Invisalign’s Express plan is a faster and more affordable alternative to standard Invisalign treatment, and it’s a fantastic option for anyone seeking efficient in-person treatment for a minor misalignment. However, it isn’t always the fastest or most affordable clear aligner system on the market.
In this review, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of Invisalign Express, compare it to other clear aligner options, and help you decide whether it’s the right fit for your smile (and your budget).
Table of Contents
How Does Invisalign Express Work?
The treatment process for Invisalign Express is nearly the same as the original Invisalign. You’ll visit a provider, who will examine your teeth and determine if you’re a good candidate. If you want Express, they’ll also need to decide whether your misalignment is minor enough to justify using this less intensive treatment. Still, most dentists prefer the versatility of the original Invisalign and recommend it over Invisalign Express for most cases.
If your dentist determines you’re a good fit, they will take X-rays and scans of your teeth before sending everything off to Invisalign’s dental lab. Invisalign will collaborate with your dentist to create your customized clear aligners and Express treatment plan. After you confirm the plan, Invisalign will mail the aligners to your dentist.
You’ll make an appointment to pick up your new aligners and try them on before starting treatment. During this appointment, your dentist will also review essential instructions for wearing clear aligners. Like any other Invisalign treatment, you should wear Invisalign Express aligners for 22 hours per day and only remove them to eat, drink, or brush your teeth. Your teeth will gradually shift over the next six months until they’ve reached the desired position.
Is Invisalign Express a Good Option? Our Perspective.
Invisalign Express is nice because you can receive Invisalign’s one-on-one treatment time, without a lengthy treatment time and high cost. Its timeline is similar to at-home clear aligners like Byte and SmileDirectClub, but so is the scope of conditions it can treat—typically just mild and moderate crowding and spacing.
Still, for people who are just seeking small changes to more minor misalignments, Invisalign Express is widely trusted and available. Just know that it’s up to your dentist, not you, on whether it’s a good fit for your teeth. In this guide, we’ll evaluate Invisalign Express based on five criteria: scope of treatment, affordability, convenience, appearance, and customer support. We’ve provided a lot more detail on how Invisalign stacks up category by category, but here’s a quick summary of the biggest pros and cons:
Invisalign Express Pros
- As the name suggests, Invisalign Express treatment is quite short — often around 3–6 months. That’s much shorter than standard Invisalign and ClearCorrect’s 12–18 month timelines, and around the same as most at-home treatments like SmileDirectClub.
- Invisalign Express is typically about half the cost of standard Invisalign treatment, but your price ultimately depends on your specific dentist, and it’s still usually a little more than remote services like AlignerCo.
- Just like standard Invisalign treatment, you’ll be able to choose your dentist and receive plenty of one-on-one care, which delivers a more personalized, intensive patient experience than at-home services can provide.
- Your dentist can affix attachments to your teeth, which can help encourage more complex tooth shifts.
Invisalign Express Cons
- Invisalign Express is very limited and can only treat minor misalignments. If you have a bite issue or more complicated case, you likely won’t be a good fit.
- Because it involves office visits and your dentist’s oversight, Invisalign Express still might be pricier than some at-home aligner options.
Who is a Good Match for Invisalign Express?
If you have a minor misalignment, but prefer in-person oversight, your dentist might determine that Invisalign Express is a good fit for you.
Scope of Treatment
Although it is more affordable than the original Invisalign, Invisalign Express is still a significant financial investment. So, it’s important to be sure your dentist can deliver the results you’re looking for.
Invisalign created their Express treatment to address simple issues, similar to the treatment scope of at-home treatments like Byte. But if your dentist thinks it will work for your misalignment, you’ll still receive in-person oversight and Invisalign’s quality products.
Invisalign Express is only intended for minor misalignments.
It comes in three different packages — Express 5, Express 7, and Express 10 — each named for the number of aligners they contain. For reference, typical Invisalign treatments take 20+ aligners, so providers select Express for much milder cases. According to Align Technology, it’s best for the following misalignments:
- Relapses: This refers to cases where patients had previous orthodontic treatment, but didn’t wear their retainer enough, causing their teeth to shift slightly back. Typically, these misalignments are very minor.
- Anterior, Aesthetic Alignment: This means minor, cosmetic changes to the front 6–8 teeth.
Providers often say that this typically equates to dental gaps or crowding of 2mm or less — so it won’t work for severe cases or ones that involve a bite issue like underbite or crossbite. Ultimately, your provider will make the call on whether your case works for Invisalign Express. If they think they can fix it with fewer than ten aligners, Express might be a good option.
