Invisalign has long been the country’s go-to clear aligner treatment. From New York to California, they’ve crafted dazzling smiles and renewed confidence for over twenty years. And while Invisalign delivers consistent coast-to-coast results, their prices can vary based on where you live. Why? That’s a good question.
Numerous factors can sway Invisalign costs, depending on your home state. South Carolina might not have as many Invisalign providers as other states, but their location and low cost of living mean low average prices. You can expect to pay between $3,500 and $6,500 for your Invisalign treatment. However, where you fall in that range depends on several factors.
So, if you’re trying to plot out a budget, but don’t have a good Invisalign estimate, we’re here for you. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a better idea of what you can expect to pay for Invisalign in South Carolina.
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These ranges are estimates based on what we know about Invisalign costs and some information from a few South Carolina-based orthodontists. But they should give you a general sense of what you might pay.
Table of Contents
Why Is Invisalign So Expensive?
We won’t lie: Invisalign is pricey no matter where you live. But there are good reasons for this, and many people think it’s worth the expense.
Every part of your treatment will go through your dentist or orthodontist, which gives them the chance to make on-the-fly adjustments, implementing additional attachments and altering timelines where they see fit. This is the most drastic difference between Invisalign and at-home aligner services like Byte and SmileDirectClub. And it enables your orthodontist to treat a wide variety of severe conditions, even jaw misalignments like overbite and underbite.
The average Invisalign treatment time is 12–18 months and requires office visits around every six weeks. But your dentist or orthodontist’s time, facilities, and equipment aren’t free, which means Invisalign often costs substantially more than at-home alternatives.
Looking For Affordable Orthodontic Treatment in South Carolina?
Invisalign is a great product, but the price tag can be difficult to swallow. If you're looking to straighten your teeth without breaking the bank, there are more affordable options out there.
Home-based clear aligner brands like SmileDirectClub and Byte sell similar products for a fraction of the cost of Invisalign. We've researched and reviewed these services to help you find the best solution for your smile (& your budget).
What Factors Influence Invisalign Costs?
No matter where you are, Invisalign can be expensive. But just how expensive depends on numerous factors. Some apply to every state while others are based on where you live, but you can find all of them in detail below.
This is the most significant price-determining factor. A minor case of crowding or spacing simply takes less time and aligners to correct than a severe case of crossbite. The fewer office visits and aligners your teeth require, the less you’ll pay. During your initial consultation, your dentist/orthodontist can evaluate your teeth and estimate how long your treatment might take.
In general, orthodontic care costs more on the coasts and less in the middle of the country. The northeast is particularly expensive, while southern states like Arkansas and South Carolina boast some of the nation’s lowest costs. Taxes can also play a role. The state will add sales tax to your total Invisalign cost, and higher corporate taxes might cause your orthodontist to accommodate by raising prices.
Invisalign prices in the South are usually lower than anywhere else, and South Carolina is no exception. Its cost of living might not be quite as low as Arkansas or Mississippi, but living in South Carolina is still much cheaper than most other states. It doesn’t have many dentists, though, so depending on where you live, you might have very few options.
Both of South Carolina’s neighbors — Georgia and North Carolina — have a slightly higher cost of living. If you were thinking about crossing state lines in search of lower Invisalign prices, you won’t likely find them.
Don’t forget that sales tax will contribute to your final Invisalign price as well. At 6%, South Carolina’s sales tax is pretty close to the national average, and it shouldn’t increase your bottom-line cost too much. Corporate income taxes can also affect your costs, albeit indirectly. Your dentist will likely need to pay the state’s 5% rate on their income. This won’t directly influence what you pay, but it will increase your dentist’s expenses, potentially causing them to adjust their prices.
Urban, Suburban, or Rural?
Not only are Invisalign prices different between states, but they also vary depending on your location within the state. Urban areas, for example, often have a higher cost of living, and it’s less expensive to live in a small town. Do you have high rent and utility payments? Then your dentist or orthodontist likely does too. Higher overhead costs usually result in more expensive orthodontic treatment.
