When a lot of people hear “clear aligners,” they immediately think of Invisalign.
And that’s not surprising: they were the first company to introduce clear aligners as an alternative to traditional braces.
One of Invisalign’s top offerings is Invisalign Express, a fast-track method. The basic principle is the same: you’ll wear clear aligners and go to your dentist’s office for regular consultations and adjustments.
But Invisalign Express is designed for minor cases, so there are fewer aligners involved. As a result, they’re cheaper and faster than other options—Invisalign Full included.
But is this fast-track version of Invisalign right for you? That’s a complicated question. There are lots of factors you’ll need to consider: treatment length, quality, cost, patient support, and much more. Fortunately, that’s what we’re here to cover. This guide contains all the essential information necessary to determine if Invisalign Express is a good fit for your budget and lifestyle.
Is Invisalign Express Legit?
Back in 1997, Invisalign became the first company to sell clear aligners as an alternative to traditional braces. That innovation alone revolutionized orthodontic care, and it won Invisalign a lot of business. In fact, they had a monopoly on the clear aligner scene for nearly a decade.
Other companies began joining the market in the mid-2000s. To stay on top, Invisalign kept adapting: improving their aligners, developing their attachments and elastics, and more. Now, Invisalign partners with more than 100,000 dentists and orthodontists worldwide.
As competitors have cropped up, they’ve aimed to provide cheaper and quicker options. Invisalign’s response was Invisalign Express, which is more affordable and takes less time than traditional Invisalign treatment. But as an added plus, Express doesn’t lose the advantage of in-office treatments.
The biggest drawback of Invisalign Express is that they’re very strict about who qualifies for treatment. Express can only handle mild misalignments, typically ones that are confined to the front six top and bottom teeth. Tougher cases will need to go with Invisalign Full or another company instead.
How Does Invisalign Express Work?
Since your orthodontist or dentist will oversee your Invisalign treatment, the entire process is relatively simple. To get the ball rolling, you’ll need to schedule a consultation with your dentist or orthodontist of choice. That will kick off your treatment, but here’s a fly-by of what you can expect with Invisalign Express:
Step 1: You schedule and attend a consultation with your local Invisalign Express provider (a quick note: not all dentists who provide Invisalign also provide Invisalign Express; you should give them a phone call to confirm). The dentist will look at your teeth; if it looks like you’ll be a good candidate for Express treatment, then they will take impressions. Alternatively, if the office has the proper equipment, a scan can replace the impressions.
Step 2: Invisalign Express analyzes those impressions or scans and uses them to design your custom clear aligners. Once you, your provider, and Invisalign agree on your proposed treatment, Invisalign will manufacture your custom aligners and send them back to your provider.
Step 3: Pay for your treatment all in one go, or arrange a payment plan with your orthodontist.
Step 4: You start wearing your aligners. Your orthodontist will also set up a schedule of regular check-ups.
Step 5: You wear your aligners for 22+ hours per day and go to an office visit every 4-6 weeks, and your teeth gradually shift into place.
Pros and Cons of Invisalign Express
Invisalign Express is the fast-track option for the most well-known brand in the industry. But you shouldn’t rely on their brand power alone to make your decision. Here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages to using Invisalign Express:
Invisalign Express Pros
✔ Since Invisalign Express is administered in person, you’ll receive high-quality treatment. Any problems that arise can be resolved quickly at an office visit.
✔ While the details vary depending on your individual provider, most offer financing plans so you don’t have to pay the whole price at once.
✔ You get to choose your treatment provider yourself, allowing you to pick someone who fits your personality, your budget, and more.
✔ Invisalign Express’s aligners are (reportedly) more comfortable than other competitors’ aligners thanks to their cutting edge SmartTrack plastic.
Invisalign Express Cons
✖ Invisalign Express is more affordable than traditional Invisalign, but at prices around $2,500, they are more expensive than some of the other aligner companies. Most at-home aligner companies that treat the same cases as Invisalign Express cost about $1,900.
✖ Invisalign Express maintains very strict standards on who can get treatment. If you have any gaps bigger than 2 millimeters (or severe crowding), you’ll need to use another treatment method instead.
✖ Invisalign Express requires regular office visits, which can be a hassle for some busy adults.
✖ Aftercare retainers are a necessity for any teeth straightening treatment, but with Invisalign Express, they typically cost extra. The exact price depends on your provider, but they typically cost around $100.
Still curious about Invisalign Express? Check out our in-depth review below.
Everyone will have a slightly different Invisalign Express experience because everyone’s smile is different. However, since Invisalign Express is so strict about who can get treatment, the results are pretty consistent. On average, your treatment with Invisalign Express will last 6 months.