Invisalign Express can incorporate attachments that help make certain dental shifts.
Your dentist can affix Smartforce attachments to your teeth to supplement the aligners and enhance treatment. These supplemental attachments are small, tooth-colored shapes that can help improve aligner retention and orthodontic tooth movement, according to this 2023 study.
Since you need a dentist or orthodontist to place attachments in person, only in-office treatments can use them, not remote ones like SmileDirectClub. However, mild cases don’t always require attachments, so your provider might not think them necessary.
Regular office visits give you consistent in-person oversight and hands-on care.
All varieties of Invisalign treatment are very hands-on for your dentist. During your treatment, you’ll attend office visits every 4–8 weeks, allowing your dentist to evaluate your progress and tweak your treatment plan if they notice any issues.
This is pretty standard for in-office clear aligners. If you choose an at-home option instead, you might receive remote oversight by submitting photos of your teeth every few weeks, but it’s not as robust as visiting a dentist for an examination.
Invisalign uses their proprietary SmartTrack plastic to create their aligners.
SmartTrack is a multilayer aromatic thermoplastic polyurethane/copolyester blend. Studies have demonstrated that this plastic is safe and effective for human use. And these results aren’t a one-off or unique to trials funded by Align Technology. Invisalign and its plastic consistently perform well according to reviews of various studies and clinical data.
Although Invisalign Express is limited in versatility, they still work with the #1 clear aligner manufacturer and offer a very hands-on treatment option for your dentist.
Historically, the high price tag for traditional orthodontics has made getting straighter teeth a considerable investment. Invisalign has always been one of the priciest treatments on the market, but Express makes that cost a lot more manageable for people with mild conditions.
It still not might not be as budget-friendly as some at-home aligner services, but with insurance coverage and financing plans potentially available, Invisalign Express is more affordable than other in-office treatments.
The average Invisalign Express treatment costs around $2,500, about half the price of the standard Invisalign treatment.
Although Invisalign Express is a much cheaper option than Invisalign, it’s still more expensive than at-home clear aligners like Byte and SmileDirectClub, which typically cost around $1,200–$2,000. The higher cost accounts for your in-person dental visits and the luxury of being able to choose the dentist that will oversee your treatment.
Unfortunately, depending on your provider, the treatment price might not include any extra features, like whitening or aftercare retainers. While whitening is more of a nonessential supplement to treatment, aftercare retainers are necessary to preserve your new smile. Retainers usually cost about $100, so ask your dentist if they include retainers in the treatment price before you decide to get Invisalign Express.
Your insurance may provide partial coverage, but it depends on your specific plan.
If your insurance plan includes orthodontic benefits, there’s a chance that it might cover part of your Invisalign Express treatment, making the price much more accessible. If the corrections you’re making are purely cosmetic, coverage is less likely, but if Invisalign is necessary to improve your overall oral health, your insurance might help out. It all depends on your specific plan, and the only way to know for sure is to contact your insurance provider.
Many dentists offer payment plans or financing for Invisalign Express, but they often require a credit check, and some people may not qualify.
Like the original Invisalign, most dentists offer payment plans and financing to break up the cost of Invisalign Express. However, details of the programs vary, depending on the dentist you choose. Most require a credit check, so you may not be approved if your credit is below average. Even if you get approved, you’ll likely need to make a down payment. Plus, financing programs typically have high interest rates.
Invisalign Express offers a more budget-friendly option that is still thorough and effective. However, the treatment is more expensive than at-home clear aligner brands, and financing programs are usually not ideal.
Aside from the cost, one of the most significant barriers to pursuing a more comfortable smile is the time commitment of traditional orthodontics. Most in-office clear aligners, for instance, require appointments every 4–8 weeks and an average treatment time of about 12–18 months.
Invisalign Express also requires regular dental visits, which can be difficult for people who don’t have a ton of free time. Even though it can’t touch the convenience of at-home services that deliver everything directly to you, Express generally comes with a much shorter treatment time than more traditional options.
The average Invisalign Express treatment only takes about 3–6 months to complete.
At-home clear aligners have a very similar treatment timeline and they’re often the quickest orthodontic treatment available. However, some people prefer seeing a dentist in person during treatment. If that sounds like you, Invisalign Express could be a great option, since its average treatment times are around the same.
