Cost of Invisalign or Training of the Dentist or Orthodontist: What to Prioritize and How to Know if You are Truly Getting a Good Deal?

By
Limestone Hills Orthodontics
on
December 25, 2023

Rodrigo F. Viecilli, DDS, PhD

Orthodontist Austin TX

It typically all starts with crooked teeth, which is what patients can see, but we study to see a lot more to optimize your oral health. Are you considering Invisalign as a way to straighten your teeth and improve your smile? If so, you may be wondering about the cost Invisalign to benefit ratio of this popular orthodontic treatment in Austin. But let us tell you, it’s not all about cost. Because it’s not all about the tool. When you want to build a piece of furniture do you research about the cost of hammers and saws?

Limestone Hills Orthodontics- Dr. Rodrigo F. Viecilli, DDS, PhD

To put it into perspective, this confusion may be what brought you here. Please let me clarify it for you.

Invisalign is a clear aligner system of orthodontic treatment that has become a popular alternative to traditional braces or metal braces. Traditional metal braces are rarely used by general dentists as a tool for orthodontic treatment because they most often don’t have a middleman to plan treatment- the orthodontist himself is responsible for the final outcome.

Invisalign treatment costs are always a concern for patients, especially the ones who never had braces and are too concerned about the esthetics and discomfort to do it again.

The Biomechanics of Traditional Braces vs. Invisalign and How the Orthodontist was “Forced” to Think

Traditional braces are real life, not a movie- the orthodontist has to constantly reevaluate at each appointment, of course with a general plan, what the best force system is to take you where is best for you. There is no way to predict treatment one year in the future with very good certainty especially in complex cases because the bone structure changes while teeth move!

Even someone like me, with the best knowledge of static force systems and tools cannot. You have to be skilled to place them to make the teeth move to the right position, and to configure them to make sure the movements are balanced by Newton’s laws and make sense.

zoom, orthodontics, iphone
Cost of Invisalign or Training of the Dentist or Orthodontist: What to Prioritize and How to Know if You are Truly Getting a Good Deal? 27

This is a HUGE deal that is overlooked by public opinion. Why do you think all of sudden general dentists were able to “treat” orthodontic cases when they didn’t before Invisalign was released to general dentists after a lawsuit by a group of dentists that thought there was discrimination involved? The reason you can get orthodontic treatment by a general dentists with Invisalign aligners is directly related by a lawsuit settlement.

Invisalign aligners offer a more discreet and comfortable option for those looking for orthodontic treatment and that is undeniable. Invisalign aligners were invented by a computer scientist that dreamt that if you moved teeth in a computer and made a movie out of it, and broke it down it frames, it would correspond to how teeth moved in real life.

What if I Told you that the Concept behind Invisalign existed 50 years ago but Orthodontists were more comfortable delivering a good result with something they could adjust every appointment and that there is good scientific reasoning behind it?

An orthodontist has invented something called a tooth positioner 50 years before, but advancements in material technology allowed tooth movement to be performed with thin instead of thick plastic. The breakthrough was really someone implementing a possible concept instead of what they were taught in school, but then marketing the esthetics directly to the public. We, orthodontists, had to make it work because the public wanted it. In a certain way, patients wanted it, and we had to figure it out.

And we did, to a certain extent. But where did it lead us, and what is the problem with this “movie” concept?

cost invisalign trays
Cost of Invisalign or Training of the Dentist or Orthodontist: What to Prioritize and How to Know if You are Truly Getting a Good Deal? 28

A movie or a vision has an inherent possibility to not be correspondent with reality with clear aligners and not be the optimum path to oral health. Why? Because in a movie, you can move all the teeth on the top in one direction, for example. And then straighten teeth and in the movie make sure at the end it ends with the correct bite. But is this true in real life?

No. In real life, it’s impossible for all teeth to go in one direction without a reciprocal counter-force. It’s called Newton’s First Law in Physics. And this applies to any type of movement not just teeth. Rotations (moments) and force vectors have to be balanced so that they all sum to zero. What this means is that, for instance, if you want the upper teeth to move forward, the bottom teeth have to move back. Or, there has to be some sort of anchorage system, like a headgear for example, that moves teeth forward.

