Invisalign might be the oldest clear aligner company out there, but that doesn’t mean they’re behind the times. In fact, since they revolutionized the orthodontic industry by releasing the first clear aligner in 1997, they’ve never stopped improving their products and processes.
One of their most significant innovations has been Invisalign Express, a faster and more affordable treatment for patients with minor misalignments. Express usually costs less than full Invisalign treatment, although your final cost actually depends on a variety of factors. While your specific dentist and condition dictate most of the final price, we’ve laid out all the other factors here, so you’ll have a much better estimate of your bottom line costs.
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There’s no flat rate for Invisalign Express because it all depends on your condition and your dentist’s rates. But in general, it’s significantly less expensive than Invisalign’s full treatment because it requires fewer aligners and office visits.
Generally, you can expect to pay somewhere between $1,800 and $4,000 (with an average of around $3,000) for Invisalign Express treatment. Under certain conditions, it might fall outside this range, but most often it doesn’t. Sure, you can ask your friend what they paid for Invisalign Express, but it could be completely different from your costs because your teeth are unique! Schedule an examination and consultation with your dentist to get a customized, accurate estimate.
5 Factors That Impact Your Treatment Cost
Your Invisalign Express treatment cost is based on numerous factors. Each of these can have a significant influence on the final, out-of-pocket price you pay.
1. Condition Complexity/Severity
Invisalign’s standard plan is capable of treating the full spectrum of teeth and jaw misalignments (even serious bite issues) but Invisalign Express is only designed to correct minor cases of crowding and spacing in the front six teeth. Even though it has a much narrower scope of treatable conditions, a case’s complexity can still have a significant impact on the final price.
Invisalign Express comes in either a 5-aligner plan, a 10-aligner plan, or the more recent 7-aligner plan (called i7). If you’re eligible for Express treatment, your dentist or orthodontist will recommend one of these plans based on how long they think it will take to correct your misalignment. Each aligner set costs money, so the 10-aligner and 7-aligner plans will cost more than the 5-aligner one. Consult your dentist to see which might be the best fit for you.
2. Office Location
Certain places are simply more expensive to do business. In the United States, individuals living in the Northeast or along the West Coast will tend to pay more. In addition, if your dentist/orthodontist’s office is in a city or another expensive area, their rent, utilities, etc. will cost more. Ultimately, this might mean higher costs for patients.
3. Dentist Expertise
Just like many other professions, more experienced, in-demand dental professionals can charge higher prices. The ones who have been administering Invisalign treatment for some time may be part of the Invisalign Advantage program, which has several member tiers ranging from bronze to diamond. Dentists and orthodontists earn points for each Invisalign treatment (full or Express) they complete, allowing them to advance into higher tiers.
Dentists and orthodontists in the highest tier (Diamond Plus) may charge more for their expertise than ones occupying the Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum tiers.
4. Aftercare Retainers
After you complete all of your aligners, your teeth will be nice and straight, a sparkling new smile. And you want to keep it that way. Teeth have a natural tendency to shift back after they’ve been moved. To prevent this from happening, your dentist will likely recommend wearing retainers, all day at first and then just overnight.
Invisalign works with Vivera to produce these retainers, which look much like your aligners but are even more durable. As a reputable high-quality company, Vivera’s retainers will cost a few hundred dollars, but this depends on your specific dentist or orthodontist.
Most of the time, your Invisalign Express treatment will deliver the exact results you expected. Regular office visits allow your dentist to continuously evaluate your progress and make adjustments when necessary to keep you on track.
But occasionally there can be a hitch in the plan. Maybe your teeth move more slowly than initially expected, or maybe your teeth just don’t look like the original treatment plan showed. In cases like these, your dentist can issue a refinement, new custom aligners that will fine-tune your smile. Refinements often don’t cost extra for Invisalign’s full plan, which offers as many aligners as your case requires. But for Invisalign Express, which uses a set number of aligners, refinements can cost more. How much extra? That depends on how many additional aligners you need and your particular dentist’s rates.
Even though it’s less expensive than the full treatment plan, Invisalign Express is still an investment, and you probably don’t want to put the whole thing on your credit card. Fortunately, this isn’t the only payment option. Most dentist’s offices will provide financing plans so you can break that price down into more manageable chunks. There are also third-party financing options out there, but they can potentially come with higher interest rates.
Some financing options require a credit check to qualify while others don’t. If you’re not confident in your credit score, you’ll want to seek out one that doesn’t include a credit check. And while monthly payments are nice, they also allow interest to accrue, increasing your final cost. For this reason, it’s better to pay up front if you have the financial flexibility. Check with your dentist or orthodontist to find out what types of plans they offer.
Dental insurance can cover a wide range of procedures and treatments, even Invisalign Express, but it depends on your policy. If it includes orthodontic benefits, chances are that you will receive some amount of coverage, but you shouldn’t just assume. Check with your insurance provider to confirm. Some insurers consider clear aligners a cosmetic treatment, even more so when it’s for a minor condition (like those that are usually a good fit for Express). Insurance typically won’t cover the entire cost of Invisalign or Invisalign Express treatment, so you’ll likely still have some out of pocket costs.
Alternatively, if you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), your dentist’s office may accept payments from either. These tax-free funds – which may receive contributions from your employer – could be more convenient than paying out of pocket.
How Does the Cost Compare to Other Clear Aligners?
In a side-by-side comparison with Invisalign’s full aligner plan, Invisalign Express is much more affordable. While the full plan costs roughly $5,000 on average, Invisalign Express averages around $3,000. Of course, this price discrepancy is because you don’t receive as many aligners or office visits.
That said, if your condition is mild enough for Invisalign Express, odds are you’d also be a candidate for at-home teeth alignment.
Many adults opt for this innovative treatment option because it’s so much more convenient and affordable than traditional in-office treatment with braces or Invisalign. By eliminating the need for office visits, providers like SmileDirectClub and Byte have been able to offer clear aligner systems for just $1,100-$2,300 (compared to Invisalign’s $3,000-$8,000 price range).
However, just like Invisalign Express, at-home aligner systems aren’t a viable option for folks with severe alignment issues. To learn more about how home teeth aligners work and what they can treat, we encourage you to check out our guide to at-home teeth straightening.
The bottom line is that your treatment decision hinges primarily on two things: your condition and your smile goals. What are your priorities? What does your dentist say? If your case is minor and your budget is tight, Invisalign Express could be a viable option.
That said, this is a big decision, and you don’t want to make it based solely on cost. Determining the best treatment for you also means evaluating the effectiveness, convenience, appearance, and customer support of each option. This gives you a wider perspective you can use to find the treatment that lines up with your smile goals on multiple levels. In doing so, you’ll be setting off on a teeth straightening journey that can deliver the results you’re after at a price that works with your finances.