Disclaimer: Closure of SmileDirect Club
Please be aware that SmileDirect Club has ceased operations. This closure may affect individuals who were considering or using their services. The Dentistry Club is not affiliated with SmileDirect Club and cannot offer guidance or assistance regarding their closure. For more information, please contact SmileDirect Club directly.
Many adults looking to straighten teeth opt for Invisalign. In fact, it’s been the country’s go-to orthodontic treatment for over 20 years, where it’s provided 10+ million patients with life-changing smiles from Los Angeles to New York. Yet while Invisalign continues to deliver consistent results, the Invisalign cost can vary greatly depending on where you reside.
Take New York, for example. The state itself differs geographically from the peace and serenity of Upstate New York through to the hustle and bustle of Downtown Manhattan and while the scenery and way of life varies, so too does the cost of Invisalign.
Typically you can expect to pay somewhere between $4000 and $8000 for Invisalign treatment in New York State and while that’s a hefty price swing, where you fall between those price points depends upon factors like the complexity of your treatment and where you live.
So, while it might seem that we’re sitting on the fence when it comes to nailing down the Invisalign cost, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! By the end of this guide, you’ll have a better idea of what you can expect to pay for Invisalign treatment in New York. So, sit back, relax, and read on.
What is Invisalign – A Quick History
For those of you looking into teeth straightening options for the first time, you may be a little unsure about wh at Invisalign is. To put it simply, Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that straightens teeth using a series of removable aligners (known as trays). But how did it all start?
In the mid 1990’s, a young Stamford University student Zia Chishti was undergoing orthodontic treatment. During treatment he endured many of the inconveniences that come with wearing fixed ‘bracket-and-wire’ style braces for 24 hours a day. Chishti felt that there had to be a better way and it came to him when he was given his retainer after treatment had finished. He wondered if teeth could be straightened using a series or plastic removable retainers, rather than fixed braces. With that thought, he teamed up with Kelsey Wirth another Stamford student and in 1997, started to work on the development of their product – Invisalign.
Now called Align Technology, the team already had access to Stamford’s CAD/CAM 3D modelling and printing equipment and began to develop mock-ups of what the aligners would look like. At the same time, they worked on a software program that could create a model of a person’s current bite, then simulate what that bite would look like after treatment, and the stages in between. They used this as a basis to custom -design each aligner. Finally, after one year of product development, it was approved by the FDA in 1998.
At first, acceptance was slow, but as time progressed, dentists and patients alike found that Invisalign was effective, reliable and safe. By 2004, 175,000 people had success with Invisalign and by 2012, that figure had grown to over 2 million. In the 4th quarter of 2019, Invisalign announced their 8 millionth customer and by last year ( 2021), that figure had grown to over 10 million.
In the early years, Invisalign had no competition due to a series of water-tight patents but in 2019 many of those patents lapsed opening the door for other companies to introduce their own brand of clear aligners.
How Invisalign Straightens Teeth And How It Differs From Traditional Braces
One of the most significant advantages of clear aligner therapy is that it is so different from conventional braces treatment that we know. Here’s a comparison guide:
|Brackets and wire
|Metal or ceramic
|Noticeable in the mouth
As you can see from the above guide, there are noticeable variations between conventional braces and Invisalign clear aligners. Traditional braces move teeth using a series of brackets and arch-wires. The arch-wires are threaded through the brackets, which are, in turn, stuck to the front of the teeth.
When the wires are tightened, they apply pressure to the teeth forcing them to move in a specific direction. One appliance is worn for the whole duration of the treatment.
Alternatively, Invisalign treatment is a multi-step, multi-stage process involving anything from 12-40+ custom-designed aligners depending upon the complexity of your treatment. Rather than using specific hand-made adjustments to shift teeth, Invisalign cleverly harnesses the natural moving forces that already occur in the mouth. Here is how the process works.
