They say you should brush the teeth you want to keep every day, but that won’t make them straighter. I wanted straighter teeth, but I didn’t want to deal with ugly metal braces in my mouth. Or deal with an orthodontist tightening and readjusting the metal braces in my mouth regularly. Invisalign was my only option. But there was a problem – Invisalign clear aligners are laugh-inducingly expensive. So, how much does Invisalign cost?
Invisalign braces can cost anywhere between $2,000 and $10,000.
The average cost of Invisalign braces, according to their official website, is $5,000. So how much does Invisalign cost most people?
If you are resourceful, you may be able to get them for a grand. I got them for just $1,050.
For the uninitiated, Invisalign is see-through dental aligners made of proprietary synthetic plastic. Imagine the dental guard teeth molds that boxers use, but thinner, translucent, and more customized.
Your orthodontist will make a 3-D imaged mold of your teeth. Then your clear aligner, or “trays,” will be updated weekly or as needed as your teeth adjust. Think of each tray as a customized, form-fitting mold for your upper and lower teeth.
You must wear them up to 22 hours daily for anywhere between 9 months to 3 years.
Invisalign has become the wildly popular and non-invasive alternative to traditional metal braces.
But $5,000? I don’t need straighter teeth that badly at that cost.
I scheduled two free consultations hoping to hear a price I could afford. Both times I was told by people with straight faces that it would cost about $6,000.
My dental insurance plan would only cover $3,000! That’s too much for me.
Here’s the story of how I got an Invisalign discount, which is a serious non-sequitur term in the dental industry.
(To spoil the premise: never assume and never be afraid to ask questions. Every transaction is negotiable.)
How Much Does Invisalign Cost?
A local dentist’s office here in Irving was advertising the full Invisalign treatment for just $2,800. I did a cartoon-like double-take. It had to be a misprint. I called to check, and they confirmed the special.
$2,800 is a good deal but still out of my price range. The next question would make or break the deal: can I use my insurance on this special offer?
To be honest, I was fully expecting the answer to be “no”. I had found an Invisalign Groupon before, and even they said they wouldn’t accept insurance.
Good news! This local dentist was happy to accept my insurance.
There were some provisions, but I was on my way to getting my teeth straightened.
It Only Cost Me $1,050!
I found an Invisalign treatment for $2,800, which was great. Still, I had to reduce those costs even further to make it fit my price range.
Right off the bat, I was able to chop it in half, thanks to my dental insurance.
There was just one little problem with the insurance. Remember that “provision?” The dentist wanted me to pay in full upfront and have the insurance company reimburse me over the 18 months of treatment.
While I would rather just pay the $1,400 and let the dentist’s office deal with the insurance payments, this was still too good of a deal to pass up. My insurance company will be reimbursing me $233 every three months during the treatment, for a total reimbursement of $1,400. Booyah!
So that brought the cost down to $1,400.
I reduced my costs further by using my Health Savings Account.
An HSA is a bank account that is exclusively dedicated to paying for medical expenses. As long as you only withdraw money from an HSA to pay for medical expenses, it will never be taxed.
I recommend that you get an HSA.
It can be a great backup or addition to your traditional medical and dental insurance.
I saved $350 on my Invisalign because of it.
Thanks to my HSA, I have a bunch of savings that have not been taxed. Considering the fact that I’m in the 25% tax bracket, I get 25% more money in my HSA than I would get if I were to let that income be taxed.
That means when I spend $1,400 out of my HSA, it’s the same as paying 25% less or $1,050 of non-HSA money.
My Invisalign Savings
- Promotional Price: $2,800
- Dental Insurance Benefit: $1,400
- HSA Savings: $350
- Total Cost to Me: $1,050
So, how much does Invisalign cost?
I can’t speak for you, but it cost me $1,050.
Now that’s what I call a good deal! I’m like an orthodontic services price hacker! (I need to shop this idea as a reality TV show – someone would buy it.)
If Invisalign is too expensive for you, then carefully consider your options. Shop around and check out a few dentists to see who offers the best deal. Look for dentists who accept your insurance. It will be extra work, but you could save hundreds or thousands.
And if you don’t have an HSA, look into getting one now. It will be worth it in the long run.
As for Invisalign, I am glad I got it – but there are some minor drawbacks to using it.
My Review of Invisalign
I’ve used Invisalign for a little over half a year now, and I’m not as excited about it as I was when I first ordered it. I think I was too hyped about its status as a less invasive alternative to traditional metal braces to appreciate that using it has drawbacks.
Here are four reasons why if I had a time machine, I might not have bothered.
The aligner trays develop a stinky smell since I have to wear them almost 20 hours daily. I’m brushing my teeth all the time and gargling with mouthwash. I also constantly cleaning the trays, I hate it, and my fiancé hates it.
Constant Removal and Insertion
Based on the imaging conducted by your dentist, the trays are subtly shifting your teeth and straightening out your smile. You have to wear the trays constantly.
However, you must take them out to eat meals. But removing them several times a day every day is just tedious. It’s also a little painful when switching to a new tray.
The amount of time you may need to use braces varies from person to person. My full Invisalign treatment was projected to last over a year. If I got the metal braces, I would have only worn them for a few months.
I have to apply a composite paste on my teeth before putting on the trays. The composite acts as a buffer between your teeth and trays and protects your enamel as the trays shift your teeth.
It has a weird taste texture and taste. Also, it’s noticeable to anyone nearby.
If I could do it all over again, I would consider regular braces because of the shorter time frame. However, I’m sure there are lots of downsides of braces that I would hate as well.
The bottom line: straightening teeth is not a pleasant experience no matter how you do it.
To wrap this up, how much does invisalign cost? For me it was $1,050.
For more on this, check out Savingadvice.com’s posting on Invisalign costs. Their assessment – Invisalign costs $3,500 to $8,000.
Checking out several dentists and comparing their services might help you find the right fit like Invisalign in plantation Florida.
To help you make good financial decisions about your health check out these great articles.
James Hendrickson is an internet entrepreneur, blogging junky, hunter and personal finance geek. When he’s not lurking in coffee shops in Portland, Oregon, you’ll find him in the Pacific Northwest’s great outdoors. James has a masters degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland at College Park and a Bachelors degree on Sociology from Earlham College. He loves individual stocks, bonds and precious metals.
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