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Are Clear Aligners An Affordable Alternative to Conventional Braces?

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

Clear Aligners An Affordable Alternative to Conventional Braces

When it comes to treatment options, there are many factors to consider. What system is best for your needs? What treatments does your dentist offer? How much do aligners cost? Is clear aligner treatment expensive? These tend to be some of the most important questions to consider when looking for an alternative solution to traditional metal braces. Like with many things in life, the answer depends on what you’re buying. Since a majority of people who undergo orthodontic treatment only do it once in their life, it's smart to invest in a solution that is more convenient, less painful and requires less treatment time.

In this article, we hope to provide some insights that will be helpful during your orthodontic consultation so that you can make the right treatment choice at a price that works for you.

Benefits of Clear Aligners

In recent years, clear aligners have exploded in popularity, and for good reason. With all the activity on social media, endless selfies and pictures, having the perfect smile has become more of a priority. Able to treat a variety of misalignment issues such as crowding, spacing, overbites, underbites, open bites, crossbites, and more, clear aligners are a discreet alternative to straighten teeth. They work by applying gentle pressure that safely moves teeth incrementally to a more desirable and functional position.

Unlike braces, aligners are designed to be removable, which offer patients an extra measure of freedom that traditional braces lack. That means no food restrictions and maintaining oral hygiene is much easier. Usually only worn for 20 - 22 hours a day, most patients can typically be treated anywhere between 6 - 20 months, depending on the severity of the case. Though clear aligner therapy can be a highly effective treatment for many patients, they may not necessarily be the right choice for treating severe orthodontic issues.

Understand Your Clear Aligner Options

For years, Invisalign was the only product available. Nowadays, there is a myriad of aligner systems, each with their own significant advantages and disadvantages that you should understand. You may have even heard of several brands that sell direct-to-consumer which do not involve doctor visits. Unfortunately, too many patients have failed to achieve the smiles they expected with mail-order products. The science behind moving teeth means you are also moving bone and root structures too, so we highly recommend aligner brands that offer orthodontic supervision to monitor your progress.

Breaking Down the Cost of Clear Aligners

Understandably, one of the main concerns patients have is aligner cost. Certainly not a one-size-fits-all situation (no pun intended), the tricky thing is that each doctor sets their own price based on factors such as location, experience, and the type of practice. Treatment length, complexity, and materials can also impact pricing. While the costs are comparable when you weigh up the pros and cons, the truth is that some clear aligner systems can work out to be slightly more expensive than traditional braces. However, increased accessibility and advancements in innovative dental technology, has lowered the price gap between clear aligners and metal braces to as little as 20%. Despite the higher cost, clear aligners normally require shorter treatment time, and is less painful.

We recommend talking to your dentist directly to get a quote and perhaps compare prices and the different options available to you. If you're putting off treatment because of the cost, your dentist may be able to help you spread the payments out. Many dentists offer dental payment plans that will allow you to pay a deposit up-front, followed by a monthly payment.

"Because aligner pricing is dependant on your specific situation, you'll need to discuss with your provider how much clear aligner treatment would be for you."

Why Direct-To-Consumer Aligners Cost Less

If you decide on an aligner system purely based on cost alone, you can certainly find cheaper alternatives purchasing directly from a brand that eliminates orthodontic visits and supervision. However, this choice also eliminates the possibility of interproximal reduction (IPR) or the use of attachments (small tooth-coloured bumps that help guide forces to the teeth). These techniques provide greater effectiveness and predictability of the overall case, as certain tooth movements are scientifically impossible without attachments. Mail-order aligners also eliminate regular check-ins that would allow an orthodontist to monitor your treatment and make any adjustments if your progress is not going according to plan.

Invest in Yourself

It's easy to see why clear aligners are the perfect alternative to traditional braces. If you’re self-conscious about your appearance, it may be beneficial to invest more in your smile. It may be tempting to take the cheaper route to a straighter smile, but it’s not necessarily the best or safest option. While choosing an aligner brand that requires doctor supervision may cost a little more, having a dental professional monitor the process from consultation to completion and beyond ensures a safer, more consistent outcome, giving you peace of mind. Don't forget, if done right, orthodontic treatment is a one-off investment that will last a lifetime - so invest in yourself and it will be worth every penny.

At OrthoAlign, we believe that everyone deserves a healthy, beautiful smile - and it’s more achievable than you think. Contact one of our OrthoAlign providers today and find out how much clear aligners are for you.


While our blog can answer many of your questions, your smile is unique and each case is different. Find an OrthoAlign Provider in your area to discuss treatment possibilities and receive professional advice and support tailored to you.


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