3–6 months is a lot quicker than Invisalign and ClearCorrect’s 12–18 month timeframe. But that difference is often because those comprehensive treatments are selected for severe misalignments, which take more time to correct.
Although home aligners provide more convenience by allowing you to complete treatment entirely from home, Invisalign Express has its own convenient attributes. We determine our convenience rating by considering not just the treatment timeline, but also startup difficulty and how long it takes to receive your aligners.
Getting started with Invisalign Express is easier than with home aligners because your dentist handles most of the process.
You will need to schedule an appointment with a dentist to begin treatment. However, unlike with home aligners, you won’t need to take any impressions or photos of your teeth yourself. Your dentist and their team of technicians will take your X-rays and impressions in their office, ensuring that they are accurate and precise.
Compared to home aligner companies’ impression kits, which require you to make perfect molds of your own teeth, it’s a much simpler process.
The wait time to receive your treatment plans and Invisalign Express aligners is around four weeks.
Home aligner companies can take up to eight weeks to process your impressions, create a treatment plan, and send out your custom aligners. With Invisalign Express, you’ll be able to start treatment in just around four weeks, which is about average for in-office treatments. However, keep in mind that Invisalign ships your aligners to your dentist, not your home. You’ll need to schedule an office visit to pick them up.
Getting started with Invisalign Express is very simple, since your doctor will do most of the work. The shorter treatment time is also convenient. However, required monthly dental visits can be somewhat time-consuming.
Most adults agree that the best-looking orthodontic option is the least visible one. A key selling point of all clear aligner products is that they are much less noticeable than braces. For this reason, all clear aligners products score well in appearance, and Invisalign Express is no exception.
That said, clear aligners aren’t all identical. While they’re all made from BPA-free plastic, variations in materials and manufacturing processes cause each brand to look slightly different.
Invisalign Express aligners appear frosted, so they match our naturally matte teeth.
Our teeth are porous, which makes their surfaces appear matte. Some home aligner brands use a shiny plastic material, which can reflect light and look unnaturally shiny. As a result, Invisalign’s frosted, textured aligners can blend in better with your real teeth. Still, some customers actually like the shininess of other brands, as they feel it gives their smile a gleam. So, it’s an entirely personal preference.
They also trim their aligners to match your gum line, making them slightly less noticeable than ones that use a straight cut.
Some at-home clear aligner companies cut their aligners straight across the top, instead of trimming them to match the gum line. Invisalign’s scalloped look is less noticeable, so it’s often more visually appealing. This study shows that straight-cut aligners are more retentive, but dentists can match or surpass that power by incorporating attachments.
Invisalign’s attachments can make your aligners stand out more.
As we mentioned earlier, your dentist may choose to supplement your Invisalign Express treatment using Smartforce attachments. Although they are tooth-colored, these attachments can make your aligners more noticeable. Since at-home aligners can’t use these attachments, they tend to keep a lower profile.
Like other clear aligner brands, you’ll want to take out your aligners before eating and drinking to avoid staining.
Invisalign Express aligners are reasonably stain-resistant, although we recommend removing them to eat or drink anything except water, especially dark beverages like coffee, tea, and red wine.
Their frosted appearance and scalloped cut make Invisalign Express aligners less noticeable and more natural-looking than some other clear aligner brands, but this is largely up to personal preference.
You already know that Invisalign treatment can give you your ideal smile, but your journey to that smile is just as important. Policies on customer service, oversight, quality assurance, and satisfaction guarantees can all make the ride smoother or a whole lot bumpier.
Consistent in-person care makes the Invisalign Express experience more personalized and supportive than most other clear aligner treatments, especially at-home ones that put you in touch with a remote representative instead of a doctor who knows you and your teeth intimately.
Like most other in-office clear aligner brands, your provider’s office will handle patient support.
The quality of customer service for Invisalign Express varies depending on the dentist you choose, so it’s important to find a dentist who will be attentive and helpful. However, home aligner providers don’t offer in-person dental appointments during treatment. Instead, you have to take questions and concerns to the company via email, phone, or webchat and wait for their response.
Your dentist’s office knows you and your condition, so they can give you personalized guidance when you call with specific questions. For many people, this is more reassuring than talking to a remote customer service representative who might not know you or your condition.
Invisalign’s in-person oversight can help address problems mid-treatment to keep your smile on track.
Since you’ll need to visit your dentist every 4–8 weeks during treatment, they can provide hands-on assistance if you have any concerns. So, if you have questions or if your treatment is not going as planned, you always have the option to call the dental office and schedule an appointment.