Limestone Hills Orthodontics- Dr. Rodrigo F. Viecilli, DDS, PhD

That’s just a counter example of why we can’t trust planning from an Invisalign technician to make sure your treatment works. The only dental professional that has more training in the interaction of physics and biology (we call it biomechanics) is an Orthodontist. An Orthodontist is a dentist that spent 2-3 extra years in School to learn how to move teeth and change bone shapes scientifically.

Dentists barely have 1-2 years to learn the theory and basics without often finishing a single case. Does a weekend course make you a good furniture builder? Trust me, moving teeth is a lot more complicated than building a table. Now imagine one dentist or even orthodontist “theoretically” taking care of thousands and thousands of cases (think Smiledirectclub). Do you get the picture?

Do you want to trust your treatment to an Invisalign Diamond provider that took a weekend course when the only reason they are called that is that they treated many cases? The American executive that made Toyota beat all American brands said very well ” experience without theory is nothing more than a repetition of mistakes”. Perhaps, in a different fashion. This is a powerful statement that carries beyond orthodontics.

Limestone Hills Orthodontics- Dr. Rodrigo F. Viecilli, DDS, PhD

The thing is, Invisalign provides the dentist or orthodontist with a movie made by a technician, often in Costa Rica, of what “could happen” if everything went like it does in their dream. Is there some statistical refining behind it to prevent crude mistakes? Yes. But only an orthodontist will have the deep understanding of how your teeth should fit and how they should move in physical synchrony to make your treatment work.

Think about it. If you were trained on how to make a movie of a table being built and make the pieces fit the molds in every frame, it could work right? But, in real, life, it’s more complicated, right? Yeah. With clear aligners such as Invisalign, it is absolutely the same.

Dr. Rodrigo F. Viecilli, DDS, PhD, has an actual PhD in Oral Biology focused on Biomechanics on top of being an orthodontist. And his work won the top award in North America and got him a Faculty position in one of the best dental schools in the country. Dr. Viecilli, with his biomechanics expertise, developed an idea that led to a patent that contributed to the Spark system by Ormco, who won a plagiarism lawsuit against Align Technology (the makers of Invisalign) to make their own aligner system.

Invisalign patents fell 2 years ago. I have completed extensive research on clear aligners and patents that are being fought for by different clear aligner companies. He developed the Smartarch, the most sophisticated orthodontic alignment archwire in the world for traditional braces.

Many generic clear aligner systems are available to orthodontists only, because they know very well how to set up functioning teeth in occlusion and move them there. A dentist has very little knowledge of biomechanics because there is typically no time for training in that level of specialization in dental school.

At Limestone Hils Orthodontics, most patients are explained these details and are given an option of both Invisalign and generic clear aligners. The materials of generic aligners can be even superior to Invisalign materials, depending on the brand.

For most cases that don’t involve specific Invisalign aligners patent features (such as mandibular advancement for an “overbite”) I like to say: if you pay extra $1000 for a totally black pure leather Louis Vuitton bag where you can see the brand only on the inside, get Invisalign and be happy. I will be happy to charge you more. But I guarantee you, if you wear the generic clear aligners, you will get the exact same result, because its 95% the skill of the builder and 1% the quality of the hammer, even if the hammer had much better quality, which is not the case here.

It is my straight opinion as one of the top orthodontic biomechanics in the world that the extra Invisalign cost is not worth it, and if you choose it, or if it’s cheaper, you are most likely getting ripped off in the majority of cases. So, do you really want to keep looking for the lowest Invisalign cost?

This is why you should look at the average cost to benefit ratio, not just cost of Invisalign aligners. Would you just buy the cheapest car knowing it wasn’t reliable and risk thousands of dollars of investment?

My original training in undergrad was in aerospace engineering. I still don’t feel confident to put an airplane or long-range rocket together by myself, almost none of us do, because we specialize in certain parts and work in teams. Putting teeth together, I admit, is a lot simpler.

Now think about it- if you don’t know how to use a hammer, or how to make an airplane fly, you won’t look up the actual cost of hammers or parts for the airplane to build one, will you? As an extreme example of this discrepancy in thought from the general public, consider the fact that Smiledirectclub just shut down its operations.

I just recently wrote scientific answers interview to a Forbes magazine reporter about it that we will reference it here soon. Smiledirectclub was the apex of public opinion ignorance on the importance of studious skill and training on orthodontics or orthodontia. And it’s easy to lie- but not for a long time. The more you cover it up, the more it tends to reveal itself.

