Invisalign Costs In Singapore: An Orthodontist Tells All (2019)

Invisalign Costs In Singapore: An Orthodontist Tells All (2019) undefined
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One of the most common enquiries I receive is about the cost of Invisalign treatment in Singapore.

This post contains the most up-to-date information you are looking for with regards to the price of Invisalign treatment in 2019, and what factors affect the price. 

Point 8 also summarises all your clear aligner alternatives in Singapore, and how much they cost. 

Also read:

An Orthodontist's Complete Guide To Invisalign In Singapore (2019)

1. How much does Invisalign cost in Singapore?

Price of Invisalign in Singapore and costing breakdown

In Singapore, Invisalign costs range from about $7000 - $9500 in total for treatment by an orthodontist (braces specialist).

Some dental clinics are able to quote lower prices (i.e. in the $4500 to $6000 range) because they do not include pre-treatment, mid-treatment and aftercare expenses, for example:

  • Dental X-Rays
  • Retainers
  • Bite adjustments
  • Sectional braces or auxiliaries to achieve a better bite at the back teeth

Most importantly: If you were quoted a lower price, do ask your dentist if it includes refinement costs to achieve a better treatment result. This may involve changing of attachments and a re-scan or re-impression, followed by a new series of aligners at the end of your original course of treatment.

Ultimately, the actual cost of your Invisalign treatment will depend primarily on your individual case needs.

Simpler cases require fewer aligners, while more complex cases require more aligners, so it may be helpful to get a personalised cost estimate from a few different dentists. In general, Invisalign treatment that takes 1 year will be far less costly than treatment that takes 2 or more years.

2. What accounts for the difference in Invisalign costs?

Orthodontic Treatment Complexity

Your Invisalign treatment options are broadly divided into 4 categories:

  1. Comprehensive
  2. Moderate
  3. Lite
  4. Express

These categories demarcate the number of aligners manufactured for you, and by extension, the laboratory fees that your dentist has to pay to Invisalign. More details can be seen in the table below.

As explained, the main differences in cost are due to the complexity and your case requirements.

If your case requires a lot of tooth movement (ie. more aligners), a Comprehensive treatment package is advisable. If your case requires tooth extractions to create space to correct crowding or protrusion, this will usually result in a longer treatment time and require a comprehensive treatment option.

On the other hand, you may be suitable for a Lite package if you only have minor crowding (Eg. if you had previous braces treatment but your teeth have relapsed).

Invisalign treatment options comparison

 Comprehensive PackageModerate PackageLite PackageExpress Package
Aligners (per arch)As many aligners as needed to reach clinical goal.Up to 26 alignersUp to 14 alignersUp to 7 aligners
Treatment and clinical parameters Moderate to severe crowding/spacing, vertical and AP discrepancies, pre-restorative.Mild to moderate skeletal discrepancies, crowding, spacing, vertical discrepancies, pre-restorative treatment.Class I, mild crowding/spacing, non-extraction, pre-restorative. Treatment of relapse and minor movement.
Additional Aligners Unlimited sets of Additional Aligners can be ordered prior to treatment expiration date.Unlimited sets of Additional Aligner included in the first 2 years after shipment date of primary orders.  Two Additional Aligner sets included, available prior to treatment expiration date.One Additional Aligner set included, available prior to treatment expiration date. 
Treatment expiration 5 years3 years2 years 1 year

Other Invisalign cost factors

Other factors that may increase costs include:

  • Complexity of treatment: Number of refinement adjustments needed. Whenever a dentist/orthodontist has to do a refinement, they may need to remove some or all the attachments bonded to the teeth, and replace these with new attachments. This adds to the cost of the treatment.
  • Pre-treatment and aftercare expenses
  • Overhead costs of the dentist
  • Invisalign lab fees: Clinics who do less cases of Invisalign per year pay more lab fees to Invisalign.

3. Invisalign lab fees that dentists pay are variable

One of the strengths of Align technology (the owner of Invisalign) is its marketing. You may have heard of Invisalign through a radio ad or a Facebook ad. Its product name is almost ubiquitous.

