Having a smile you don’t like can impact more than just your confidence. A quarter of adults avoid smiling because of the condition of their teeth, and 28% of young adults say the appearance of their teeth affects their ability to interview for a job, according to an American Dental Association survey.
Despite these statistics, the cost of Invisalign and similar teeth-straightening products can seem prohibitive. Here’s an overview of the cost of Invisalign and related dental products as well as tips for fitting this dental care into your budget.
The cost of Invisalign and similar products
Invisalign is a brand name for a dental treatment that uses a series of clear, removable aligners to progressively straighten your teeth. Related products, such as ClearCorrect and SmileDirectClub, could achieve similar results at different costs.
ClearCorrect, for instance, estimates average costs ranging from around $2,000 to $8,000. Alternatively, SmileDirectClub cuts costs by allowing you to take your own dental impressions at home and assigning you to a remote dentist. Because of this, it can offer treatments ranging from $1,850 to $2,170.
Your dentist or orthodontist is the best person to talk to about the cost of Invisalign or other methods for straightening your teeth. The cost will depend on your case. There are several factors that impact how much you’ll pay to have your smile corrected. They include:
How long you’ll need treatment: If your teeth are severely misaligned, you’ll likely need more sets of aligners to straighten them. More aligners and dental visits could lead to higher costs. If you’re only straightening a few teeth, you may be able to use a program that requires fewer visits to the orthodontist.
The complexity of your treatment: If you have other oral health issues, such as teeth grinding, dead or missing teeth, or gum disease, they could increase the cost of your treatment.
Your dentist or orthodontist: Each oral health provider sets their own fees. Your location, the type of health professional you visit, and your dental insurance coverage could affect how much you’ll pay.
How to pay for teeth straightening
Once you know the service you want to move forward with, the next step is determining how to pay for it. Depending on your financial situation, you have a few options.
1. Review your insurance plan
Not every dental insurance plan will cover orthodontic work, but some will cover all or part of the cost (either a dollar amount or a percentage of your bill). Do your research to determine what your insurance plan covers.
Don’t know where to start? Talk to your HR department or benefits administrator. You can also call your insurance company to figure out what its dental policy is. Then, crunch the numbers to determine if an insurance plan that covers some orthodontic treatment will help you afford the cost of Invisalign.
2. Use tax-free dollars
You could use funds from your health savings account (HSA) to cover the cost of Invisalign. You don’t pay taxes on the money you put into an HSA as long as the funds go toward qualified expenses, and you can contribute up to $3,450 annually as an individual or $6,900 as a family.
An HSA often comes with a debit card, which you can use to pay your dentist directly. You could also pay for services out of pocket and then reimburse yourself from your HSA.
3. Ask about payment plans at your dental office
Some dental offices offer payment plans if you don’t want to pay the full cost of Invisalign all at once. It might not impact your credit to pay your dentist this way. Your dental office might not report payments to credit agencies.
But if your dentist has partnered with an outside financing company to provide this service, it might perform a credit check or report payments to the credit bureaus. When you ask your dentist about financing options, make sure you learn how your credit may be affected.
4. Consider a low-interest personal loan
If you’ve weighed your financing options and come up short, a low-interest personal loan could be a reliable solution. You can compare rates for personal lenders and apply online.
As you shop around, consider the interest charges and fees you’ll pay for dental work. Our personal loan calculator can help you estimate your monthly bill and total interest costs.
5. Check out low-interest credit cards
Another option is to use a low-interest credit card to pay for your dental work. Some credit cards have a zero-interest introductory period. If you pay off the credit card before the introductory rate expires, you won’t pay any interest. With some cards, you may even be able to earn airline points or cash back on your purchases.
Knowing how much to budget for dental work
The most important thing to remember when you’re budgeting for dental work is to avoid taking on more debt than you can afford. If you opt for a personal loan or a low-interest credit card, determine what your monthly payments will be before you commit.
Consider your finances to determine how much you can afford to pay for dental care each month. Set up a budget and factor in your estimated dental costs.
Then, take the first step by talking to your health care provider about what options are best for your smile. They’ll be able to steer you in a direction that hopefully balances the quality of the treatment with your budget.
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