We take a look at one of the biggest clear aligner providers
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More than 80,000 customers have used ClearCorrect teeth aligners making them one of the largest providers of aligner treatment in the world.
However, they don’t deal directly with customers, so you’ll need to find your own provider. Is this hands-off approach to dental aligners right for you?
ClearCorrect dental aligners are available through various different providers, who will examine your teeth and decide on the best treatment for you from a selection of options.
Get all your aligners at once
Flexible plans available to suit your mouth (and budget)
Regular dental check-ups to stay on track
Full-time aligners (22+ hours) only
No direct customer support option
Depending on your treatment, it can be expensive
Who is behind ClearCorrect?
ClearCorrect is one of the most established providers of dental aligner treatment in the US. They were founded in 2006 and were named as the fastest-growing health company in America in 2011.
The company was created in Houston, Texas by a dentist named Willis Pumphrey Jr. He was using Invisalign for his patients from 2001 but switched to OrthoClear when he felt they were manufactured better and for less. OrthoClear ceased to exist leaving Pumphrey’s 400 active patients high-and-dry, so he created his own company to complete their treatment.
Who can use ClearCorrect aligners?
ClearCorrect’s clear aligners are the ideal solution if your teeth are crooked, overcrowded or if you have gaps between your teeth that you want to minimize. They won’t work on the most extreme cases, where other treatments may be necessary, but for mild to moderate cases they are a reliable and subtle option.
Unlike some aligner providers who deal with customers directly, ClearCorrect work with established dentists and orthodontists. To find out if you’re eligible, you’ll need to speak to your own dentist or orthodontist to see firstly whether they offer the treatment. If not, you can find an alternative provider using the ClearCorrect website.
Once you’ve found a provider, they’ll inspect your teeth and check whether the treatment would be suitable. They’ll also use their judgement to decide how long you’ll need treatment in order to see results. Once they’ve made their decision, they’ll take an x-ray of your mouth and write a written prescription to be sent to ClearCorrect to get your aligners made.
How are the dental aligners made?
ClearCorrect’s dental aligners are made using BPA-free plastics. Depending on your treatment plan you’ll be given a set number of aligners to wear, in order, to move your teeth by up to 2mm each time. You’ll wear each set for three weeks, for at least 22 hours a day.
Your aligners are made to custom-fit your teeth, using the x-rays taken by your dentist or orthodontist. Each set will gradually move your teeth into a new position. They’re made in the ClearCorrect laboratory and will be sent directly to the dentist or orthodontist you ordered them for you, where you can collect them and learn how to use them.
Your dentist or orthodontist will likely ask for you to return for regular check-ups to see how you’re progressing and whether the treatment plan is working.
What treatment options are available?
Your dentist or independent provider will make the decision on which treatment option is right for you with ClearCorrect. Once they’ve sent your prescription in for analysis, they’ll be given a breakdown of the potential results and treatment plans to choose from.
There are three plans a dentist can select. Unlimited gives up to five years of aligners, ideal for cases that require more movement and where they’re not certain how long treatment may take. Flex is a more flexible option designed for smaller corrections. And the new One plan is designed as a flat rate for one year, which will suit many customers and offers the simplest pricing.
How long does ClearCorrect treatment take?
The average treatment time when using ClearCorrect dental aligners is between 6 and 11 months. However, this will vary depending on whether you need multiple teeth moving or just one crooked tooth, and how misaligned they are. Some treatments may take less than 4 months while others could take multiple years.
Are there any other steps to take?
Your dentist or orthodontist will set out the steps necessary for your treatment plan. They’ll always begin with an initial assessment and they will likely ask you to book regular check-ups to ensure your treatment plan is on track. You’ll then need to wear a retainer once your treatment is complete, for a period of time until your teeth have fully settled in their new position. Speak to your dentist or orthodontist to find out more about the specific process they would like you to follow.
How much does ClearCorrect treatment cost?
It is difficult to give an accurate price for ClearCorrect treatment as not only will it vary depending on your treatment required, but also how much your dentist charges you. ClearCorrect doesn’t set customer prices, they bill the dentist who may pass on additional charges to you. Generally, though, most customers find their full treatment costs between $4000 and $5000, though it can be lower for smaller treatments.
At the beginning of your treatment, you’ll need an x-ray to scan your teeth and determine what treatment is required. This will cost the standard amount your dentist would charge for an appointment with an x-ray.
You’ll normally be given the option to pay for your treatment in instalments. Speak to your provider to find out more about the payment options they provide and how much they will charge for your treatment.
If your aligners are lost or damaged, you’ll need to order a replacement set. Speak to your dentist ASAP to avoid your treatment stalling. Your charge for replacement aligners will vary depending on whether the dentist has chosen a Flex, One or Unlimited plan for you.
