The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) also believes aligner therapy must have a guided treatment plan with a qualified orthodontist. Unfortunately, my colleagues and I have treated too many patients who did not get the smiles they expected with mail-order products.
In addition to the many manufacturers who sell direct-to-consumer aligners, there are different aligner manufacturers that sell only to orthodontists. Some doctors do not provide aligner treatment. Others offer this treatment exclusively. Some favor one manufacturer’s product over another’s. For years, Invisalign was the only product available, but now there are other options with some significant advantages that you should understand. Find an orthodontist near you who works with clear aligners to discover which brand could be right for you.
Why I Prefer Spark
I prefer the Spark Clear Aligner System. Spark has been on the global market for several years, and the system produces truly beautiful smiles while offering patients a more discreet option with the clearest material available. The plastic is also resistant to staining, maintaining the clarity that keeps the aligner clear and virtually invisible. My patients also find Spark to be more comfortable than the leading aligner treatment because it’s made with a softer material and comes with polished, scalloped edges for more comfortable wear day and night.
Breaking Down the Cost of Aligners vs. Braces
Aligner cost is one of the biggest concerns patients have, and rightfully so. What makes things confusing is that each doctor sets their own price based on many factors, including location, years of experience, and the type of practice. Unlike a traditional consumer product, like a new computer or video game console, braces or aligner treatment under a doctor’s care don’t have a fixed price for all patients.
Treatment severity, methodology, and materials also impact aligner cost. Because aligner cost depends on your specific situation, you’ll need to ask your provider during a consultation how much clear aligners are for you.
The average teeth aligner cost falls into a similar range as the average cost for braces: $3,500 - $8,000. Thus, the median cost for aligner treatment through a doctor is similar to or slightly higher than metal braces.
Why DIY Aligners Cost Less
If you base your decision on cost alone, you will certainly find a cheaper alternative with a direct purchase from a manufacturer that eliminates the treatment supervision of a skilled orthodontist. This choice also eliminates the use of attachments (little tooth-colored bumps that help guide the teeth correctly) or interproximal reduction (IPR), ensuring optimum esthetics and predictability of the overall case, as direct to consumer products are unable to offer these auxiliaries.
Mail-order aligners also preclude monthly check-ins that allow your orthodontist to track progress and make changes based on your results. These direct purchases are often advertised at a low cost because they have less orthodontic supervision.
Making Aligners More Affordable
While it may be a little more expensive to choose an aligner brand that requires doctor supervision, you can receive affordable care with the help of your dental coverage. Your insurance may not cover the total cost of treatment, but it could be enough to ease your financial burdens significantly. Check how much clear aligners are through your insurance and discuss your options with your orthodontist.
Your orthodontist’s office can explain pricing after out-of-pocket costs, insurance benefits, and your recommended treatment plan. Whether you prefer braces or aligners, most offices will work with you to set up a convenient monthly payment plan spread out over the course of your treatment to make paying for your treatment easier.
I believe that everyone deserves a beautiful smile, and getting that smile can be more achievable than you think with insurance and a comfortable, customized payment plan. Discover how much clear aligners are for you when you speak to a Spark Provider today!