They made so many people lose so much money by taking advantage of their lack of education in this particular aspect of physics and biological interaction. And now so many patients were abandoned in the middle of their treatment. Could that be you, looking for the lowest Invisalign cost with the wrong provider?

In this article, we are exploring the average Invisalign cost in Austin, but balanced by the skill of the provider and what factors can affect the overall cost to benefit ratio. The goal here was to capture your attention on google, but to open your mind to a different state that could be more beneficial in the long run.

What is Invisalign and How to Find the Ideal Cost Invisalign to Result Benefit Ratio

Invisalign is a clear aligner system that uses a series of custom-made, clear plastic aligner trays to gradually shift your teeth into the desired position, with a movie initially planned by a non-dental trained technician that is supposed to be adjusted by the dentist or orthodontist. You can see now how wrong this can go if not cared for properly. On the positive side, these aligner trays are virtually invisible and can be removed for eating and brushing your teeth.

Invisalign is a popular choice for those looking to straighten their teeth without the noticeable appearance of traditional braces or metal braces. It is also a more comfortable option as there are no wires or brackets to irritate the mouth.

How Does Invisalign Work?

The Invisalign process begins with a consultation with an orthodontist or dentist who is “trained” in the Invisalign system. Now this training can go to 2-3 years deep in orthodontic biomechanics to one day. Both providers can treat you legally. Don’t ask me why. Maybe ask the ADA, which of course has more dentists than specialists.

They will evaluate your teeth and determine if Invisalign is the right treatment for you. He will determine your treatment difficulty based on your full possibilities for ideal occlusion and smile. These all depend on how trained they are to diagnose what’s best for you in terms of occlusion and ideal smile but also how much effort will be needed to get you to your best. Invisalign treatment has an advantage to decrease the chance of tooth decay in patients that can’t keep up with their hygiene with buky braces and misaligned teeth.

Sometimes that may be a good trade off to children’s health insurance program andw here the parents have a hard time controlling their hygiene consistently because of limitations such as a child in the autism spectrum, which by the way, most orthodontists are somewhat trained to handle although that might imply a higher price due to the extra and attention work necessary to deliver the results.

Do you think orthodontists are more expensive? Trust us, we feel the competition from general dentists to push our price down. But we KNOW what it takes to get you to your best and will do the best to not disappoint you, but we also know that we trained 2-3 extra years to provide you a superior level of care, in average. Not only that, but because we chose to do this as our life profession and fulfillment mechanism.

We do this because we want to be great at it an get fulfillment to make you happy. And only this. There’s no crowns, bridges or veneers. Just giving you the absolute best smile and orthodontic outcome. We do not want to just take more money from you.

If you are a good candidate for Invisalign, the orthodontist will take digital impressions of your teeth using a 3D scanner, or just traditional impressions. Invisalign banned all scanners, even the ones with superior technology, to try to monopolize the market, and force orthodontists to buy only their scanner, citing technical difficulties. Most other companies did not this, so what does it tell?.

So don’t think that an orthodontist who doesn’t own an iTero scanner is worse than one that does, because its not necessarily better than others in the market. It just means he thinks the value is not there. Before scanners existed, impressions were taken for everyone for Invisalign. that drives the Invisalign cost up unless you surrender to their monopoly attempt, where they still make more money but YOU pay for it in the end.

It’s all a cost or benefit ratio for everyone, and you have to decide what variables matter more to you and the safety of your investment. These impressions will be used to create a custom treatment plan and a series of aligners that will gradually shift your teeth into the desired position. And an orthodontist will make sure it makes sense to the best of his knowledge.

You will wear each set of aligners for about two weeks before switching to the next set. The number of aligners needed will depend on the severity of your case and the treatment plan created by your orthodontist.

What is the Average Cost of Invisalign Treatment in Austin for Orthodontists and Dentists?

The average cost of Invisalign in Austin can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of your case, the length of treatment, and the orthodontist’s experience and location.

According to the Invisalign website, the national average cost for Invisalign treatment is between $3,000 and $8,000. From my experience, orthodontists tend to charge in average around $1000 more than a general dentist for clear aligner treatment.