That said, your case’s true efficiency will depend on how well you stick to your aligner wear schedule. You’ll need to wear your aligners for a minimum of 22 hours per day to get optimal results. If you don’t, you could harm your teeth and extend your timeline.
Invisalign Express Patient Feedback
Normally, in our reviews, we like to include a summary of the reviews customers post on external websites to give you a feel for what others are saying. With some in-office treatments, it’s hard to pin down customer reviews because people normally review their orthodontist, not the Invisalign service itself.
Thankfully though, we’ve found some external reviews for Invisalign. A quick note before we begin: most of these reviews apply to Invisalign Full. While Invisalign Express isn’t exactly the same, they’re manufactured by the same company, so the reviews still apply.
With that said, here’s a quick look at what people love (and don’t love) about Invisalign Express:
- Top loves: Teen-friendly usage; much more comfortable than braces (for customers who’ve had both); ability to eat anything throughout treatment
- Top complaints: Some aligners wore out too quickly; SmartForce attachments can come loose; basically as pricey as braces (although this is less problematic with Express)
Across the internet, Invisalign wins an overall score of 4.5/5. Given the sheer number of Invisalign customers, that’s a strong score that should instill a lot of confidence in their product.
Invisalign Express Pricing
If there’s one clear drawback to Invisalign Express, it’s their overall price point. Let’s be clear: it’s a fair price, but it’s one you’ll want to budget for. Here’s a quick glance at how Invisalign Express will impact your wallet:
1) Initial consultation, cost varies: To start your treatment, you’ll need to schedule a consultation with your local Invisalign Express provider. The provider will set the costs for this consultation, so it’s tough to provide a standard “sticker price.” You can find a local provider using Invisalign’s Doctor Locator (a quick note: this tool covers doctors who provide Invisalign Full; not everyone who offers Full also offers Express).
2) Total cost of treatment, $2,500 (on average): Since Invisalign Express is a shorter treatment, you’ll have fewer office visits and fewer aligners. That makes your treatment much more affordable than Invisalign Full.
3) Aftercare retainers, ~$100: Like your treatment, the exact price for your aftercare retainers will depend on your provider’s fees. The average price tag falls around the $100 mark. That’s not a huge cost, but it’s one you should include in your budget.
If you’re thinking $2,500 or so seems like too much to pay all at once, you’re not alone. Technically, you could pay the whole thing up front, but for in-office treatments, a lot of people prefer financing options. Your Invisalign Express provider most likely offers some sort of payment plan; you should inquire with them for the full details.
Technically speaking, you can reach out directly to Invisalign’s customer support on their website. However, that’s probably not the best method.
If you ever have issues related to your treatment—you lose an aligner, an aligner cracks, you have payment problems, or one of your attachments falls off—you’re better off talking with your dentist or orthodontist, who is better equipped to solve those issues.
As an added plus, you’ll get very personal, customized support from your orthodontist. Other companies put you in touch with a remote customer service representative instead. They’re helpful, but they don’t know your case as well as your provider. That makes customer service with Invisalign Express top-notch.
Best Invisalign Express Alternatives
Is Invisalign Express right for you? Your smile is a big decision. After all, you keep it for life! So you should definitely take some time to consider all the available options. In-office treatments like Invisalign Express or ClearCorrect are more traditional, but let’s not forget at-home aligner companies.
As a general rule, people with more extreme cases will need to stick with in-office treatments. The in-person orthodontist oversight ensures that your case gets the care it needs. That said, people with mild and moderate cases may be good candidates for at-home aligners. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite alternatives to Invisalign Express:
If you’re not a good candidate for Invisalign Express, then you’ll probably be a good fit for Invisalign Full. They’re more expensive than Express, but they can handle the full range of severe conditions. You can get the same.
ClearCorrect isn’t as well-known as Invisalign’s brand, but they’re quite similar. In fact, in many aspects, ClearCorrect and Invisalign are twins. But ClearCorrect is a touch cheaper, making them a better option for individuals who need in-office treatment but also need to stick to a budget. To compete with Express, ClearCorrect has introduced Limited 6 and Limited 12 versions for milder cases. Plus, their Flex treatment allows you to pay per aligner, which can significantly reduce costs.
We’ve ranked Byte as our top at-home aligner company, and for good reason. They have the industry’s shortest treatment times and they offer an unbeatable Byte-for-Life guarantee that prioritizes your satisfaction for all time.
Orthodontic treatment is a lot of things, but it’s not affordable…usually. AlignerCo is an exception, though. They’re truly budget-friendly, but they don’t sacrifice quality in the name of low prices either.
Should You Use Invisalign Express?
Invisalign is the most well-known clear aligner company, but that doesn’t mean Invisalign Express is right for everyone. Your smile is unique, and your treatment should fit your needs. Let’s talk about when you should use Invisalign Express and when you should steer clear.