Each aligner is designed to move the teeth incrementally – typically just 0.25 – 0.3 mm. It does this by capturing the forces of tension and compression. When an aligner is first worn over the teeth, it feels very tight. This is because it’s been cleverly designed to fit the first incremental movement – not the position your teeth are currently in now. During the first 3 days, the aligner’s shape gently forces the periodontal ligament (the fibrous elastic component that anchors the tooth to the jawbone) to move. This, in turn, triggers cellular movement at bone level. Because it can take up to two weeks for enough bone to move and attach the tooth into its new current position, patients will typically wear each aligner for this amount of time.
After two weeks is up, the first aligner is discarded, the new aligner is worn, and the process starts all over again.
Eventually, when the final aligner is worn, the patient will have straighter, healthier teeth.
Availability of Invisalign in New York State – An Overview
There’s no getting away from the fact that New York has a high cost of living – especially if you live in the city itself. And while Invisalign costs vary, all this adds up to more expensive treatment. The upshot is that New York State has a ton of dentists and orthodontists who currently offer Invisalign treatment. In fact, according to Invisalign’s Find A Doctor Tool, there are over 500 certified Invisalign providers within the city itself. This allows you to consult multiple dentists to get the best price.
Another factor that may help keep Invisalign cost down is that New York State borders six other states, including New Jersey, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. If you reside near state lines, it might be possible to seek out treatment in neighboring states where you may be able to save yourself around 20%
Of course, NY state also borders Canada, so you might consider traveling north of the border to seek out cheaper orthodontic treatment. Prices for Invisalign treatment in Canada are roughly the equivalent of the US national average, so they come in around $3000 -$5000, so again, there may be a small saving to be had if you live close to the border.
The other factor to bear in mind regarding costs is taxes. The average rate of General Service Tax (GST) in NY state is 4%, although, in some areas, this can be as much as 8.875%
Cost Range of Invisalign in the NY State – Factors to Take Into Consideration
While factors like the treatment complexity dictate higher or lower prices across the board, there are other factors to consider for people living in NY State in particular.
Not only does Invisalign cost differ from state to state, but it also differs depending upon your location within the state. As you can imagine, urban areas have a higher cost of living, and therefore rent and utilities will be higher. For example, the cost of renting in the city is around 36% more expensive than the same type of premises in Albany. As such, a dentist who has premises in, say, Manhattan or Brooklyn has higher rental outgoings and is likely to need to pass on this cost to the patient.
The same applies to those living in Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester. These cities in upstate NY will have a much lower cost of living. In fact, some sources suggest that it’s lower than the national average.
According to Worlds Population review, New York State is the 4th most populous state after California, Texas, and Florida, with 19.2 million people calling it home. So, where there are people, there are orthodontists and dentists. When you have just under 15,000 licensed dentists in New York State, it means competition and, with that, the ability for people to shop around. A high concentration of Invisalign providers can mean lower prices.
Other factors that influence Invisalign cost
Other factors that influence how much you will pay for Invisalign treatment include the level of specialism. Okay, so this isn’t specific to NY State per se, but it will make a difference to the end result.
Orthodontists, for example, specialize in treating irregularities of the teeth and jaw, including tooth movement. Then you have general dentists who have large portfolios of completed Invisalign cases and are registered as Platinum or Diamond providers. Typically specialist orthodontists or Invisalign top-tier providers will charge more money than a general dentist who has just started offering Invisalign to their patients. So, in some cases, you may need to decide between experience and cost.
Top tip – To find out how much experience an Invisalign provider has, try searching for providers on Invisalign’s website. They will show you the tier levels of each provider in your area.
Invisalign Alternatives – How To Get Affordable Aligner Treatment in New York
Early on in this guide, we eluded to the fact that other companies also provide clear aligner treatment that may be more affordable. Many of these companies are now well-established or are start-ups that have the technology and set up to offer cheaper Invisalign alternatives. Some also do things a little differently to Invisalign.
