Orthodontic treatments for teeth straightening not only take up a lot of your time but also cost you a lot of money. Luckily, we now have invisible aligners to give us an affordable way to have straighter teeth.
Invisible aligners are also known as clear aligners, invisible braces, clear braces, and teeth aligners. They have been growing in popularity and are now the preferred treatment over metal braces. It is the most discrete way to straighten your teeth without having to feel self-conscious about it.
These teeth aligners are made out of medical-grade plastic materials and look transparent so they are not as obvious as traditional braces. The clear aligner will be replaced every two to three weeks just like braces need to be adjusted every two to three weeks. What makes a clear aligner better is that there is minimal pain involved in the process.
Before, when it comes to invisible aligners, Invisalign aligners have been the preferred option. But Invisalign aligners are very expensive at around $7000 per treatment.
Because of this, a lot of brands have joined the market to cater to everyone’s dental needs in a more affordable manner. But which company offers the cheapest clear aligner?
The most affordable clear aligners in the market today
AlignerCo has a one-time payment of $1145. They also have installment plans of $86 per month for 12 months and $95 per month for 11 months.
To start your AlignerCo treatment, you have to order an impression kit from Aligner Co, which costs $75. Aligner Co will refund the kit if you do not qualify for treatment.
You have to make your dental impression with the kit at home then send it back to Aligner Co. They will use that impression to create a set of customized clear aligners for your treatment.
You can also check if there is an AlignerCo SmileStudio near you so you can do a walk-in and have them create the dental impression for you. This will ensure that your impression is accurate and the AlignerCo teeth aligners will be a perfect fit.
Aligner Co also offers a Night Only clear aligner treatment for those who want to just use them while sleeping. The AlignerCo nighttime treatment will require you to wear the clear aligners for 8 to 10 hours with a treatment time of 8 to 12 months.
- AlignerCo is the cheapest invisible aligner in the market today
- You pay the same price even if you choose the monthly installment route – no interest!
- AlignerCo has a lesser quality compared to that offered by other companies
You can pay once for a NewSmile treatment for $1195. There is also a monthly payment where you give a down payment of $295 and pay $84 per month for 12 months.
To get started, you will get an impression kit at home. You will send back the impression to NewSmile for assessment. The impression kit is worth $95 including the free treatment preview, which you will have to approve before the company starts making your customized teeth aligners.
NewSmile also offers night aligners that you can wear for 10 consecutive hours during your bedtime. The treatment includes a free premium teeth whitening treatment and free pair of retainers once your treatment is done.
- Treatment plans are available for both night and day use
- Free pair of retainers after treatment
- Quality is not as good as other products
With Byte, you can pay for your clear aligners upfront at $1895. You can also choose a monthly payment of $83 per month.
To start your clear aligner treatment with Byte, you have to order an impression kit, which is worth $95. The cost includes the prepaid box that you will use to mail your impressions back to Byte. You get a full refund if you do not qualify for treatment.
Aside from the Byte clear teeth aligners, you will also be getting a complimentary BrightByte bottle, which is a premium teeth whitener, aligner cleaner, and breath freshener in one product. The first set of retainers when your treatment is complete is also free.
There are two treatment options from Byte: Byte all-day aligners (3 months) and Byte nighttime aligners (5 to 6 months). This way, you can choose a treatment plan that will fit your preferences.
Byte does remote monitoring with the help of licensed orthodontists all over the country. You just have to check-in online from time to time. You will get a personalized Byte treatment plan and the orthodontist assigned to your case will inform you if it is time to move on to the next set of clear aligners.
- Remote treatment
- Comes with treatment plans for day and night use
- The deposit required for the monthly installment is still a huge amount
Smile Direct Club
The Smile Direct Club treatment costs $1950. The installment plan has a down payment of $250 and you will be paying $89 per month for 24 months.
To get started with Smile Direct Club, you will order the $59 impression kit to create your impressions. You will send back the impressions to Smile Direct Club where they assess if you qualify for treatment. If not, you will be given a refund for the kit.
You can also do an in-person scan in one of their Smile Shops for free. This way, you get to know immediately if you qualify or not without spending anything.
You can track your progress online from the comfort of your own home and contact their dental care team through phone, chat, video chat, or email.
Most patients have a treatment plan of 4 to 6 months with Smile Direct Club. Remote monitoring is done by licensed dentists and orthodontists.
- Shorter treatment time
- Discounts are offered for teenagers
- Does not work exclusively with orthodontists
Candid’s one-time payment for the treatment is $2400. The installment plan lets you pay a down payment of $399 and $99 per month for 24 months.
To start treatment, you have to purchase their $95 starter kit to make your impressions from home. Just like other brands, if you do not qualify for treatment, you will get a full refund for the kit.
