using a Health Savings Account (HSA). An HSA also allows you to withhold money from your paycheck before taxes, like an FSA.

There are differences between them though. One difference is your HSA funds can roll over year to year, while your FSA must be spent. 

Another difference is you can withhold more money than an FSA. Withholding limits in 2021 are $3,600 for individual plans and $7,200 for family plans. You might be required to have a high-deductible insurance plan to qualify for an HSA. 

Payment Plans

Many orthodontists offer payment plans. Often, they are no-interest plans that stretch as long as 24 months.

Your treatment could last up to 24 months, so it’s almost like paying as you go. Talk to your orthodontist to see exactly what terms they offer.

No-Interest Credit Cards

Today, several credit card companies cater to the healthcare industry, offering introductory zero interest credit for healthcare expenses. If your orthodontist doesn’t offer a payment plan of their own, this type of credit card can help. 

You should always research the terms of these credit cards. Unlike true no-interest credit cards, these credit cards usually defer the interest for a set period of time. It could be six months or 1 year.

If you don’t pay off the balance within that time frame, you will be responsible for paying the actual interest rate on the entire balance. You’ll want to be certain you can pay the entire balance off before going with this option.

Personal Loan

Personal loans are an option, as are regular credit cards. However, these should be a last resort because they will cost you more in the long run.

Credit cards and personal loans charge high-interest rates that could drive your overall cost up as much as 25% or more. 

Dental Schools

Do a little research to see if dental schools in the area offer Invisalign. Dental schools will treat patients at a discounted rate. The trade-off is that you’ll have a student treating you. 

This isn’t such a bad idea because a board-certified dentist will oversee your treatment and be there every step of the way to ensure your treatment is done properly.

Government Subsidies

There are government programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or perhaps Medicaid that will pay some or all of your treatment costs. If you or your children are currently receiving government assistance, you may qualify. 

In some cases, if you or your child’s condition is affecting your overall health, the treatments are covered. Benefits differ by state, so check your local programs for more information. Your orthodontist will be able to help you with these and other insurance claims. 

Get Your Invisalign Consultation Today

Now that you have a better idea of the average cost of Invisalign, it’s time to see exactly what your treatment will look like. In the hands of a good orthodontist, Invisalign is a powerful tool that can correct almost any abnormality in your smile.

At Koerich and Case Orthodontics in Charlotte, North Carolina, we have over 40 years of experience in correcting smiles and are experts in Invisalign treatments. Our doctors can diagnose your condition and will create a custom treatment plan to correct your teeth and have you smiling proudly in no time.

You can schedule a consultation online. Or call us at 704-334-7204 and one of our friendly, knowledgeable staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.