What's the Cheapest Way to Straighten Your Teeth?

What's the Cheapest Way to Straighten Your Teeth?
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Table of Contents

  1. All-Day Byte Aligners
  2. Night-Only Byte Aligners
  3. Metal Braces
  4. Invisalign
  5. Ceramic Braces
  6. Lingual Braces
  7. Retainers
  8. Financing Options
  9. Risking Your Health
  10. Benefits of Using Aligners
  11. References

The cheapest way to straighten your teeth is generally with at-home aligners. These typically cost $2,000 to $5,000, but some options, like Byte, cost as little as $1,999.

Plenty of low-cost options exist that can straighten your teeth and highlight your smile. But you must choose carefully, as some methods aren't right for everyone, and others can leave you with residual damage.

Braces, aligners, and retainers could all help to straighten your teeth, but the prices vary significantly from one product to another.

We'll walk through all of your teeth straightening options here, so you can make the decision that's right for your mouth.

cost of teeth straightening

All-Day Byte Aligners: $1,999

Keep your teeth in treatment during the majority of your day and night. Take the aligner trays out while you’re cleaning or caring for your oral health, but wear the trays at all other times. 

We’ve honed and refined this model to keep costs as low as possible. Prepare to pay $1,999 for this version of aligners.

Get Started With Byte

Night-Only Byte Aligners: $2,399

We utilize telemedicine at Byte to keep costs low. Our customers still have exceptional care from trained dental professionals. But we skip the overhead associated with in-person visits. Our night-only teeth aligners are one product line we offer.

Wear your aligners for at least 10 continuous hours, and let your teeth feel free during the day. This option is best for people with mildly crooked teeth. We send you plenty of aligners, so you can stay on track with your treatment. Prepare to pay $2,399 for Byte at Night™.

Braces, aligners, and retainers could all help to straighten your teeth, but the prices vary significantly from one product to another

Metal Braces: $4,500

Let a medical professional glue metal brackets to the front of your teeth and connect them with wires. People have used this tooth-straightening method for years, and while it's unsightly and uncomfortable, it can be remarkably effective. 

People who opt for braces often have significant dental health problems, such as these:

  • Missing teeth: Neighboring molars move into the gaps left behind, and teams must pull these wanderers back into position.
  • Densely crowded teeth: The mouth doesn't have enough space for all of the teeth involved. Some are pulled, and the rest are pushed into the right spots.
  • Injuries: A blow severed some teeth at the roots, or some teeth are loose due to an underlying jaw problem.

Metal braces can fix these issues, but orthodontists must supervise the work very carefully. Each appointment adds to your final bill. Prepare to pay $4,500 for traditional braces.

Invisalign: $5,500

Slide plastic trays over your teeth to straighten them, and visit your dentist often for checkups and new trays. That's the treatment model for Invisalign. While it's effective, it can also be expensive.

Dentists and orthodontists have overhead charges. They must keep their offices clean and staffed, and they must stock products for their visitors. Choose Invisalign, and all of those costs are tacked onto your treatment plan. Prepare to pay about $5,500 for Invisalign.

Ceramic Braces: $6,000

You don't want people to see your metal braces, but you're not prepared to pay the high fees associated with a lingual application. Ceramic braces could be a good choice.

Your dentist uses brackets that are white, just like your teeth. Wires connect the brackets and pull your smile into the right shape. The mechanism is the same, whether you choose metal or ceramics. But the look of your mouth during treatment is different.

Prepare to pay about $6,000 for ceramic braces. And you might pay more if your delicate brackets are damaged by these things:

  • Food: Hard candies, crispy chips, and sticky gum can all loosen your brackets, even causing them to come off your teeth.
  • Drinks: Ice can bump against your brackets and damage them.
  • Injuries: If you play sports and an errant ball or elbow hits your mouth, your braces could take the hit and break.

Anytime your team must fix your braces, you must pay. And since ceramic is less durable than metal, repairs are more common with this type of application.

Lingual Braces: $9,000

Wires and brackets typically sit on the front of your teeth when you opt for braces. Choose lingual versions instead, and all the hardware will sit on the back of your teeth. No one will see your braces when you smile.

Lingual braces take time to apply, and every appointment takes longer too. All of that extra work adds to your final bill.

Expect to pay about $9,000 for lingual braces. This is one of the most expensive tooth-straightening options out there.

Retainers: $300

You've had braces or aligners before, and you were nothing at all. But it's likely you'll pay about $300 for retainers because most people lose them due to these reasons:

  • Poor storage: If you keep your retainers in sunlight or hot conditions, the plastic could warp or melt.
  • Accidents: Stepping on your retainer could break it, and that could make it unusable.
  • Tooth movement: If you haven't worn your retainer in months or years, you could break it while trying to slide it over your teeth.

Retainers won't work for everyone’s teeth, but if your teeth are only slightly crooked, they might.

Financing Options for Teeth Straightening

Many orthodontist offices and at-home aligner companies offer financing to make the process of paying for treatment easier. Essentially, the cost of your teeth straightening will be spread out over a longer period of time, often in manageable monthly payments. 

You may also be able to use your flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to pay for your orthodontic treatment. In most cases, you can use these accounts to cover eligible orthodontic care.

Don’t Risk Your Health

You want straighter teeth, and you also want to save money. Should you try DIY approaches to save money? It's not usually a good idea. 

For example, some people slip rubber bands on their teeth and tighten them to move their teeth together. This could lead to deep infections, as the bands could ride up your teeth and into your gums. You could end up paying more in restorative dental care than you ever planned to spend.

Some people also look for braces on the black market, and they put them on at home. These aren't medical devices, and they could trigger infections that sit beneath your gums and necessitate medical care.

Benefits of Using Aligners to Straighten your Teeth

While at-home aligners are often the cheapest option for correcting a mild or moderate orthodontic issue, the benefits that aligners offer go far beyond affordability. These are other advantages:

  • Fast results: Many top aligner providers offer an average treatment time of four to six months.
  • Less noticeable treatment: Aligners are made of clear plastic (or plastic-like) material and slip over teeth, making them virtually invisible.
  • Removable: While braces feature brackets that are cemented onto teeth, clear aligners are taken off to eat and perform daily oral hygiene. They can also be taken off for special events like an interview.
  • Convenience: Some at-home aligners offer virtual doctor-monitored treatment plans from start to finish, meaning you can straighten your teeth without leaving the comfort of your own home.
  • Modern appeal: Some aligner providers utilize cutting-edge technology to make treatment as effective and manageable as possible. Byte, for example, offers an award-winning app that allows users to track aligner progress and interact with clinical and support staff.Plus, each Byte aligner kit comes with a HyperByte device — a high-frequency massage tool. Massage tools like this have been shown to improve aligner performance and comfort30164-4/fulltext#relatedArticles).1


Lessons From Telemedicine for Teledentistry and Tele-Orthodontics. (July 2020). UCLA.

Pricing. Byte. 

Retainers Cost. Costhelper. 

Woman Uses Rubber Bands, Hair Elastics as DIY Braces. (February 2015). ABC News. 

Teeth Straightening: Don't Do It Yourself. (September 2015). University of Utah.

Health Savings vs. Flexible Spending Account: What's the Difference? (June 2021). Investopedia.

Medical References

1 The Effects of Brief Daily Vibration on Clear Aligner Orthodontic Treatment30164-4/fulltext#relatedArticles). (November 2018). Journal of the World Federation of Orthodontists.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.