Explaining the Costs of Straightening Your Teeth

Thinking about straightening your teeth but worried about the cost? If so, you're not alone. Cost is often a top concern for people looking to get their perfect smile. But that doesn’t mean you should let the expense keep you from the smile you love. There are many straightening options available to fit most situations and budgets.

Investing in straightening your teeth is an investment in your overall health

Straightening your teeth isn’t just about the cosmetic benefits. Yes, it can straighten your smile and make you look younger, but it can also help protect against illness and injury. For example, straightening your teeth can help fight against gum disease and cavities by making it harder for plaque to hide from your toothbrush.

Straightening can also help protect against certain types of injuries that misaligned teeth are more prone to.1 Teeth straightening can even help you get a better night’s sleep by combating disorders like sleep apnea.2

How teeth straightening works

Teeth straightening is done to fix misaligned or overcrowded teeth (and other bite-related issues). It gently and gradually applies pressure to teeth to move them into a better position. Not only does it improve how your teeth look, but it can also help improve your oral health.3 The two most common treatments for straightening teeth are braces and aligners.

Thinking braces? Expect to pay between $3,000 to $10,000.4

With braces, metal brackets, wires, and elastics apply pressure to your teeth to guide them into place. Typically, this happens over a period of one to three years, but each case is different and only your doctor can say how long you’ll need them.

Nationwide, the average cost of braces is between $3,000 to $10,000 dollars.4 How much you’ll actually pay however depends on several factors. Those factors include where you live, the material used to make the braces, and how long you wear them. Your orthodontist is your best resource for calculating how much your braces will cost.

Do Invisalign® aligners cost more than braces?

The cost of Invisalign treatment is up to your orthodontist, but it is comparable to braces. During Invisalign treatment, you’ll wear a series of clear, removable aligners that gradually straighten your teeth. Invisalign aligners straighten teeth faster5 and more comfortably6 than braces. The aligners are virtually invisible and removable, so you can keep living your life and caring for your teeth throughout treatment.

Will my insurance cover braces or Invisalign® treatment?

Your insurance may help cover up to $3,000 in orthodontic treatment.7 Some insurers limit how much they’ll pay for teeth straightening, so you’ll want to know what your plan covers and what you’ll pay out of pocket.

Your orthodontist can help you figure out how much treatment your insurance will cover. In some cases, they can work with your insurance provider to help you get the most from your coverage. If you’re not comfortable talking to your orthodontist, you can contact your insurance provider directly.

Look up insurance coverage with the My Invisalign™ app

Check your insurance coverage and see how much of your treatment may be covered.

Look up insurance coverage with the My Invisalign™ app

Check your insurance coverage and see how much of your treatment may be covered.

Financing your brand-new smile

Many doctors offer financing to make it easier to pay for treatment. Some plans may require little or no money to start and flexible monthly payments. Make sure you ask about financing options during your consultation. Chances are you can apply right there in the office.

HSAs and FSAs can cover straightening costs

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) can also help cover some teeth straightening costs. These accounts have an advantage in that you don't pay taxes on the money you put into them.

  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA): A special account managed by your employer that can be used to cover certain medical, dental, and orthodontic costs.

  • Health Savings Account (HSA): Savings account for people with high-deductible health insurance plans. Typically, individuals can set aside a certain amount annually as determined by the IRS for that tax year. The funds can be used to cover certain medical, dental, and orthodontic costs.

How much is your comfort and daily life worth?

When thinking about the cost of straightening your teeth, ask yourself how much of your comfort and daily life you’re willing to sacrifice. How much do traditional treatments really cost you once you factor in the years of pain, inconvenience, food restrictions, and impact on your appearance? What would it be worth to get the smile of your dreams with less intrusion on your daily life? Invisalign clear aligners are less painful,8 more comfortable,6 faster5 and virtually invisible compared to metal braces. In many cases, the cost of Invisalign treatment is comparable to the cost of braces. Your orthodontist will determine the cost of your treatment. Find a doctor today and get started on treatment.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website are for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please seek the advice of your health care provider with any questions you may have regarding any dental or medical-related condition and never disregard or delay seeking such advice because of something you have read on this website.

Wonder if Invisalign treatment is right for you?

  1. Jeyashree et al (2022 November) Association of malocclusion and trauma in children: A retrospective study.Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research
  2. Cohen-Levy J (2023 April) The influence of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome on the orthodontic treatment decision in children and adolescents. Part 2: Which orthodontic treatments for children with apnea? Orthod Fr
  3. Narhi et al (2022 August) Malocclusion severity and its associations with oral health-related quality of life in an adult population European Journal of Orthodontics. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9380859/ Gaikwad eta al (2014 September) Dental Caries and its Relationship to Malocclusion in Permanent Dentition Among 12-15 Year Old School Going Children. Journal of International Oral Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4229825/
  4. Healthline. How much do braces cost? (https://www.healthline.com/health/average-cost-of-braces). Accessed 3/29/24
  5. Gu, J et al. Evaluation of Invisalign treatment effectiveness and efficiency compared with conventional fixed appliances using the Peer Assessment Rating index. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop February 2017;151:259-66Buschang, P et al. Comparative time efficiency of aligner therapy and conventional edgewise braces. Angle Orthodontist, Vol 84, No 3, 2014
  6. Study sponsored by Align Technology and based on adult Class I, nonextraction, mild to moderate crowding cases with SmartTrack material. David W. White, Katie C. Julien, Helder Jacob, Phillip M. Campbell and Peter H. Buschang, Discomfort associated with Invisalign and traditional brackets: A randomized, prospective trial. The Angle Orthodontist Nov 2017, Vol. 87, No. 6 pp. 801-808
  7. Data from OrthoFi for calendar year 2021, N = 112,243, US patients with dental insurance coverage who used OrthoFi insurance verification tool. Coverage amount averaged $1,772 USD, with 92% qualifying for up to $3,000 USD and 77% qualifying for up to $2,000 USD in coverage for orthodontic treatment. Data on file at Align Technology, as of January 19, 2023.
  8. In a study by Miller et al, with adults measuring pain in the first week of treatment. Kevin Miller et al. “A comparison of treatment impacts between Invisalign aligner and fixed appliance therapy during the first week of treatment.” American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. Volume 131, Issue 3, pp. 302. e1-302.e9, March 2007.