Invisalign braces are a modern, invisible, removable braces system made of clear medical grade plastic. Whilst they are aesthetically superior to traditional metal braces many patients are put off by the perceived additional cost when compared to regular braces. However many dentists and orthodontists now offer Invisalign at the same or even lower cost than other orthodontic appliances.
Invisalign is offered by both dentists and orthodontist throughout the world. Orthodontists due to their superior specialist training frequently charge more than dentists whose training in orthodontic techniques may be far inferior to that of an orthodontist. Similarly as Invisalign is a relatively new system the experience levels of particular providers can vary enormously. Some providers have completed hundreds of Invisalign cases whilst others may have only have completed a handful. The Invisalign website has a ranking method based on cases completed that allows patients to search for a more or less experienced provider. Caution should be used however when using cost as a measure of experience. Some inexperienced providers have been known to charge more than more experienced doctors.
Invisalign also offers a variety of programs. Full Invisalign treatment is offered to adult patients with moderate to complex cases. Invisalign Teen is aimed at the younger market and allows for erupting teeth and lower compliance levels and Invisalign express is aimed at patients with very minor issues. Each of these programs has different levels of inclusions (i.e. the number of aligners, number of free replacements for lost aligners, number of refinements included etc.) and hence different pricing strategies. On top of this different providers include different programs within their own contracts so it can be very difficult to compare different provider's costs.
Another factor in the price Invisalign doctors charge is their geographic location. Many providers in major cities charge more due to their increased overheads. However due to higher levels of competition this is not always the case. Average prices in the US for Invisalign hover around the $5000 mark, however in New York City and San Francisco this figure is more in the region of $6000-$8000. It is worth comparing the cost of providers within your area rather than comparing them throughout your country. As a rule it would not be a particularly good idea to travel long distances for Invisalign treatment. Visits are required fairly regularly to pick up additional aligners and in the case of an emergency such as a lost or broken aligner the need to travel any distance would be very inconvenient.
Whilst cost is obviously an important factor for many people when choosing orthodontic treatment, where possible you should try to make your choice based on issues other than cost alone. This is particularly important with a fairly new system like Invisalign where experience levels vary so greatly between different providers. It may in many instances be worthwhile delaying treatment to give longer time to save up for a more experienced provider if it means that the final outcome will be significantly better as a result.