As part of their marketing strategy, Invisalign assigns dentist to 1 of 10 tiers:

  • Bronze (performs least number of Invisalign cases a year)

  • Silver

  • Gold I

  • Gold II

  • Platinum

  • Platinum Elite

  • Diamond

  • Black Diamond

  • Blue Diamond

  • Red Diamond (performs most number of Invisalign cases a year)

Dentists who are in the higher tier are offered a higher discount on the lab fees. This is the company’s strategy to encourage dentists to take up more Invisalign cases per year.

Having said that, Align technology does monitor the price to the consumer. Hence, the overall price range in Singapore remains in the $7,000 - $9,500 range despite the difference in lab fees.

Align technology also tends to increase their lab fees every year for research and development purposes. However, most clinics absorb these price hikes and do not vary their treatment fee from year to year.

4. Express, Lite, Moderate or Full Invisalign treatment? 

As a general guide, each aligner is able to achieve about 0.25mm of tooth movement.

Your dentist/orthodontist will determine which treatment option is best suited to you based on the amount of tooth movement required.

However, virtual planning and actual outcomes are 2 different realms. What happens on the computer screen vs what happens in my patient’s mouth can be quite different.

Occasionally, your teeth do not follow the virtual plan, and more aligners are needed to achieve a better result.

Consequently, most dentists prefer to choose a treatment option that allows for a reasonable degree of error, rather than having to get their patients to pay more for additional aligners down the road.

 

The following section has been added by our editorial team and reviewed by our medical advisory board. We received many enquiries asking about this topic and therefore decided to provide factual information on this.

This section does not reflect the opinions of Dr Priscilla Lu.

5. Should you choose an orthodontist or dentist for Invisalign treatment?

 OrthodontistGeneral Dentist
Four-to-five-year university dentistry training (Bachelor's Degree)YesYes
Three-year full-time university specialist training in orthodontics (Master's Degree)YesNo
Specialises in the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of teeth and jaw malalignmentYesNo
Addresses problems caused by misalignment, i.e. headache, tooth wear etcYesTo a limited extent
Undertakes ongoing training in new orthodontic technology as an orthodontistYes 
Offers general dentistry, such as check-ups, fillings and hygiene Yes
Extracts teeth if necessary Yes
Offers cosmetic dentistry such as veneers and bleaching Yes

 

This is a difficult question to answer for me as it is such a contentious subject.

The importance of working experience and knowledge

Let me draw an analogy outside of the medical and dental realms to describe what I think about this. If we look at Michelin star chefs, several of them are “self-taught”, meaning they have never attended culinary school.

These chefs achieved success by paying their dues in the kitchen while under the mentorship of other chefs. Along the way, they may also have attended shorter cooking courses to improve their skills and knowledge.

A self-taught chef is not going to immediately earn a Michelin star. In order to achieve this level of recognition, they will probably have to attain five or more years of experience in a full-service, high-quality kitchen.

There is a depth of experience and knowledge one needs to acquire to reach a level of competency, even in the culinary world.

The importance of orthodontic training

To be an orthodontist (a specialist in braces), one must undergo an additional 3-year full-time University Masters training programme. [1] [2] 

At the end of the 3-year programme, candidates are assessed based on their competency in performing orthodontic treatment without supervision.

In other words, orthodontists undergo a more structured training programme and rigorous exams, as compared to general dentists who also offer Invisalign treatment.

Is Invisalign treatment by an orthodontist always better than a dentist? 

No. When Invisalign was first founded in 1997, both general dentists and orthodontists had to embrace a new technology and learn new techniques to harness a different mode of moving teeth.

There are general dentists who perform great work. Conversely, some orthodontists who are so well versed in conventional braces treatment that they may not embrace Invisalign treatment as readily.

At the end of the day, it really boils down to finding a sincere doctor who takes a genuine interest in treating you. You must be comfortable with seeing him or her for the next 1-2 years.

If you are still sitting on the fence, it may be helpful to seek a consultation with both a dentist and an orthodontist and select your treatment provider based on your comfort level with the doctor.