You can save money if you have a Candid Studio near you since they can scan your teeth and make the impression for free.
If you are approved for treatment, all your aligners will be sent to you in one package. You will also be getting a free tube of Candid’s teeth whitening treatment for free.
Candid is known for its accuracy and excellent customer service, making it quite a competitor for leading brand Invisalign. Their quality treatment is also possible as they only work with licensed orthodontists. Candid’s remote monitoring process is also pretty advanced compared to other brands.
- High-quality treatment
- Offers a 24-month installment plan
- Longer treatment time
If you check their website, ClearCorrect does not give a standard price for their treatment since they price you depending on your dental situation. You will only know your payment options after an assessment.
It is said that the average cost of ClearCorrect Full treatment is around $4000 to $5500 while the Clear Correct limited treatment will cost around $2500 to $3500. The costs will vary depending on your needs – the more work your teeth need, the higher the cost will be.
There are three treatment options available: Unlimited (unlimited clear aligners until treatment is completed), Limited 12 (12 clear aligners are provided), and Limited 6 (6 clear aligners are provided). The treatment time will vary depending on the severity of your dental issues.
Unlike other brands, ClearCorrect is not a remote treatment that you can DIY at home. You will have to visit a ClearCorrect provider in their office regularly to be personally monitored.
- In-person monitoring
- Aligners are made in the USA
- No remote monitoring option
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What qualifies you to get clear aligners?
Invisible aligners are not for everybody. For one, they are made to deal with mild to moderate dental issues only. If you need more orthodontic work, you will be rejected as a candidate for treatment and will be advised to go with other options.
Dental issues that clear teeth aligners will not be able to address are intrusion, extrusion, misshapen teeth, midline movement, and severe cases of tooth rotation, tooth gaps, and crowded teeth.
To be sure, see your orthodontist for an assessment and ask if you qualify for invisible aligners. Your orthodontist will be able to tell you whether you can proceed with the treatment or whether you need more work than what these clear aligners can do for you.
To qualify for clear aligners, you need to have good oral health. This means if you have other dental issues like cavities or gum problems or other mouth issues, you have to deal with them first before getting treated with invisible aligners.
Most brands will require you to be at least 18 years old to undergo teeth straightening treatments. Other brands like Candid can work on younger age groups provided that there is written consent from the guardian.
How do invisible aligners work?
Almost all brands offer an impression kit except for exclusively in-office treatments like Invisalign and ClearCorrect. It is important that you follow the instructions in the impression kit properly to make an accurate impression of your teeth. This will ensure that your clear aligners will be a good fit, which is vital to straighten teeth.
Invisible teeth aligners come in sets that you change every 2 or 3 weeks, depending on your teeth straightening progress. If you choose a remote treatment, the items will be shipped to your house and you get all the sets at once. If you choose to do an in-office treatment, you will have to get the aligners one set at a time.
The clear aligners are made to make slight and gradual changes to straighten your teeth. The treatment time will last between 4 to 24 months, depending on your particular case.
Unlike braces, there will be no metal nodes or wires that will be mounted to your teeth. The aligners are totally clear, making them a very discrete way to deal with your dental issues.
Each aligner set will feel a little tight when you first put them on. Discomfort will only last for a couple days but you will get used to the feeling of wearing them.
You will be required to wear daytime invisible aligner for at least 22 hours every day to achieve movement and the desired results by the end of the treatment. If you choose this option, you will have a shorter treatment time since you are wearing the invisible aligner longer.
Nighttime invisible aligners are also available where you have to wear them for at least 10 hours. The treatment time will be longer since you are using them less but at least you do not have to worry about dealing with them during the day or when you are out in public.
You can only take your aligners off when you are drinking, eating, or brushing your teeth. You are supposed to clean and rinse them every time you take them out to avoid staining and for hygienic purposes.
What to expect when using invisible aligners?
As mentioned earlier, there will be some discomfort and in some cases, sensitivity during the first two to three days. This is natural since you will still be adjusting to the feeling of wearing teeth aligner trays but you will eventually get used to it. Take note that you will have to go through these adjustments every 2 to 3 weeks as you switch from one set of clear aligners to the next.
You may talk weirdly during the adjustment period so we suggest that you do not start your treatment when you have a huge presentation or speech coming up. As you get used to wearing your invisible aligners, these speech issues will be gone as well.
The way you bite will also feel different since your teeth are loosening and moving to a new position as part of the teeth straightening process. You will probably prefer to change your diet to softer food just like you do with braces.
But thankfully, you are supposed to remove the clear aligners when you are eating so you do not have to be conscious about food getting stuck on your teeth. Aside from cleaning your aligner trays every time you take them off, you are supposed to floss and brush your teeth before you put them back on.
Your mouth will look the same as the aligners are not that thick. Getting straight teeth is not easy but the new smile you will get after everything will be worth it.