Once your treatment is complete, you’ll need a set of retainers to keep your teeth in place. You’ll get one set of retainers with every plan, and if your dentist chose the Unlimited plan then you’ll get as many sets as you require.
Are payment options available?
Most dentists and orthodontists will offer a payment plan to make your treatment more affordable. This will likely last for 3-4 years and will include a down payment and then a series of monthly instalments. You may end up paying more if you choose instalments, and you’ll likely be paying after your treatment is complete, but it can allow you to manage the cost.
Is it covered by insurance?
ClearCorrect treatment can usually be offset with your insurance. Most dental insurance plans include orthodontist allowances that may not cover your entire cost but usually up to a maximum of $3,000, which can leave you with much less to pay out of your own pocket.
How old do you have to be?
You must be at least 18 years old to use ClearCorrect dental aligners. Your dentist will let you know whether you’re eligible, depending on whether your teeth have fully come through. It isn’t always suitable for senior citizens.
Where is ClearCorrect treatment available?
Across the US there are thousands of dentists and orthodontists who offer ClearCorrect treatment options. Always start with your own dentist, as they know you best and can recommend the best option based on your history. If they don’t offer the service, use the ClearCorrect website to find a provider near to you. You’ll need to visit them regularly so make sure you opt for a clinic in easy reach.
What about customer service?
ClearCorrect is not a public-facing service. You’ll always have your treatment with a dentist or orthodontist who will order ClearCorrect on your behalf. Therefore, if you have any issues, you’re best speaking to your dentist as they will give you the answers you need. ClearCorrect does have a contact form on their website if you want to ask questions but, if you’re undergoing treatment, they will refer you to your chosen provider.
ClearCorrect: The Verdict
Unlike many other aligner providers, there is no at-home option for ClearCorrect treatment. You’ll instead need to visit a dentist or other provider near to you. It’s best to start with your own dentist, but if they don’t offer the treatment then you’ll have to find an alternative which you can do through the ClearCorrect website.
Once your treatment has begun, you’ll need to make regular visits to your provider, as per their instructions, to monitor your treatment.
It’s not easy to compare the price for ClearCorrect treatment with other providers, because the price isn’t clearly set out. ClearCorrect is the aligner manufacturer only, and your dentist or orthodontist will make the decisions about your treatment plan and therefore how much it will cost.
Generally, the cost is comparable to Invisalign, with averages costs between $4,000 and $5,000 but they can be lower if your case is mild and only requires mild adjustment. You should also be able to claim back part of the cost on your insurance, depending on your coverage, with many plans offering $1,000 to $3,000 to claim back.
Payment plans are usually available too, but you’ll need to discuss these with your treatment provider. You may need to pay a down payment, and your instalments could last for years after your treatment has finished. Discuss your options with your provider and they’ll explain the total costs involved.
Ease of use
Because your treatment is handled by a dentist or orthodontist at their clinic, there are no concerns about making any errors yourself. You can trust that your provider will take the necessary scans and write the correct prescription for your alignment treatment and that ClearCorrect will then use this detailed information to craft custom aligners suited to you. At-home treatments risk customer error, but by using a professional you can be sure of excellent results.
The aligners will be shipped to your provider when ready, where you can pick them up to start using them. You’ll wear each aligner for three weeks, before moving onto the next set. They are designed to be a snug fit for your teeth so they should be simple to fit. If you struggle, speak to your provider to make sure there are no issues.
You’ll then need to make regular appointments with your provider who will check on your progression. If the treatment isn’t working as planned, you’ll be able to get revisions made for new aligners that can correct the treatment. The number of revisions included at no extra cost will vary depending on the plan your provider has chosen, but they should explain all of this upfront.
The options available with ClearCorrect aren’t really relevant to customers, beyond cost. Your provider will examine you and determine which treatment you require, and then make their decision on whether they wish to order a Flex, One or Unlimited plan with ClearCorrect. However, this won’t be a decision for you to make with them. They will simply be choosing how long you require treatment to get the results you need – there are no half measures when it comes to aligner treatment.
Whatever plan your provider pays for, they’ll charge you a standard rate for the requirements of your individual circumstances. You’ll then need to wear the aligners for a minimum of 22 hours per day, only taking them out to eat, drink and brush your teeth.
ClearCorrect doesn’t offer any direct reassurance to customers but will instead point to their high success rate with past customers as a way of putting your mind at ease.
As your dentist or orthodontist is technically your provider, you’ll need to seek reassurance from them on what happens if the treatment doesn’t work in the planned time. They will then work with ClearCorrect to get the required revisions to your aligners in order to keep your treatment on track. Visit ClearCorrect’s website if you want to hear more from past customers, but ultimately you should speak to your provider if you want to explore your options.