6. If Invisalign manufactures my retainers in a lab, why does the dentist I choose make a difference?

A dentist is checking an Invisalign retainer

Invisalign is a laboratory that harnesses 3D technology, as well as their own proprietary software (Clincheck) to manufacture aligners. Invisalign does not diagnose or treat individual cases. How and what to manufacture still comes from your dentist's prescription.

The process begins with a proper diagnosis of your case and customized treatment plan which is the most crucial part of this whole treatment. Your dentist’s treatment plan will then guide the Invisalign technician as to how to virtually position your teeth.

Once the technician has completed the virtual setup of your teeth, he will send the file back to your dentist.

Your dentist will then assess the setup and make the necessary amendments based on his knowledge and understanding of achievable tooth movements with aligners.

On a computer software, you can move teeth anywhere you like. However, only your dentist will be able to know what are the biological limits, and what is feasible.

Invisalign treatment relies heavily on your dentist’s input on how to position the teeth. However, your dentist's work doesn’t end there. Close monitoring of your treatment is required to ensure your teeth are following the virtual plan.

If at any point some teeth are not following the plan, your dentist will have to decide on the course of action needed to get back on track. Hence, it's not unusual for dentists to perform refinement adjustments during Invisalign treatment.

7. Are there any subsidies or discounts for Invisalign treatment in Singapore?

Sales banner

 

Unfortunately, you can't make use of Medisave to pay for Invisalign treatment as it's not considered a surgical procedure. [3]

There are also NO subsidies from the Ministry of Health for braces treatment in government hospitals, tertiary institutions or in private clinics. 

The main rationale for this is that Invisalign treatment is considered to be "elective", meaning that treatment can often be delayed until a more opportune time.

Hence, it will be hard to justify tax payers' money for a procedure that doesn't require immediate attention as compared to e.g. a dental infection.

What about dental insurance for Invisalign?

Dental cover for braces is usually an additional benefit that does not come as standard on most health insurance plans.

Furthermore, Invisalign treatment is considered an aesthetic orthodontic treatment and is usually not covered even with a dental cover in your insurance plan.

8. How much do Invisalign alternatives and other clear aligner brands cost?

Braces as an Invisalign alternative

TreatmentIndicationAverage Cost
Invisalign (Orthodontist)All types of malocclusion $7,000 - $9,500
Metal Braces$4,000 - $5,500
Ceramic/tooth coloured braces$5,000 - $6,500
ZenyumOnly for front teeth alignment, non-extraction treatment$2,200
MbraceMild-moderate complexity, non extraction treatment$4,500 - $6,800
EclignerMild- moderate complexity, simple extraction cases can be attempted$5,000 - $7,000
Some clinics offer in-house alignersMild crowding, mild spacing$150-$250 per aligner, some clinics offer treatment packages of $1,500

9. How much does the Invisalign consultation cost?

Most Invisalign consultations cost $50-$100 on average. This excludes the records that may be taken on the consultation visit should you decide to go ahead with Invisalign treatment.

Ask the front staff on the phone about the consultation fees before you make an appointment, or get price quotes from different dentists here.

I hope this post was helpful in your search for a good Invisalign provider in Singapore!


Dr Priscilla Lu is an orthodontist at The Orthodontic Clinic at Pacific Plaza in Singapore. She obtained her Bachelor of Dental Science with Honours from the University of Melbourne. Passionate about orthodontics, after graduation she pursued further education and achieved a Master of Dental Surgery in Orthodontics from the National University of Singapore (NUS). Dr Lu's orthodontic treatments include early interceptive treatment for young children, comprehensive treatment from tweens to adults using fixed braces, Invisalign and lingual braces.

References:

1. The NUS Orthodontics Residency Training Programme. Faculty of Dentistry, National University of Singapore. July 2018. Accessed 23 June 2019.

2. Orthodontics Accreditation Criteria. Dental Specialists Accreditation Board. Revised 29 June 2012. Accessed 23 June 2019.

3. Can I use my MediSave for liposuction, orthodontics treatment, laser surgery to correct short-sightedness? Central Provident Fund Board (CPF). Accessed 23 June 2019.

2618 views 28 Jun 2019 Medically reviewed by Dr Priscilla Lu on 3 Jul 2019.
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Disclaimer: Any answers provided are for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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Disclaimer: Any answers provided are for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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