How to Straighten Your Teeth for Less Money.

08_how-to-straighten-your-teeth-for-less
reviewer-dr-jay-khorsandi-dds.jpg
Clinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
Last Modified:

Table of Contents

  1. Costs
  2. Who Needs Affordable Teeth Straightening?
  3. Benefits of Aligners
  4. When Are Braces Necessary?
  5. Ways to Pay
  6. Frequently Asked Questions
  7. References

A traditional tooth-straightening program can easily cost $5,000 to $10,000. Straighten your teeth for less money by choosing aligners. You'll get the smile you always wanted at a fraction of the cost. 

It pays to research your options carefully. Some aligner companies are more expensive, don't offer perks (like tooth whitening), or both. 

Method

Cost

Perks included

Traditional braces

$3,000 to $6,000

Varies per provider

Lingual braces

$8,000 to $10,000

Varies per provider

Byte aligners

$1,999 or $70/month

Tooth whitening,

tray seaters

& vibrating tool

Invisalign aligners

$3,000 to $8,000

Varies per provider

SmileDirectClub aligners

$2,050 or $89/month

Tooth whitening

ALIGNERCO aligners

$1,145 or $79/month

Nothing

Teeth gaps

Yes

Yes, if mild to moderate

Crooked teeth

Yes

Yes, if mild to moderate

Costs of Different Teeth Straightening Methods 

Performing a head-to-head comparison can help you understand which aligner product can fit your budget. We've done some of the homework for you. 

Traditional Braces

Cost: $3,000 to $6,000

Perks included: Varies per provider 

Orthodontists apply brackets and wires to your teeth. Periodic visits involve removing those wires and swapping them out for new versions. 

High costs are due, in part, to this in-person visit requirement. Your team must keep the office in good working order, and those fees are passed down to customers. 

Lingual Braces

Cost: $8,000 to $10,000

Perks included: Varies per provider 

Lingual braces also require in-person tightening appointments. But your dental team needs to spend more time with you. 

Lingual braces sit behind your teeth, so manipulating them is difficult. Since your team needs more time to manage your care, you will pay more. 

Byte Aligners 

Cost: $1,999 or $70/month 

Perks included: tooth whitening, aligner-seating chewies, and vibrating aligner tool

Improve your smile from anywhere with telemedicine. Submit an impression kit, and work with a team through digital check-ins performed in a secure portal. 

You won't pay extra for a fancy office. And you'll have a talented team working on your smile. 

Invisalign Aligners 

Cost: $3,000 to $8,000

Perks included: Varies per provider 

Straighten your teeth with clear, comfortable aligner trays. But prepare to pay more with Invisalign. 

You must visit a dental professional in person for checkups and new trays, and those visits are expensive. Offices can also charge as much as they'd like, and some have a high price tag. 

SmileDirectClub Aligners

Cost: $2,050 or $89 per month 

Perks included: tooth whitening kit 

Order an impression kit for at-home assessments, or book an appointment for free impressions at participating SmileShops. Check in with dental health professionals via telemedicine. 

ALIGNERCO Aligners 

Cost: $1,145 or $79 per month 

Perks included: none 

Connect with professionals via telemedicine from start to finish. You'll pay less for your aligners than you will when connecting with other companies, but you'll also get fewer perks in return.

Who Needs Affordable Teeth Straightening?

Crooked teeth can lead to physical and psychological discomfort. Unfortunately, few insurance companies will pay for tooth straightening in full. 

Some companies consider tooth straightening a cosmetic procedure. They will never pay for these procedures, as they think people want them only to look better. If you have a policy like this, you may need affordable options to get the smile you want. 

And some people don’t have dental health coverage at all. If you’re one of them, affordable teeth straightening is a must for you, as you’re responsible for every cent you charge in treatment.

Benefits of Aligners 

Saving money is a clear benefit of using aligners to straighten your teeth. You'll pay much less with clear aligners than you will if you use fixed appliances like braces. But there are other perks to consider too. 

Maintain Your Oral Health

It's difficult to brush your teeth with braces. And researchers say bacteria tend to collect and multiply around the brackets. You could end up with cavities, sore gums, or both after wearing braces for months.

Aligners are removable, so you can take out your trays to brush and floss. Your dentist can clean your teeth properly too. 

Eat (& Bite) Normally

Traditional braces sit on the front of your teeth, making it tough for you to bite into corn on the cob or crunchy sandwiches. Lingual braces sit behind your teeth, but they can cut up your tongue and make manipulating food like rice very hard. 

Since aligners are removable, you can take them out when you eat and drink. You'll snack just as you would if you weren't straightening your teeth. 

Experience less pain

Brackets and wires can cut and scrape the inside of your mouth, and their constant pressure can be excruciating. Researchers say aligners are less painful. You may be uncomfortable when adjusting to new trays, but you won't experience consistent oral damage.

When Braces May be Necessary 

While aligners are less expensive and more comfortable, they're not right for everyone. If you have severe oral health issues, braces might be a better option.

For example, some people have severely misaligned jaws. They need surgery followed by orthodontic care. People like this need more help than a typical aligner can provide. 

If your oral health conditions are more than moderately severe, braces might be a better option.

How to Pay for Teeth Straightening 

People who need to improve their smiles have several options that can lower costs. 

You can consider the following:

  • Insurance: Many companies will help you tap into dental insurance benefits. Some will accept payments directly, and others can help you fill out reimbursement paperwork.

  • Health savings accounts (HSA): Americans have about $100 billion in HSAs. Most have strict rules about the sorts of things you can pay for with an HSA, but aligners are often covered. 

  • Financing: Several of the companies we've mentioned will finance the cost, so you don't have to pay the full amount all at once.

Explore your options, and you're bound to find something that's right for you.

Less Expensive Teeth Straightening FAQs

Straightening your teeth with traditional braces can cost $6,000 or even more. Aligner companies that use telemedicine techniques can help you save money while you get the smile you always wanted.

Aligners use molded plastic trays that wrap around your teeth and gently nudge them into the proper positions. You can fix mild-to-moderate dental issues with aligners and skip braces altogether.

You will need a dental professional to guide your path to straighter teeth. There are no safe, DIY methods available. But aligners give you plenty of control. You'll work with a dental professional, but you'll swap out trays yourself at home.

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.