South Carolina doesn’t have any big cities, but Columbia and Charleston have around 130,000 and 150,000 residents, respectively. Columbia, the smaller of the two, has a lower cost of living than the state average, particularly when it comes to housing and healthcare. Charleston, on the other hand, is more expensive than both the state and national averages. You’ll probably find more affordable treatment in Columbia, while Charleston’s prices might be slightly higher than you’d find elsewhere in the state.
Columbia’s downside is that it doesn’t have a lot of Invisalign providers (compared to similarly sized cities), so you can’t shop around quite as much. Charleston has more providers, but still not as many as comparable cities.
Living in Columbia’s suburbs is slightly more expensive than living in the city itself, and you’ll likely find slightly more expensive Invisalign treatment there too. Charleston, however, has a mix of cheaper suburbs and vastly more expensive ones. Because it lies on the coast, Charleston’s suburbs include some beach towns (like Kiawah Island and Folly Beach) that are among the state’s most expensive places to live. So, depending on where you live, you might find lower or much higher Invisalign prices.
South Carolina’s mid-sized towns aren’t all clustered around two cities, though. Places like Greenville, Sumter, and Spartanburg stand on their own and are usually cheaper places to live. They don’t have quite as many Invisalign provider options, but they typically have lower prices for orthodontic care.
South Carolina contains a few different types of small towns. Most often, they’re towns with low populations in rural areas. These offer a low cost of living, although fewer provider options. But along the coast, you’ll also find small, exclusive beach communities that are much more expensive. Some of these communities don’t have the benefit of being near a larger town that provides more dentist and orthodontist options, so patients there might be stuck with higher Invisalign prices.
When you have numerous dentists and orthodontists in an area, they each need to find ways to stay ahead of the competition and attract new customers. Many times, this means lower prices and special offers or sales. So, if there’s a high concentration of Invisalign providers in your area, it can mean lower prices, giving you the ability to “shop around.”
South Carolina doesn’t have a high concentration of Invisalign providers, so dentists and orthodontists rarely face the same intense competition that they might in large cities. However, this competition is greater in Columbia and Charleston than it is elsewhere. To stand out from the crowd, dentists in these cities might advertise sales or discounts. Find them on dentists’ websites or by calling their offices directly. Invisalign providers in rural areas don’t have nearly as much competition, so they’re less likely to run similar promotions.
Dentist or Orthodontist Experience
A seasoned dental professional with an impressive portfolio of Invisalign successes will often charge more than a novice who just started offering clear aligner treatment. So, in some cases, you may need to decide between experience and affordability (but not always!). Sometimes it can be helpful to “shop around” to weigh your options if you have multiple dentists and orthodontists nearby.
Invisalign has a tiered series of levels (ranging from bronze to platinum) that tell you how much experience a given provider has. When you search for providers through Invisalign’s website, they will show you the level of each dentist and orthodontist in your area.
Managing Treatment Costs
When you’re staring down thousands of dollars in orthodontic treatment, it can be intimidating. Fortunately, there are effective ways to lower and manage those costs, from promotional discounts to payment plans. Here’s what you can do:
Review Your Insurance Plan
Some insurance plans will include Invisalign treatment and others don’t. If your plan includes orthodontic benefits, there’s a good chance you might receive partial coverage. But you don’t want to begin treatment expecting help from your insurance provider, only to find out that it’s not coming. So don’t commit to an Invisalign plan without first reviewing your insurance plan and contacting your provider to see if you’ll receive coverage.
You can also pay for Invisalign directly from an FSA or HSA if you have one. Consult your dentist or orthodontist to see how they handle these payments.
Search for Sales and Discounts
Unfortunately, you won't see sales plastered across Invisalign’s homepage and you won’t receive floods of promotional emails advertising “$100 off!” or “20% discount!” Invisalign doesn’t do that. However, your specific dentist or orthodontist might. Give their office a call to see if they have any special Invisalign offers. Sometimes, dentist offices will post these discounts on Groupon. Just head over to Groupon.com and search for Invisalign deals in your area.
