Clear orthodontic aligners, sometimes referred to as clear braces, are plastic teeth aligners that are typically computer manufactured. The long standing stigma attached to dental braces, which has lowered in recent years, is one of the primary reasons clear aligners have become so popular. Clear aligners or clear braces can perform the same role as metal dental braces in treating orthodontic issues such as crowding of the teeth, wide spaces or irregular spaces between the teeth, crooked teeth and general alignment of teeth. Since, it’s similar to a mouthguard, it’s also effective in tackling bite irregularities such as overbite and crossbite. After the teeth are aligned using metal braces, sometimes there’s a mild relapse and clear aligners can be used for that as well. However, for the particularly severe cases of orthodontic problems, clear aligners aren’t as effective as metal dental braces. The orthodontist is the final decision maker in this regard.
How Much Do Clear Braces Cost?
Besides the fact that clear aligners are nearly invisible, the other reason more people are opting for these is that they’re removable. You can remove it while eating or brushing your teeth and at other times as well, if you choose to. Orthodontics recommend wearing clear aligners for a minimum of 22 hours a day for the process of teeth alignment to progress as desired. The fact that it’s removable also poses a challenge. You need to be self-motivated to ensure you wear it for the required amount of time. Frequent removal will negatively affect the orthodontic treatment.
Certain dental braces such as ceramic braces and lingual braces can also provide the dual benefits of teeth alignment and aesthetic appearance. Ceramic braces are similar in color to teeth and not as easily visible as metal dental braces, while lingual braces are fitted at the back of the teeth. These can provide the same cosmetic effect as clear aligners, but since they are braces and are made up of brackets and wires the struggles and irritations remain the same as metal dental braces.
Cost of Clear Braces
The average cost of clear braces is $3,000 to $8,000. The most popular brands of clear orthodontic aligners are Invisalign and ClearCorrect. Clear aligners are more expensive than metal dental braces, but its cost is almost the same as ceramic dental braces and lower than that of lingual braces, which are the alternatives.
The final cost of clear aligners is dependent on a number of factors – let’s take a look at them below.
Duration of Treatment
The typical duration of an orthodontic treatment for teeth alignment is 24 months. However, it can be as low as 8 to 10 months and can even be extended to 36 to 48 months. The orthodontist will conduct a preliminary test to determine which type of braces is suitable to you and the length of the treatment. If you only want to wear clear aligners, then consult an orthodontist specializing in clear aligners. Depending on the diagnosis, the orthodontist will be able to tell you how long the treatment will be for and how many clear aligners you will have to wear.
Just wearing the clear aligners isn’t enough, you will need to visit the orthodontist at regular intervals, which is typically every 3 to 6 weeks. During these visits the clear aligners will be adjusted and your progress mapped out. You can expect to pay about $125 to $150 per visit, though it will vary depending on the orthodontist as well as the location.
Does your dental insurance plan cover orthodontic treatments? If yes, does that include clear aligners? A number of dental insurance plans consider clear aligners to be cosmetic in nature and do not cover it, often along with lingual braces. If you’re an adult the chances are you already have a dental plan and the opportunity for maneuvering is little. If the clear aligner is for your kid, then you have the opportunity to select a dental plan that does cover clear aligners. A dental plan that does cover clear aligners will cover up to 50% of the cost, which will save a good chunk of money. It will include the cost of the clear braces, installation charges and the consultation fee of the orthodontist.
The cost of orthodontic treatment and clear aligners for adults is higher than that for kids. As an adult you can expect to pay at least 5% more than what it will cost for kids.
Orthodontist and Location
As with any other type of medical professional, the good ones charge more than the average ones and the best charge a lot. So, depending on which orthodontist you consult, the cost will vary. If an orthodontist is based in a densely populated part of an urban area, that will impact the cost as well.
While clear aligners generally do not get cloudy with use, you will nonetheless need to clean it once in awhile in order to maintain hygiene. You can buy special cleaning fluid for clear aligners. Brands that sell clear aligners also sell cleaners. These cleaners are a bit on the expensive end. Some cost upwards of $100.
Price of Clear Braces – Final Word
Clear aligners have changed the face of orthodontic treatments and braces to a large extent. Kids as well as adults who used to feel too conscious about wearing metal braces and skipped orthodontic treatment altogether, even though they need it, are now adopting it.
Clear aligners allow you to get the requisite treatment and get your teeth aligned or resolve any other orthodontic issue you may have, without having to wear ugly metal braces or face the stigma attached to it. Clear aligners cost more than metal braces, but they aren’t as expensive as lingual braces. The fact that clear aligners can be removed makes them really handy, especially for kids.
However, do keep in mind that depending on the number of aligners you require and the duration of the treatment, the cost can really escalate. Plus, most dental plans do not cover clear aligners, which will add to your financial burden. During the preliminary consultation with the orthodontist find out all you need to about clear aligners, before making the final decision.