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.
D.C. is a district, not a state, but that doesn’t mean its citizens don’t want straight teeth, too! D.C. is very tiny, it would take seventeen D.C’s to make one Rhode Island. It has a higher than average cost of living, but its size and density can provide you with potential ways to make treatment a little more affordable.
On average, you can expect to pay between $5,500 and $8,000, and this is pretty consistent even if you leave the small district and seek treatment in the neighboring states of Virginia and Maryland.
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 D.C..
|Area||Cost in D.C.||National Average|
|Urban||$5,500 - $8,000||$5,000|
These ranges are estimates based on what we know about Invisalign costs and some information from a few D.C.-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, Candid, 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 D.C.?
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 is somewhat 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.
D.C. has a cost of living around 50% more than the national average. It’s small too, so there isn’t necessarily a massive amount of variety of cost within the district itself. However, its proximity to both Virginia and Maryland has the potential to open up different options when it comes to treatment.
Taxes can end up playing a role in your Invisalign treatment as well. At 8.25%, D.C. has a comparatively high corporate tax rate, which could mean that Invisalign providers in the district will need to accommodate for this price. Its neighbor Maryland has the same rate, but in Virginia there is only a 6% corporate tax rate, which could end up providing some level of savings throughout treatment.
The same is true of sales tax. D.C. and Maryland have 6% sales tax, but Virginia has 5.3%. This is a small difference, but on such a major purchase this could end up making a difference.
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.
With a population hovering around 700,000, D.C. is typically characterized as one big city. According to one study, D.C. has more dentists per capita than anywhere else in the country. This means your chances of finding an Invisalign provider are quite high. The high volume of Invisalign providers could potentially lead to competitive pricing. So even though D.C. has a much higher cost of living than the national average, its dentist density may benefit your overall treatment cost.
The suburban areas of D.C. are typically considered to be suburbs of its neighboring states, Maryland and Virginia. In these states, suburbs like Alexandria, VA, Frederick, MD, and Arlington, VA are all slightly more affordable than the cost of living inside the district itself, but not always. Since these towns are less populated they will typically offer fewer options for Invisalign treatment than D.C., ultimately increasing the price.
D.C. is very connected with transit, so it’s likely if you do find a neighboring state’s suburb more affordable for your Invisalign, the travel time won’t be too difficult.
Since D.C. is so tiny, there isn’t really anything truly rural in this area. The neighboring states of Virginia and Maryland surround D.C. with both suburban and urban communities, so it would be quite a commitment to haul yourself to a rural place every time you needed treatment.
Though you would undoubtedly save a little money if you went to rural Virginia for orthodontia, in the long run with the time and money spent (remember there are appointments every 4-6 weeks with Invisalign) you’d likely be better off staying closer to home.
When you have numerous dentists and orthodontists in a given 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.”
As we mentioned earlier, D.C. is not hurting for dentists. Invisalign’s Doctor Locator feature shows 100+ Invisalign providers no matter which D.C. zip code we entered, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from for treatment. Generally speaking, the more providers available, the more likely it is that competition between providers could drive to lower prices or 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 account if you have one. Consult your dentist or orthodontist to see how they handle these payments.
Search for Sales and Discounts
Unfortunately, you’re not going to find 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 and you might just find some.
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 assured you’re receiving quality care.
Howard University College of Dentistry is a great way to spend an average of 50% less than you would pay elsewhere in D.C. for your orthodontic treatment. The only caveat is that these appointments are likely to take longer than the average appointment in a clinic. If you’ve got the time available to save some serious money, Howard University College of Dentistry may be worth checking out.
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 $100 - $300. 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. We love Byte because they combine a lightning-fast treatment time with top-quality care.
They can’t treat the same scope of conditions that Invisalign can, but for mild and moderate cases, they can usually deliver results in just 3 months. And they don’t sacrifice quality to make it happen. Byte guarantees that your treatment will be designed and monitored by an orthodontist, not a general dentist or dental technician. Then, they ensure your smile forever with their Byte for Life guarantee.
Want to review Byte and Invisalign side-by-side? Take a look at our Byte vs. Invisalign comparison guide.
Candid started out as an at-home clear aligner service like Byte, but has since transitioned to a hybrid model that more closely resembles Invisalign treatment.
With Candid, your treatment will be administered by a local dentist, but you'll only need to visit them in person a couple of times throughout the entire process. This is thanks to Candid's proprietary CandidMonitoring™ system, which allows you to submit scans of your teeth for review every two weeks from the comfort of your home.
Candid typically costs around 30% less than Invisalign, but on the flip side, it's a bit more limited in the scope of conditions it can address. This is because Candid's treatment plans aren't currently designed to incorporate rubber bands or dental attachments like Invisalign can. That said, if you're looking to correct a mild or moderate case of misalignment, Candid could be a great option for you.
You can check out our Candid vs. Invisalign review for a more in-depth comparison.
ClearCorrect is Invisalign’s largest in-office competitor. Like Invisalign, ClearCorrect’s treatment is administered by a dentist or orthodontist, 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 the customer.
For a deeper analysis of these two companies, take a look at 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. But now that you know all the intricate pricing details in D.C., 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 might be able to 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.