Are invisible aligners covered by insurance?
This will depend on your insurance company. Invisible aligners are considered to be a cosmetic treatment so there may be some insurance policies that will not cover it.
However, there are some insurance policies that will count teeth straightening as a minor orthodontic treatments and will be able to cover a percentage of the cost.
To be sure, contact your insurance provider and ask to avoid surprises later on when you make a claim.
You can also consider other payment options. You can use your Flex Spending Account (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HSA) as financing options to help cover the teeth straightening costs. This option can also help reduce the cash you have to spend on getting invisible aligners.
If you choose an in-office treatment, your dentist or orthodontist may also offer a payment plans to help lessen the costs of teeth straightening. However, this option will require a credit check to ensure that you will be able to pay. If you have a bad credit score, you may not be able to get this option.
Invisible aligners: remote vs. in-office teeth straightening
Most brands will have a remote and in-office option for you to choose from when it comes to your teeth aligner treatment plans.
The best thing about remote treatment is that you are not required to do office visits to monitor your teeth straightening progress. You just have to check in every few weeks and use an app to scan or take a picture of your teeth and send it. The dentist or orthodontist on your case will then notify you if it is time to use the next set of clear aligners.
If you choose the remote treatment, customer service should be one of your priorities when choosing an aligner company. Since you are being monitored from afar, you would want an active and responsive customer service to cater to your questions and concerns.
On the other hand, with an in-office teeth straightening treatment, you get face-to-face interaction with your dentist or orthodontist. Concerns or questions will be answered immediately and if your treatment plan is not doing good as planned, adjustments can be done right away.
If you want an in-office treatment, you should choose an orthodontist or dentist that you are comfortable working with since you will be seeing a lot of them throughout the treatment.
I guess it all boils down to your preference. Either way, your teeth straightening treatment will still be monitored by a professional and you will end up with straight teeth.
Should I get an orthodontist or a dentist?
Some brands work with dentists and orthodontists while others work exclusively with orthodontists. Between the two, you will be getting a higher quality of teeth straightening treatment and work with an orthodontist.
Don’t take this wrongly – dentists are professionals and are good at their job too. But orthodontists have more knowledge, training, and experience when it comes to treatments and dealing with severe dental issues.
Orthodontists go through more years of school and training after they become dentists – it is a step up. One of the areas that they get more focus on are teeth straightening. So, every orthodontist is a dentist but not every dentist is an orthodontist.
If you only have minor issues, it is perfectly fine to go to a dentist for teeth straightening. But if you have a moderate to severe case, then you would be better off with an orthodontist monitoring your case.
Are retainers really necessary?
Yes, retainers are a must and it will be a fixture in your life after teeth straightening. This is the case whether you choose invisible aligners or traditional braces.
When your teeth straightening treatment is done, you will have to wear retainers full time for a couple of months then later, every night for the rest of your life. This is to make sure that your teeth will not move back to their original position as you age.
Retainers need to be customized too so a pair can cost about $100 to $500, depending on the material and quality. Some aligner companies will offer your first set of retainers for free as part of the treatment plan but you have to pay for the next one.
It is advised that you replace your retainer as often as you replace your toothbrush. However, high-quality permanent retainers can last for up to 3 years if you take good care of them. It is best to consult your orthodontist or dentist on how often you should replace the retainer that you have.
As shown in the options above, AlignerCo is the most affordable brand in the market when it comes to invisible aligners. AlignerCo has the cheapest rate at $1145. The best thing is that you pay the same rate whether you pay one-time or monthly. This makes AlignerCo the cheapest among all the aligners companies in the industry today.
However, if you are after quality, Candid is the best choice in the list. It is as good as Invisalign but with limitations, meaning Candid aligners can only deal with milder cases compared to Invisalign.
When it comes to your financing options, generally, you get to save money when you choose the one-time payment plan compared to the monthly installment plan. Monthly installments often have interest rates but you get to stretch your payments from 12 to 24 months.
However, if you are short on money and can’t wait to start treatment, the installment plan can provide more flexibility for you. But be aware that some aligner systems require a credit check for their monthly payment plans.
All impression kits are refundable in case you do not qualify for the treatment. You also do not have to pay when you send the impressions back to the company because the kit comes with a prepaid box for shipping. The refund policy usually ends with the impression kit. Once treatment has started, not all aligner companies will be able to give a full refund on the treatment.
One thing is clear: invisible aligners are definitely cheaper compared to traditional braces. Braces can cost you as much as $8000 and you have to go through a long treatment time. Invisible aligners cost less and fix your problem as early as 4 to 6 months!
With these brands above, it is possible to have straighter teeth and a better smile without breaking the bank – whether they are done remotely or monitored by a provider in your area.