Which is cheaper, ClearCorrect or Invisalign?
Generally, ClearCorrect is a similar price to Invisalign dental aligners, although it will depend on your treatment required and payment method. ClearCorrect treatment ranges from around $2,000 to $8,000 while Invisalign ranges from $3,000 to $8,000 for most customers, so ClearCorrect can be slightly cheaper if you don’t need much treatment and can pay upfront.
Can I drink coffee with ClearCorrect?
It’s recommended that during your aligner treatment with ClearCorrect, you try to limit the amount of sugary, caffeinated drinks you take during the day to prevent lasting damage to your teeth. You also shouldn’t ever drink coffee or any other drink that isn’t plain water whilst you’re wearing your aligners. You should always remove them to drink, and then ideally brush your teeth before you re-insert your aligners to ensure you don’t trap anything against your teeth that could damage the enamel.
If you do want to drink coffee while you’re using ClearCorrect, make sure you’ve removed your aligners and cleaned your teeth as best as possible at the time before you reinsert them. Remember you need to wear them for 22 hours a day, so don’t take them out for too many long coffee breaks.
Is ClearCorrect covered by insurance?
In short, most dental plans will cover a part of your ClearCorrect aligner treatment. You’ll just need to check the specifics of your plan to see what Orthodontist treatments are covered and how much you could be entitled to.
Generally, dentists and orthodontists won’t accept payments directly from your insurer for aligners. You’ll need to pay upfront and claim the money back afterwards. Coverage will generally be partial but you can make savings of hundreds of dollars against the cost of your aligners if you go through your dental plan.
How much does ClearCorrect hurt?
When you first wear your ClearCorrect dental aligners, you should experience some mild discomfort. That’s because the aligners are pushing your teeth into their new position, causing your gums to relent and then reset once they’re in place. You’ll experience this discomfort every time you switch to the next set of aligners in your plan, but it should fade within a couple of days.
If the pay is severe or lasts longer than a couple of days, speak to your dentist immediately. Try not to stop wearing the aligners unless it is extremely uncomfortable until you’ve been examined and your dentist can identify what is causing the problem and whether treatment should continue.
Can ClearCorrect cause headaches?
In some cases, ClearCorrect can cause a mild headache for a day or two while your teeth are being moved. It’ll depend on the depth of your tooth roots and a handful of other factors. Don’t be concerned immediately if you experience a mild headache – take pain relief and give it time to calm down.
If it hasn’t settled within a couple of days, you should speak to your dentist or provider. A small minority of customers may be allergic to the plastic used to make the aligners but this shouldn’t cause a headache, just mild gum irritation.
Where can I find a ClearCorrect provider?
Start by speaking to your own dentist or orthodontist to see if they work with ClearCorrect and can offer you the treatment. If they don’t, they may be able to direct you to someone who does that they recommend. If not, then you just need to go to the ClearCorrect website and enter your zip code, or enable location settings on your browser, to find the nearest provider to you.
Make sure it’s a distance you’re comfortable travelling as you may need to make regular visits for check-ups during the duration of your treatment.
How do you know when to change aligners?
You’ll need to change your aligners every three weeks. Your provider will set out your treatment plan with you at the start and tell you when you need to switch, as well as explaining how to care for your aligners to make sure they last for the full duration of the treatment.
It’s a good idea to set reminders on your phone or email calendar so you know when the three weeks are up. Your provider will ask for regular updates too, so they’ll be able to check you’ve moved onto the correct set of aligners to follow your treatment plan as specified.
What happens if I lose or break my aligners?
If you lose a set of aligners, or you break them in any way, you’ll need to speak to your provider as quickly as possible to arrange for a new set to be shipped out to you. The longer you go without your aligners, the more your teeth could start to shift back, undoing the treatment time so far. You’ll probably need to pay extra for your replacement set.
Your provider may ask you to go back to wearing the prior set of aligners, in order to slow down the reversion of your treatment, until your new ones are ready to start wearing. You’ll then need to wear the new set for the full three weeks once they arrive, and not simply complete the remaining time you had with them.
Can I throw out my old ClearCorrect aligners?
ClearCorrect aligners aren’t recyclable, and so when you’re finished with them you should be fine to dispose of them in your regular garbage as normal.
However, don’t throw them out as soon as you’ve finished wearing a set. You may need to keep them to prove you’ve worn them, if the treatment doesn’t go to plan, or if you lost or broke a set of aligners your dentist may ask you to wear your previous set temporarily while your new set is ordered and shipped to you, otherwise your teeth could suffer further setbacks.
Who owns ClearCorrect?
ClearCorrect is owned by the Straumann Group, a company based in Switzerland. They bought ClearCorrect in 2017 for $150 million with a view to expanding the customer base beyond the traditional US and North American market.