If your Invisalign Express aligners are uncomfortable or causing excessive pain, your dentist can also make minor adjustments during your monthly appointments. They can even contact Invisalign to order new aligners or modify your treatment plan, if necessary. By comparison, home aligner companies rarely allow mid-treatment adjustments to your aligner plan.
If you’re not happy with your end results, Invisalign can provide refinements.
You might reach the end of your Express treatment and think, “my smile’s not quite where I want it.” In these cases, your dentist can rescan your teeth and order refinement aligners. Since Invisalign Express is a limited treatment, you might need to pay extra, depending on your dentist’s policies.
Some dentists who offer Invisalign or ClearCorrect’s full treatment will provide refinements for free, as will certain at-home aligner services, as long as you’ve followed your treatment plan. Ask your dentist beforehand if you’re concerned about extra fees after the fact.
Monthly in-person appointments and hands-on assistance in case of any issues make Invisalign Express an excellent choice in terms of patient experience.
Alternatives to Invisalign Express
Invisalign Express is an effective clear aligner treatment that is also quicker than most traditional options. However, there are other in-office and at-home treatments to consider.
The introduction of at-home clear aligners has made orthodontic treatment more accessible and affordable. Home aligner companies mail you your custom aligners directly, making it possible for you to complete treatment from the comfort of your own home. They don’t offer the same intensive oversight, but they’re less expensive and often more convenient.
If you’re interested in completing treatment from home, several other options are worth considering.
#1: Byte ($1,999)
According to Byte, their average treatment plan length is just 4–5 months, plus they include a high-frequency device (called HyperByte) in your aligner package. HyperByte uses gentle micropulses that the company says “may help reduce discomfort,” and some studies suggest that devices like this can also encourage faster dental shifts.
At just $1,999, Byte is also typically much more affordable than Invisalign Express. Plus, they offer the option to straighten your teeth while you sleep with their premium “Byte At-Night” aligners, which only require ten hours of daily wear, but also costs slightly more ($2,399).
Finally, unlike Invisalign Express, Byte treatment comes with a lifetime guarantee called Byte-for-Life. If your teeth ever shift out of place, Byte will send you new aligners for free to realign them, as long as you’ve been getting new retainers every six months as advised.
Want a closer look? Read our in-depth review of Byte.
#2: Candid ($3,500+)
Unlike Byte or Invisalign Express, Candid offers a unique blend of in-office and at-home care. You’ll start your treatment in a local dentist’s office (there are 800+ in Candid’s network). After that, you’ll complete most of your aligner plan at home, submitting photo check-ins every 14 days, so your dentist can collaborate with Candid to keep you on track. This CandidMonitoring model is more robust than at-home aligners, yet more streamlined than Invisalign.
At $3,500+, Candid is often pricier than Invisalign Express, but you’re paying for a more convenient, streamlined treatment option that still incorporates hands-on care. Their hybrid model could be a great fit for anyone who likes the convenience of teledentistry, but also likes the idea of having some face-time with their dentist.
Want a closer look? Read our in-depth review of Candid.
#3: SmileDirectClub ($2,250)
SmileDirectClub was Invisalign’s first major at-home competitor, and in the several years since they launched, their popularity has skyrocketed. SmileDirectClub might cost slightly more than other at-home aligners, but they’ve engineered one of the most convenient treatments available.
They now have over 100 SmileShops and 1,000 partnering dental offices where you can get a teeth scan instead of using their impression kit. Plus, they’ve introduced a nighttime-only treatment plan, extensive refund policies, a lifetime guarantee, and a do-it-all app that lets you track your progress, upload photos of your teeth for review, and contact their customer support team seven days a week.
With two million smile transformations already under their belt, they’ve probably seen a case just like yours. And if you can’t pay for treatment upfront, they offer financing to everyone, regardless of credit score.
Want a closer look? Read our in-depth review of SmileDirectClub.
Summary: Is Invisalign Express Right For You?
Invisalign created their Express option to provide a quicker, cheaper alternative to their full treatment, and it’s a great option for anyone who has a mild misalignment and wants hands-on care. If in-person treatment isn’t your priority, at-home options like Byte or SmileDirectClub could also be an ideal fit, since they often cost less and allow you to complete treatment entirely from home.
To get a better idea of which option might be the best fit for you, we encourage you to check out the resources below.