To avoid confusion, there are, in essence, 3 basic models for supplying clear aligners. They are:
- Dentist/Orthodontist led in-office aligners (like Invisalign)
- Store-based aligner companies (CandidCo)
- At-home aligner services (Byte)
So what’s the difference?
As the name suggests, with Invisalign, a patient would only receive treatment by going directly through their local Invisalign dentist/orthodontist. This was the only way to receive clear aligner treatment until recently.
Orthodontists or dentists can also support store-based aligner companies, but instead of visiting a local dental office, interested parties would visit a local store and undergo a check-up by a clinician to see if they are eligible.
Finally, home-based aligner services are based purely online, which means that every aspect of treatment is carried out in the comfort of your own home. This includes registration, impression-taking, and even virtual check-ins.
Some Invisalign alternatives, however, are a hybrid of these three options:
Here are three of the best Invisalign alternatives
Founded in 2014 and one of the first companies to offer at home clear aligner treatment, SmileDirect Club continues to be one of the most popular options. Having treated over a million patients to date, patients can be assured that Smile-Direct Club is familiar with a wide variety of conditions, questions, and complications.
Moreover, SmileDirect has 300 SmileShops available across the U.S. that patients can visit to get their teeth scanned and be approved for treatment unlike many other providers that require patients to mail in an impression of their teeth – which takes longer to process. Their Partner Network also includes over 1,000 dentists, so patients can schedule a consultation in a dentist’s office to get their treatment started if they prefer.
Treatment costs $1950 or $89 per month regardless of whether you opt for standard aligners worn 22 hours a day (averaging 4-6 months) or Nighttime Aligners™ worn for 10 continuous hours (treatment time of 10 months). Patients can monitor their treatment through a mobile app or schedule virtual check-ins with a dental professional. SmileDirect also offers guaranteed finance for treatment over a 24-month period through Smilepay with no need for a credit check. Check out their website here.
On the flip-side, there is an additional charge of $99 for retainers following treatment, whereas competitors like Byte include the first set of after-care retainers for free. Furthermore, customer support can be a little hit and miss with complaints relating to inconsistent communication when problems arise during treatment and shipping delays.
Byte is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) aligner company that bases itself online. Because they have no physical offices and all the costs that go with that, Byte is considerably cheaper than Invisalign. Patients can purchase treatment for as little as $82 per month.
Byte provides both day and night aligners, and consumers can either pay monthly as above or make a one-time payment of $1895.00 for daytime aligners and $2295.00 for nighttime aligners. To apply, simply visit the Byte website and follow the instructions. Byte is known for excellent customer service and fast orthodontist-led treatments, helping with mild to moderate cases in as little as 3 months. Byte also offers a Byte-For-Life guarantee.
Perhaps the only disadvantages are that they are not a hugely established company with the longevity of Invisalign but do have a growing portfolio of successful cases. Also, Byte aligners cannot treat the exact scope of conditions that Invisalign can. That is, in part, why Invisalign treatment costs more.
As far as Invisalign alternatives go, AlignerCo is by far the cheapest. Anyone in New York State looking for affordable aligner treatment will be pleasantly surprised when they see that treatment costs just $895.00. Alternatively, patients can pay monthly for a fee of just $81.00 using their SmileFlex monthly planning.
Like Byte. AlignerCo operates online, so everything from candidacy checks to impression taking and regular check-ins will need to be done online. That said, they have good customer service feedback and use both orthodontists and general dentists to oversee treatment.
Candid started life as an online aligner company but transitioned to a store-based/dentist-led hybrid model in 2018 when they opened their first Candid Studio in the Chelsea neighborhood, New York. Since then, they have gone on to open a further 26 stores at varying locations across the US, with 25% of these located in New York. Patients will need to visit a Candid doctor in-store to undergo an initial scan. After that, Candid’s CandidMonitoring ™ system allows patients to check-in virtually for reviews. Candid aligners typically cost 30% less than Invisalign, with prices averaging $3500.