✔ When to use Invisalign Express:
Use Invisalign Express if you have a very minor case but you want orthodontist oversight and the peace of mind that comes from working with the most well-established brand in the industry.
✖ When NOT to use Invisalign Express:
Avoid Invisalign Express if your budget is tight. If you want to skip the hassle of in-office visits, you should skip Invisalign Express, too. And last but not least, you should not use Invisalign Express if you have a severe condition or a bite issue like overbite or overjet.
All told, Invisalign is the most reputable company on the clear aligner scene. The higher prices and longer treatment times of Invisalign Full used to scare some customers away. Invisalign Express helps solve that problem quite masterfully, as long as your condition is mild enough.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between Invisalign Express and companies like Smile Direct?
Invisalign Express is administered in-person by a dentist or orthodontist. That means you’ll need to attend office visits (and pay the accompanying fee). Smile Direct is one of the biggest names in the at-home aligner scene, which is a bit different. At-home aligners don’t require in-office visits. They ship customized aligners directly to your home, and they’re generally cheaper, too. The downside is that you won’t get direct orthodontist oversight throughout your treatment.
What if I’m not happy with the outcome?
With Invisalign Express, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be dissatisfied with your results. That’s because your treatment provider will make any adjustments to correct minor issues long before they become major ones. That said, if you’re looking for a “satisfaction guarantee” or a “warranty” in the usual sense, you’ll need to touch base with your treatment provider. Individual dentists and orthodontists usually handle these issues.
Does Invisalign Express have a nighttime-only treatment option?
No. Your Invisalign treatment’s success hinges on the fact that you wear your aligners for at least 22 hours per day. If you’re intrigued by nighttime treatment, which only requires 10 hours of wear per night, look into Byte or AlignerCo. Not only are these two of our top rated services, they’re also some of the few companies to offer nighttime-only treatment.
Do I need an X-ray before getting treatment with Invisalign Express?
Usually, you do not need an X-ray before treatment with Invisalign Express. 3D scans and impressions are more important. However, your chosen dentist will make the final call on X-rays.
Is Invisalign Express better than traditional braces?
It depends on what you mean by “better.” In terms of power and versatility, braces are the be-all, end-all. Traditional brackets and wires have never met a case that they couldn’t handle. Invisalign Express is a lot more discreet than traditional braces, but they can’t handle the same variety of cases.
Is Invisalign Express cheaper than traditional braces?
Yes—much cheaper. Invisalign Express is about half the price of traditional braces. The exact price depends on your orthodontist’s fees, but Express is definitely cheaper.
Do Invisalign Express results last forever?
Your Invisalign Express treatment should be pretty set in stone—provided you wear your post-treatment retainers. Teeth tend to shift back to their original positions if you let them. Your retainers will keep that from happening. Provided you wear them as recommended by your dentist, your new, perfect smile will stay that way.
Can I whiten my teeth during Invisalign Express treatment?
It depends. If you have attachments installed, you’ll need to stay away from whitening until your treatment is finished. That will prevent any odd stains from forming on your teeth. If you’re using aligners alone, you may be able to whiten mid-treatment. The catch? Some whiteners can damage the plastic in your aligners. If you must whiten simultaneously, we suggest that you contact your dentist for recommendations on aligner-safe whitening formulas.
Is there an age requirement for Invisalign Express?
A lot of clear aligner companies have strict age guidelines for their treatment. Invisalign is unique because they actually have options for a variety of ages, like Invisalign First. This system is ideal for littles who show signs of future dental issues; Invisalign First will help keep minor issues from becoming major ones. Invisalign Express, however, is reserved for teens and adults.
Will Invisalign Express make me talk funny?
With any clear aligner system, you have a foreign object in your mouth. That’s unavoidable. So, your mouth might feel a bit funny, and you could have the slightest hint of a lisp. For most people, though, the aligners are minimally invasive and practically imperceptible to others.
How many hours a day should I wear my Invisalign Express aligners?
Invisalign Express aligners need to be worn for a minimum of 22 hours per day. As a general rule, you should only take out your aligners to eat, drink, brush, or floss.
Can I drink coffee while using Invisalign Express?
With any aligners, you should not eat or drink anything (except water) with your aligners in. That said, you can remove them during meals and snacks, drink, replace them, and repeat as needed.
What happens if I lose my aligners (or retainers)?
If you lose an aligner or retainer, you should contact your Invisalign Express provider. They will help you sort through the situation. Your provider will also set the “rules” on how much it costs to replace an aligner or retainer. Some providers will give you one “free” lost or broken aligner, and some won’t.
Is Invisalign Express covered by insurance?
That depends on your policy. If you receive orthodontic benefits, then your insurance will likely reimburse you for your treatment. We recommend that you check with your provider before committing to treatment, just to make sure.