Woohoo! After 15 months I have finally finished paying off my Invisalign. Whilst the Invisalign have been almost completely pain free the bills have not been, so I am more than happy to see the back of them. Having said that I can tell you quite categorically that it has been worth every single cent I’ve paid -and I haven’t even seen the final result yet!
I have mentioned before that my Invisalign cost $6100, plus $200 for the taking of records and impressions. That amounts to approximately $5300 US or 3600 British Pounds at todays conversion rates (3rd June 2010). I paid $1500 at the time of the first impressions, $1550 at the first fitting and then made 15 monthly payments of $220. I did however get around $2000 back from MBF, my health fund here in Australia. Still, even with that refund the bills HURT.
I didn’t choose the cheapest Invisalign orthodontist that I saw. That isn’t because I am too rich for the cost to bother me; with two children, two cats and a husband with a penchant for expensive gadgets, FAR from it in fact. It was just that when I was paying so much already I sure as hell didn’t want to have to pay it twice. Also, I am a perfectionist. So although I told my orthodontist that I was happy for my teeth to be better without being absolutely perfect, I really wanted them to be as perfect as they could be.
Given that Invisalign are expensive – and I know that I have written about some of this before, long time readers might want to skip the rest of this post!- I just wanted to say a few things about the costs of Invisalign for those that have not yet chosen their orthodontist or dentist. When you are considering spending several thousand dollars you want to get the best deal possible. Nobody wants to spend more than they have to. However, as I have repeated several times on this blog, if there is any way you can avoid it please don’t choose your Invisalign provider just based on price.
Some people getting Invisalign will have only very simple cases. For them, it may not matter whether they look for their provider based on price alone. For anybody with a more complex orthodontic problem like myself, choosing the right provider could be vital. It can honestly mean the difference between good teeth and great teeth. Given that whichever orthodontist you choose will be rearranging your teeth, filling your mouth with moulding gunk, and even possibly filing away parts of teeth occasionally, it’s important to choose the right person for the job.
Having said that cost is something that most of us can’t afford to ignore altogether, so I thought I would run through the things that influence how much your Invisalign are likely to cost.
The first thing that determines Invisalign cost is which Invisalign system your orthodontist uses. Invisalign Express is a system of Invisalign used for only the simplest Invisalign cases. Generally Invisalign Express cases take less than 10 aligners and are for minor spacing issues. Full Invisalign is used for cases other than the very simplest cases where more aligners, more complex movements and possible refinements are required. Invisalign Teen is an Invisalign system aimed at teens who may still have erupting teeth or who may have issues with Invisalign compliance.
Where you live will also have an impact on the cost of your Invisalign. In areas where the dentist or orthodontist will have higher staff and rent costs Invisalign will obviously cost more. Also, in areas where there are not many Invisalign providers there is likely to be less price competition and therefore more expensive Invisalign.
Another factor is whether you choose an Invisalign dentist or Orthodontist. Orthodontists in most countries are more specialised in tooth movement than general dentists, often having completed several more years of training at university than general dentists. This means that orthodontists sometimes (but not always) charge more for Invisalign.
Invisalign dentists and orthodontists sometimes also vary their prices according to their Invisalign experience. Some providers offer lower prices when they first start out with Invisalign, increasing their prices when they become highly experienced. This isn’t always the case though- please don’t take higher prices as a definite indicator of more experience. If you need to know which are the most experienced Invisalign providers where you live, the Invisalign website for your country ranks their providers by experience level. (Look for providers with platinum elite or premier provider elite next to their name for the most experienced provider)
Finally, you should check what your Invisalign costs include. Find out whether the cost that you are quoted includes everything- including any refinements that you might need if you are not happy with your teeth after the first run of aligners. My orthodontist offers three runs of refinements, but some providers offer less than three included in the price. Some providers also offer whitening and other extras whilst others charge for it. Make sure you know exactly what you are paying for and exactly what extra costs could crop up during treatment.
Finally, I would suggest seeing several Invisalign doctors to get quotes and opinions before choosing who to go with. In my experience they can have very different ideas as to what to do with your teeth and how complex and costly the treatment needs to be. You will also get a feel for their personality and whether they are somebody that you would feel comfortable talking to and asking questions of during your treatment. Also, check with any orthodontist or dentist that you choose that they have completed cases like yours before and ask to see before and after pictures too if they have them.
If you are concerned about whether the quotes you have are reasonable for your area of the world have a look at the realself website. It shows the prices paid by people all over the world, often with reviews of their doctors too. I found this site invaluable whilst looking for my Invisalign orthodontist.
In the meantime, I am off to enjoy my final few days of night time only braces wear. My new aligners are due in this week at which point I will be back to 22 hours a day wear. I’ll post an update and some pictures when I get them…but for now I’m off for a leisurely coffee and some very sticky chocolate cake whist I still can!