Clear aligners are a popular teeth straightening alternative to traditional braces. There are many clear aligners on the market, including Invisalign®, that use plastic trays to help straighten teeth. The question is—does dental insurance cover clear aligners like Invisalign?
Let’s get this straightened out.
Clear aligners are plastic trays, or molds, that fit over your teeth and straighten them over time. To begin treatment, your dentist or orthodontist takes computer-generated images and impressions of your mouth. Once they understand the current position of your teeth, they create a plan to straighten your teeth.
The plan uses a series of trays to force your teeth a little straighter each time you change to a new mold. Typically, you wear a mold for 2 weeks then start another mold until you reach your final goal. Aligners are generally worn for 22 hours a day, except when removed for eating and cleaning.
Traditional braces, or metal braces, are a treatment system made of arch wires and brackets. The brackets are bonded to the teeth with dental cement and a wire is strung through the brackets on the top and bottom teeth. Braces put constant pressure on teeth to change their position, and orthodontic adjustments (tightening the wires, etc.) are made every 2–4 weeks until you reach your alignment goal.
Here are some potential advantages of clear aligners vs. traditional braces:
It depends on your dental insurance plan. Some plans may cover Invisalign treatment the same way they cover other orthodontic treatment —they pay for a certain percentage or a certain dollar amount. To find out if you’re covered, contact your dental insurance provider and ask about your orthodontic benefits.
The cost of Invisalign treatment can range from $1,800–$9,500.1 The total cost depends on several factors, including:
- condition of your teeth
- length of the treatment
- numbers of aligners needed
- experience of the dentist
Some insurance plans don’t cover clear aligners because they consider it a cosmetic procedure, not a medical procedure. Cosmetic means the procedure is done for beautification purposes only. If Invisalign isn’t covered by your insurance, you pay 100% of the costs.