Universities with dental schools will also offer discounts if you don’t mind a student or resident administering your Invisalign treatment. These individuals are qualified and overseen by professors and experienced dental professionals, so you can be sure you’re receiving quality care.
South Carolina has one university with a dental school: the Medical University of South Carolina. If you’re located in Charleston, you can visit their clinic for reduced-rate orthodontic care.
Ask About Financing
Most people can’t pay thousands of dollars for treatment all at once, so in many cases, financing is a must. Invisalign doesn’t have any company-wide payment plan policies — they leave it up to each provider. So, speak with your dentist or orthodontist to see what types of financing they offer. Many offices partner with specific third-party companies like CareCredit or beWell to break Invisalign costs into more manageable payments.
Discuss Aftercare in Advance
Even after Invisalign treatment, teeth have a tendency to shift back to their old positions. Aftercare retainers keep that from happening. When you remove your last aligner, you’ll have a perfect new smile, and you’ll need to purchase a retainer to protect it. Retainer costs vary, but you can usually get one for $200–$600. Ask your Invisalign provider what they charge so you can plan it into your budget.
Because your dentist can make tweaks and course corrections throughout your treatment, they can ensure that you’ll get a perfectly straight smile. But sometimes, teeth simply don’t move as expected. In the rare case that things don’t turn out as you hoped, you might be eligible for a refinement, where your dentist will craft new aligners to deliver the results you’re after. Of course, this will take more time and resources, so refinements often cost an additional fee.
3 Affordable Invisalign Alternatives
If you’ve come this far, you’re probably pretty serious about Invisalign, but it’s not ideal for everyone and there are some other high-quality options out there. Take a look at three of our favorites:
Byte is an at-home aligner service, so you’ll receive your full aligner series in the mail, then administer treatment from the comfort of home, no office visits required. And it comes at less than half the price of Invisalign.
They can’t treat the same scope of conditions that Invisalign can, but for mild and moderate cases, Byte claims their treatment plans are an average of 4–5 months long. Byte’s aligners are nearly invisible and come with the HyperByte — a high-frequency vibration device that's intended to provide a comfortable aligner fit. Studies show that devices like this might also encourage more efficient dental shifts for some people. We also like their lifetime guarantee, which promises users free revision treatment if their teeth ever move out of alignment.
Want to review Byte and Invisalign side-by-side? Take a look at our Byte vs. Invisalign comparison guide.
Candid is another aligner company that takes extensive measures to provide safe, effective treatment for mild-to-moderate cases of misalignment. They’ve combined the convenience of remote aligners with the effectiveness of hands-on care in a hybrid treatment.
Your Candid treatment begins in a dentist’s office, and that dentist remains involved throughout the process. Over 6–9 months (on average), you’ll upload photos of your teeth every two weeks. This allows your dentist and Candid’s team to keep you on track and request additional office visits, if necessary.
At $3,500+, Candid’s price-point is higher than Byte’s, but still usually lower than Invisalign. So if you’re looking for a healthy middle-ground between in-office and at-home treatment, Candid is a great option.
Check out our Candid vs. Invisalign review for a more in-depth comparison.
ClearCorrect is one of Invisalign’s largest in-office competitors. Like Invisalign, a dentist or orthodontist will administer your ClearCorrect treatement in person, so you’ll need to make regular office visits. Much of ClearCorrect’s process is very similar. The advantage they have over Invisalign is that they charge dentists and orthodontists less for lab fees, which often makes treatment less expensive.
For a deeper analysis of these two companies, chck out our ClearCorrect vs. Invisalign review.
One of the first steps in preparing for Invisalign treatment is working it into your budget, but it’s difficult when you don’t have an accurate cost estimate. Now that you know all the intricate pricing details in South Carolina, you can better evaluate how viable this treatment might be.
Of course, the only way to get a truly spot-on estimate is by consulting a dentist or orthodontist. If you love Invisalign but aren’t sure about the cost, don’t let that hold you back. Speak with your dentist to see how you can make it more affordable. Or, check out one of the quality alternatives we’ve outlined here. Either way, you’ll be on track to the perfect option for your perfect smile.