On the flip side, Candid’s treatment scope is limited compared to Invisalign. That said, if you’re looking for mild to moderate cosmetic tooth movement, Candid may well be the right choice for you. Check out their website here.
Six Month Smiles
Six Month Smiles is an in-office only treatment that unlike Invisalign offers both clear aligners and clear braces. Like its name suggests most patients finish their treatment within six months, making it one of the fastest in-office orthodontic treatments. Typically, Six Month Smiles has a lower cost than Invisalign and ceramic braces but is more expensive than at-home aligners like SmileDirect Club and Byte.
Unlike at-home aligner companies, patients aren’t assigned a random dentist. Instead, they get to choose the dentist that oversees and manages their treatment.
Six Month Smiles braces are placed only on the visible teeth in the smile line and may be more comfortable than traditional metal braces. However, while they are cheaper and faster than conventional braces, the treatment is not as comprehensive. Six Month Smiles is an effective treatment for those with minor issues looking to create a more attractive looking smile but those patients with severe misalignments or bite issues may be better choosing Invisalign.
Your dentist can also customise treatment by mixing and matching Six Month Smiles clear aligners and clear braces. For example, clear aligners on the top teeth and clear braces on the bottom teeth giving a more discreet look than braces alone.
Six Month Smiles clear aligners have proven safe and effective and are similar to most other in-office treatments. Patients have to attend regular progress appointments with their dentist but this also gives them an opportunity to discuss any concerns in person, enabling the dentist to modify their treatment when necessary.
The average cost of Six Month Smiles treatment is between $3500 and $5000.
The downside of Six Month Smiles is that it was created for use by general dentists not orthodontists which means the treatment may be less effective. While the reviews are mostly positive, sometimes the results are not as dramatic or comprehensive than patients had initially hoped for.
Clear Correct is probably the most well-known Invisalign alternative and Invisalign’s largest in-office competitor. Just like Invisalign, treatment is administered by a dentist or orthodontist in a dental office setting. In fact, much of Clear Correct’s processes are very similar to Invisalign. The main advantage they have over Invisalign is that they are cheaper because the company charge dentists/orthodontists less for lab fees. This enables clinical professionals to pass savings directly on to the patient. Clear Correct’s prices start at around $3000 and go up to about $6000 depending upon the complexity of a patient’s treatment needs.
Although NewSmile ® is the new kid on the block, they’re certainly a good contender for those seeking at-home aligner treatment. Not only are their prices super-low but their alignments are one of the fastest in the industry, coming in at a close second place to Byte.
NewSmile is one of the most affordable aligner plans on the market priced at just $1395 for standard aligners and $1495 for night time aligners. With frequent discounts available, patients can benefit from even lower prices than we have quoted here. You’ll be pleased to know that the price includes the impression kit, retainers, 3 months of whitening products, and a NewSmile Monitoring App at no extra charge. Several competing brands charge extra for some of all of these items. Patients can also benefit from a payment plan that doesn’t require a credit check.
On the downside, NewSmile has no retail locations, so patients will have to take their own impressions at home and, because they are a newcomer, there’s not as much customer feedback as for other aligner brands.
To apply simply visit the website and answer a few questions to see if you’re a good fit.
Invisalign costs in New York – Summing Up
As you can see, finding out how much Invisalign costs isn’t as straightforward as providing a one-size-fits-all price for everyone. Instead, many other factors can affect the price, including treatment complexity, whether you opt for an Invisalign alternative, and even where in New York State you live.
Hopefully, we’ve given you all the information you need to better evaluate the costs and make an informed dental decision. Of course, if you love Invisalign but are concerned about the price, then it’s worth shopping around. Alternatively, if you aren’t bothered about the brand but would like reliable teeth straightening options that fall into a cheaper budget, there are various other options available.
In short, you don’t have to settle for a mouth full of metal when you can have discreet clear aligner treatment. Instead, there is an option for every budget, case type, and need. It’s just a matter of finding it!