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 today.
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 or not 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 a majority of 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 a popular clear aligner option because you can receive the one-on-one treatment time that’s offered with Invisalign, 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 a highly trusted and widely available treatment option. In this guide, we’ll evaluate Invisalign Express based on five elements: effectiveness, 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 six 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 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.
- Aftercare retainers are not included in the cost of treatment. Retainers usually cost at least $100 and must be purchased separately.
Who is a Good Match for Invisalign Express?
Interested in Invisalign but don’t want to wait 12+ months to improve your smile? If you have a minor misalignment and prefer to visit your dentist during treatment, Invisalign Express could be the right fit for you.
Although it is more affordable than the original Invisalign, Invisalign Express is still a significant financial investment. So, it’s important to be sure that your dentist will be able to deliver the results you’re looking for.
Invisalign Express was created to address simple misalignment issues. The treatment is not suitable for treating more advanced misalignments or bite issues, similar to the treatment scope of at-home treatments like Byte. But unlike those services, you’ll receive consistent in-person care from a dentist. Combine that with Invisalign’s premium materials and long track record of success, and you’ve still got a fairly effective clear aligner option.
Dentists use strict criteria to determine candidacy for Invisalign Express, so your dentist may recommend a more versatile treatment instead.
Invisalign Express can only correct less than 2mm of spacing or crowding in the teeth. If you don’t fit in that category, you’ll have to go with Invisalign’s standard treatment. If you are considered a good candidate for Invisalign Express, your dentist will still be providing the same high-quality care that any other Invisalign treatment offers.
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 4-6 weeks, allowing your dentist to evaluate your progress and make changes to 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 Express can incorporate attachments that make it more effective.
Your dentist has the option of applying Smartforce attachments to your teeth to supplement the aligners and enhance treatment. These supplemental attachments are small, tooth-colored shapes that make it possible for Invisalign to treat more complex issues.
Since they can only be placed by a dentist, attachments are only available with in-office treatments, not remote ones like SmileDirectClub. However, they’re more often used with the original Invisalign since Invisalign Express is not meant for more complex issues.
Given its long history, Invisalign is known to be a trusted and reliable clear aligner brand, and Invisalign Express is no exception.
Align Technology, Invisalign’s manufacturer, makes some of the most effective clear aligners on the market. They are the largest clear aligner manufacturer in the world, so you can rest assured that their aligners are safe and effective. Align Technology’s clear aligners are also considered more comfortable to wear than other brands, so you’ll experience less soreness and irritation.
Looking through Invisalign Express reviews, you’ll notice that a majority of patients are very satisfied with their results. Most people report that, while their treatment was fast, it was still extremely effective and thorough, especially for more minor misalignments.
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 orthodontia 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’s still not as budget-friendly as 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 $1,900. 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, the treatment price does 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 you should consider the cost 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 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 are approved, a down payment is usually necessary before starting treatment. 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 4-6 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 six months to complete.
At-home clear aligners have a very similar treatment timeline and are generally considered 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.
Six 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 getting started 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 office, ensuring that they are accurate and precise. So, all the hard work is done for you.
The wait time to get your treatment plan prepped and Invisalign Express aligners shipped is around four weeks.
The wait time for home aligner companies to process your impressions, create a treatment plan and send out your custom aligners varies. But, it could take up to six weeks. With Invisalign Express, you’ll be able to start treatment in just about four weeks, which is about average for in-office treatments. So, Invisalign Express has home aligners beat when it comes to turnaround times. However, keep in mind that Invisalign Express aligners are shipped 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 be doing 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 tend to score well in terms of Appearance, and Invisalign Express is no exception.
That said, not all clear aligners are created the same. While they’re all made from transparent, BPA-free plastic, variations in manufacturing processes cause each brand to look slightly different.
Invisalign Express aligners appear frosted, so they tend to 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 look unnatural. Because of this, we prefer frosted, textured aligners. 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 gumline, making them slightly less noticeable than ones that use a straight cut.
Many at-home clear aligners are cut straight across the top, instead of trimmed to match the gumline. Invisalign’s scalloped look is less noticeable, so it’s often more visually appealing. But, home aligners that cover the gums can use them as an anchor to apply up to 4X the amount of force. Although dentists can equal 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, the 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 can be noticeable and more natural-looking than 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 toward 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 a lot 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, you’ll receive top-notch customer support with Invisalign Express.
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 efficient. 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. This is much more reassuring than talking to a remote customer service representative who may or may not know anything about 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 4-6 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 necessary).
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 (if ever) 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 and make 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 home aligner options are worth looking into.
#1: Byte ($1,895)
Byte’s main claim to fame is their “HyperByte” device, which they include for free in their aligner packages. This high-frequency vibration device is intended to make treatment faster and more comfortable, as it helps your teeth shift into place more easily. For this reason, Byte claims shorter treatment times than Invisalign Express — just four months on average.
At just $1,895, 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 wear per day. However, this option costs a bit more ($2,295).
Finally, unlike Invisalign Express, Byte treatment comes with a lifetime guarantee. With the Byte for Life warranty, your smile is protected forever. 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 6 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 200+ in Candid’s network). After that, you’ll complete the majority 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: AlignerCo ($1,145)
If you’re looking for the clear aligner industry’s most affordable brand, look no further. AlignerCo treatment is several hundred dollars less than other home aligner brands, and sometimes thousands less than Invisalign Express. Plus, they offer multiple financing options that make treatment even more affordable.
But this low cost doesn’t mean inferior product quality. AlignerCo partners with Raintree Essix, a long-standing, reputable dental supplies manufacturer. So, you can be confident that you’re getting reliable treatment at a great price.
The main downside of choosing AlignerCo is that they’re a younger, smaller company with fewer reviews than Byte, Candid, or Invisalign Express. That said, we’re excited to see how much they grow in the coming years.
Want a closer look? Read our in-depth review of AlignerCo.
Summary: Is Invisalign Express Right For You?
Invisalign Express was created specifically to provide a quicker, cheaper alternative to Invisalign, 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 AlignerCo 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.