Does Insurance Cover Invisalign?

Great question. It’s really hard to answer because yes and no and the answers at the same time. Let me explain.

insurance, family, protection
Cost of Invisalign or Training of the Dentist or Orthodontist: What to Prioritize and How to Know if You are Truly Getting a Good Deal? 29

If you call an orthodontic office and ask if they accept your insurance and for the cost of Invisalign, I’d say there’s an 85% chance they will say yes but you have to provide your insurance info and come in for a free consultation. Saving time and sending pictures or radiographs is a bad idea. We want your money, but do not need it. If a patient doesn’t understand we want the best for them and they don’t know what they don’t know, we aren’t a good fit. We are the educators. We want the best for you. Meet providers and choose one you trust. Don’t take shortcuts for your own health.

Don’t overvalue Insurance Coverage

If your employer doesn’t pay for half of your insurance you’ll end up paying more than paying orthodontic treatment directly to the orthodontist. THink about it, they are a middle man. They make money on people that skip on treatment not that want treatment. We will guide you to your best financial deal and make recommendations to deal with your HR and insurance company FREE of charge for your best savings. We just want you to smile at us at the end.

Will you ask if they are in network with your insurance? Most likely no, because most patients don’t know what that means. Does insurance cover Invisalign specifically? No. If a provider is in network with your insurance, they have a negotiated contracted rate for how much they can charge you for braces. Invisalign, clear braces, or whatever upgrades are typically extra.

That’s why it’s so complicated for a provider to give you a price. It’s also complicated for you to evaluate value, because established offices that are busy do not need to be in network with insurances and subject themselves to a negotiated fee to be listed in their directory, which, by the way, patients rarely use.

This monthly payment plan is a lot more useful to start-up practices that are looking for patients to cover their costs than established practices. They will accept your insurance but you’ll end up paying more most of the time. We accept most insurance plans except HMO (they pay miserably and force us to decrease quality of care) and many insurance plans that are PPO except for GEHA because we strongly believe soon they will be sued for their unfair business practices.

Does that mean you have to pay more for quality with the cost of Invisalign trays? No. Look for an established qualified and experienced orthodontist that needs to fill his schedule. That’s where you’ll get the best value.

Choose a Board-Certified Orthodontist for your Invisalign treatment or clear aligner treatment, preferably one that passed the exam with clinical cases. Ask them about it and to show their board cases to have an idea about the results they are able to deliver.

Until recently, the American Board of Orthodontics used to require orthodontists to prove that they were able to treat high to medium difficulty cases to excellence to other board-certified peers. Recently, that requirement has been reduced to a written exam. Before this, less than 20% of orthodontists were board certified. You’d think after requiring a written exam to prove excellence, 100% would be, right? No. A little over 60% are now board certified, but not the same way.

Factors That Can Affect the Cost of Invisalign

Several factors can affect the overall cost of Invisalign treatment in Austin. These include:

  • The complexity of your case: The more severe your orthodontic issues are, the more clear aligners you will need, which can increase the overall cost of Invisalign.
  • The length of treatment: The longer you need to wear Invisalign, the more aligners you will need, which can increase the cost of Invisalign.
  • The orthodontist’s experience and location: Orthodontists with more experience and those located in larger cities may charge more for Invisalign treatment.
  • For Most Dental insurance plans: where the orthodontist in in network (typically lower price) or just accepts your insurance (larger price typically) or doesn’t take it at all. We don’t take what we deem unethical insurance companies such as GEHA, because if they don’t pay for it you are resposible. And they typically offer large benefits just to deny you later, and screw either you or the orthodontist. Stay away from GEHA: that is our opinion and we have concrete evidence to support their unjust practices.
  • Flexible spending account or health savings account to assist in tax savings.

