Why Does Invisalign Cost More Than Braces?
We examine what makes Invisalign more expensive than other teeth-straightening treatments and offer our take on the biggest question on your mind: Is Invisalign worth it?
When we discussed the price of straight teeth previously, we shared some baseline estimates: metal braces from $3,500, ceramic and self-ligating braces from $4,200, and Invisalign from $6,500. It goes without saying that actual numbers will vary depending not only on your choice of treatment, but also your condition and treatment duration. But, erm, why does Invisalign cost more than braces in the first place?
Both Invisalign and braces are teeth-straightening treatments (i.e., they do the same thing), but the way that they do it is vastly different. Think of it this way: braces, which have been around for 40 years, are analogue while Invisalign is backed by a digitised workflow. Here’s how:
You’re benefitting from 20 years of intensive R&D
Invisalign uses a clear aligner system to move your teeth into position. If you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that a piece of plastic (more on that later) can give you straight teeth without subjecting you to painful bracket-and-wire adjustments every month. It’s true that when Invisalign first popped into the scene in the early 2000s, it was mainly used for simple teeth-straightening cases. But now, it has been proven as an effective treatment for most conditions. That’s the power of 20 years (and counting!) of research and innovation. Today, there’s enough evidence to believe that, if your dentist recommends Invisalign as a suitable treatment for you and you follow treatment instructions, it will deliver the promised results.
The aligners are comfortable and effective
While we did refer to Invisalign’s clear aligners as “a piece of plastic” earlier, that’s a gross understatement. The aligners are made of a patented SmartTrack® material that moves your teeth with precision and comfort. We’re told that the folks behind Invisalign tested 260 different materials to come up with it! The aligners are designed to fit snugly around your teeth, yet are more comfortable and easier to put on and take off. Smooth and pliable = less pain, more to gain.
You won’t be able to tell but, when you’re wearing the aligners, they are applying a gentle, constant force to move your teeth. SmartTrack® is a major reason why Invisalign is able to give you the smile you want — it boils down to control and predictability. Comfort is a welcome bonus.
You get to see the end result before you even get started
If you’re anything like us, you would have tried to imagine (or Photoshop!) yourself with straight teeth. Invisalign takes the guesswork out of the equation, and creates a full simulation of your teeth post-treatment using digital technology.
If your dentist is based at the i.Dental Invisalign Dedicated Clinic, you’re in luck! i.Dental is equipped with the iTero Element® 2, which is a second-generation digital scanner with a 25% faster scanning time. Your dentist will use this to create an accurate, 3D image of your teeth, which is then fed into the Clincheck® software. Ask to see your Clincheck® results to understand exactly how your teeth will shift during treatment! This is also an opportunity to discuss your concerns and expectations with your dentist (like, whether Invisalign will change your face shape, maybe?) so they can adjust your treatment accordingly.
Your aligners are 3D printed based on your customised treatment plan
How cool is that? Your Invisalign aligners are not only custom made, they are created with 3D printing technology. During your Clincheck® review, you’ll realise that your teeth are being moved in a series of small, calculated steps. Each step translates to one set of aligners. A one-year treatment, for example, will require 26 biweekly aligners — each different and unique.
To achieve this level of mass customisation, Align Technology, the maker of Invisalign, has a production facility in the United States equipped with dozens of 3D printers. In 2017, it was named the world’s largest user of 3D printing technology with Forbes estimating that it produces over 200,000 custom-made aligners daily.
Your dentist has to be Invisalign accredited (and preferably experienced)
Everything we’ve touched on so far relates to technology. With Invisalign, technology is a powerful tool that only a trained hand can wield. Before a dentist can offer Invisalign treatment, they have to undergo accreditation training. Align Technology then classifies each Invisalign-accredited dentist into ten tiers, from Bronze to Blue Diamond, based on their experience. After your first consultation and before you return for the review, your dentist does a treatment mapping process where they have to plan how each tooth should move in order to achieve the smile you want. While Invisalign’s software can be pretty helpful with data-driven recommendations at this stage, an experienced dentist can judge feasibility and suitability to your specific condition.
As a Dedicated Invisalign Clinic and a Blue Diamond provider, i.Dental has been at the head of the queue when it comes to technology and training. Not only are all their dentists Invisalign accredited, many of them have also maintained their Platinum Elite or Diamond status for five consecutive years.
To sum up, yes, Invisalign is more than expensive than braces, but if you agree that price is what you pay and value is what you get, then value makes Invisalign well worth the money. We love that we can straighten our teeth without anyone knowing thanks to the virtually-invisible aligners, and that we don’t suffer any nicks, cuts, ulcers or dietary restrictions, unlike with braces. Most of all, we love the certainty of knowing what results we’re paying for!
Have a chat with our Invisalign-accredited dentists to offload all your burning questions about teeth straightening today!