Dental Procedures

Read Jacquie Hayes, of the AFR, interview Dr Kia Pajouhesh on dental costs “The Crowning Glory – 8 September 2012”

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Comparing Prices


In making your cost comparison, you will need answers to the following questions:

Is the practitioner a specialist orthodontist or a general dentist?

Invisalign is not a product; it is a service. It’s a technique used to straighten your teeth – as are conventional braces or internal braces. Two types of clinicians may carry out Invisalign: (1) a specialist orthodontist – that is, a practitioner with three to four years’ additional education and training qualifying them for registration by the Dental Board of Australia as a specialist; (2) a general dentist with no formal Dental Board–approved training in the specialised field of orthodontics.

In most instances, expect to pay approximately 25% to 35% extra to be treated by a specialist orthodontist rather than a general dentist.

Will my health fund give me a rebate on my Invisalign treatment?

Many major health funds will pay on orthodontic item numbers (series 8) only if the treating practitioner is a Dental Board–registered specialist orthodontist.

In most instances, expect to receive a reduced or nil rebate from your health fund if your Invisalign treatment is carried out by a general dentist.

Which course of Invisalign treatment is being quoted?

There are three possibilities: (1) “Invisalign Complete” – with an average of 25 aligners and complete correction, delivering the ultimate result; (2) “Invisalign Lite” – with a maximum of 14 aligners delivering moderate change – best suited to simpler cases requiring limited tooth movement; (3) “Invisalign i7” – with just seven aligners delivering minimal change – best suited to patients with relapse after braces from a younger age.

In most instances, expect to pay approximately two-thirds of the full rate for Invisalign Lite and one-third of the full rate for the i7.

What are “refinements” and do I need to pay for them?

If you wish to make further adjustments to your smile at the end of your Invisalign treatment, the clinician will need to fine-tune the straightening of your teeth using additional aligners ordered from the manufacturers. Most specialist orthodontists build the prospect of refinement costs in to their total price.

In most instances, expect to pay hundreds of dollars in refinement costs if not included in the original quote.

If I am not 100% satisfied with the outcome of my Invisalign treatment after refinements, does my Invisalign clinician have the skill and training to provide internal braces to complete the service?

Specialist orthodontists find that about 1 in 20 patients require internal braces to make adjustments after Invisalign treatment. All specialist orthodontists are skilled at doing this and most will do so at no extra charge. A general dentist with no experience or technical training in internal braces may need to refer you to a specialist orthodontist to carry out the treatment.

In most instances, expect to pay the specialist orthodontist additional fees if your general dentist refers you for further treatment.

Will I still need retainers after my Invisalign treatment and do I need to pay for them?

Yes, you will be required to wear retainers to keep your teeth in their new position.

In most instances, expect to pay $300 to $500 for retainers at the completion of Invisalign treatment, unless these have been included in the price quoted initially.

Will I see from start to finish the same clinician who devises my treatment plan?

Most specialist orthodontists will supervise your care throughout. Some clinics will have you seen by different operators.

In most instances, expect to pay less with providers who do not guarantee you the same clinician throughout your treatment.

What is the Invisalign experience of my treating clinician, as distinct from the clinic where they practice?

Many clinics promote themselves as experienced Invisalign providers, based on the total number of Invisalign cases carried out by the clinic as a whole. But the Invisalign service, like any other dental treatment, is carried out by individual clinicians with varying levels of technical expertise, education, specialisation and experience. Seek to find out the Invisalign and general orthodontic experience of your actual treating clinician. Note that the recognition status awarded to any clinic by the Invisalign manufacturers is not related to individual members of that clinic’s team; it may be that the individual clinician caring for you has limited experience with Invisalign.

In most instances, expect to pay approximately 20% to 30% more where you are being treated by an experienced clinician.

Dr Kia Pajouhesh
Cosmetic and Restorative Care
BSc, BDSc (Melb)