Additional Costs to Consider

In addition to the cost of the Invisalign treatment itself, there may be additional costs to consider when choosing Invisalign Providers. These can include:

Initial consultation fee: Some orthodontists may charge a fee for the initial consultation to evaluate your case and determine if Invisalign is the right treatment for you. We don’t do that and most don’t. We don’t charge your dental insurance either. These are courtesies so be grateful for them. However, pay attention to how much time the actual orthodontist spends time evaluating you or they are cheating and putting a non dental trained person without any dental degree to discuss your need. Huge red flag. Stay away. Ask questions about everything, especially dental insurance which is very confusing and in my experience where I have seen patients getting cheated over. Know your rights and communicate with your insurance company to confirm your orthodontist (or whoever staff is selling you the case) is being honest with you. This is huge.

dentist, woman, smile check

Don’t abuse your orthodontist time. Most ethical orthodontists will give you 15-30 min of their time. In Limestone Hills Orthodontics I am committed you to provide you at least 30 min of my time, more if I see the case is complex but no more if I see the patient is not doing their due diligence. Do your own research instead of asking questions over and over. We have a duty to our other patients. You are special, but our other patients are as well. Do your diligence and dont take advantage of someone that is doing their best for you. That’s a good start for a relationship with your provider. Reschedule for more questions if needed.

Retainers: After completing Invisalign treatment, you will need to wear retainers to maintain your new smile. These can be an additional cost.

Insurance coverage: Many dental insurance plans cover Invisalign clear aligners treatment. It is important to check with your insurance provider to see if you have coverage.

Payment plans: Many orthodontists offer payment plans to help make the cost of Invisalign treatments more manageable. Be sure to ask about payment options during your consultation.

How to Find the Best Invisalign Provider in Austin

When it comes to Invisalign treatment, it is important to find a qualified and experienced provider. Here are some tips for finding the best Invisalign or clear aligners provider in Austin:

  • Ask for recommendations: Ask friends, family, or your regular dentist for recommendations for an orthodontist who offers Invisalign treatment.
  • Research online: Look for reviews and ratings of orthodontists in your area who offer Invisalign treatment. Limestone Hills Orthodontics- Dr. Rodrigo F. Viecilli, DDS, PhD
  • Check for Invisalign certification: Make sure the orthodontist you choose is certified by Invisalign to provide treatment. This doesn’t mean much compared to American Board of Orthoodontics certification. The effort to become board certified is at least 100x less than Invisalign certified. And general dentists aren’t even eligible.
  • Schedule consultations: Schedule consultations with a few different orthodontists to compare costs and treatment plans.
  • Ask questions: During your consultation, be sure to ask any questions you may have about the treatment process, costs, and payment options.
  • Make sure to take advantage of your flexible spending account or health savings account before making your final payment option decision to optimize your savings. Most orthodontists have bills too and will give you a discount for paying in full if you have funds available. You can save up to 10% depending on your income.

Real-World Examples of Invisalign Costs in Austin

To give you a better idea of the average Invisalign cost in Austin, here are some real-world examples from orthodontists in the area around Limestone Hills Orthodontics that offer some dental insurance coverage for Invisalign (the coverage can be used to discount from the cost of Invisalign treatment):

  • Orthodontist Office 1: This orthodontist offers Invisalign treatment for $5,500, which includes all appointments, retainers, and a tooth whitening treatment.
  • Orthodontist Office 2: This orthodontist offers Invisalign treatment for $5,000 to $6,000, depending on the complexity of the case.
  • Orthodontist Office 3: This orthodontist offers Invisalign treatment for $5,500 to $6,500, depending on the length of treatment.
  • Limestone Hills Orthodontics: we offer Invisalign at approximately the same range, or even less depending on available sales and promotions, but also generic clear aligners (most Invisalign patents fell 2 years ago) that can cost up to $800 less. We are a developer and consultant for the company to optimize their systems, offered only to orthodontists.

Conclusion

Invisalign is a popular and effective option for straightening teeth and improving smiles. The average cost of Invisalign treatment in Austin can vary depending on several factors, and dental insurance, but it is generally in line with the national average.

When considering Invisalign treatment or dental office, it is important to find a qualified and experienced provider. By doing your research and asking the right questions, you can find the best Invisalign provider or dental practice in Austin for your needs and budget.

If you are interested in Invisalign treatment, schedule a consultation with an orthodontist in Austin to discuss your options and get an accurate cost estimate for your specific case. With Invisalign, you can achieve the smile you’ve always wanted without the hassle and discomfort of wearing braces or traditional metal braces.

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You’ll love our beautifully relaxing office almost as much as you’ll love your final results. Experience just how relaxing the care of a top contender for best orthodontist in Austin can be — make a telephone call or schedule your free consultation directly on our website to get started.

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