Best Value in Orthodontic Care in Tustin at Life Orthodontics

Why Do Braces and Invisalign Cost so Much?

June 10, 2024

Orthodontic treatment can be a significant investment, with the average cost typically ranging between $5,000 and $7,000 where the range typically depends on the length of treatment. Many prospective patients inquire why do braces and Invisalign cost so much. This blog post will explain the various factors that contribute to the cost of orthodontic treatment, from the orthodontist's expertise to the operational costs of running a practice, and it also will discuss on how Life Orthodontics provides more value than any other office.


Orthodontic Expertise: The Value of Specialized Training

When hiring any type of professional to provide a service, there is always a cost associated with the professional’s time. A large factor in determining a professional’s rate is their education, experience, and licensure. Whether it’s a plumber, electrician, lawyer, doctor, or orthodontist every professional charges for their time and expertise, and their rate largely depends on their experience, education, and skill level.

Orthodontists, like Dr. Lee and Dr. Pi, are highly trained specialists who underwent extensive education and training at top universities (UCLA and UCSF). After high school, they spent an additional 11 years in school: four years of undergraduate studies, four years of dental school, and three years of residency in orthodontics. Their rigorous training ensures they have the expertise to diagnose and treat a wide range of orthodontic issues with the highest quality of care.

Moreover, we firmly believe that Dr. Lee and Dr. Pi are the best orthodontists in Tustin with the highest skill level in orthodontics. This is evidenced by national awards that they have won where one of their cases was awarded National Case of the Year at the American Association of Orthodontics (see case here). In addition, they have such expertise on InBrace and Invisalign that they teach these treatment modalities at a national level to other orthodontists.  

As we discussed in a previous blog post, there are different levels of care in orthodontic treatment. At Life Orthodontics, we provide the highest care while keeping our prices affordable, but it is possible to get cheaper orthodontic work done at a significantly lower quality of care. We encourage patients to avoid lower quality of care because they often have a poor experience where they end up having to have their treatment redone at an office like ours. You will often save yourself a lot of time and money by having your orthodontic work done right from the beginning. The saying that “you get what you pay for” is very true with orthodontic treatment.


Cost of Materials and Running a Practice

The materials used in orthodontic treatments are another significant contributor to the overall cost. At Life Orthodontics, we only use the highest quality materials, whether it is traditional braces or high-end clear aligners like Invisalign or Angel Aligner. However, high quality materials that work the most predictably and efficiently for our patients are expensive and make up a significant portion of the overall cost of treatment. In addition to the material fees for braces or Angel Aligner, the equipment used in each appointment is also expensive and must be accounted for.

Running an orthodontic practice also involves substantial operational costs. Like any other small business, an orthodontic practice must cover expenses such as labor, utilities, rent, and administrative costs. These overhead costs are necessary to maintain a high standard of care and a well-functioning practice, contributing to the overall treatment price.


The Amount of Time and Visits Needed

Orthodontic treatment is unique in that it requires multiple visits over an extended period of time, typically 18 to 24 months. Unlike a single visit for a dental filling, orthodontic care involves regular check-ups roughly every 6 weeks. Each visit requires the time and attention of the orthodontist and their staff, which adds to the overall cost, so this is the primary factor in the difference between a $5,000 versus a $7,000 treatment.

To put it into perspective, think about hiring a plumber. You might pay a substantial fee for a single visit to fix an issue, but if the plumber had to come back every month for two years, the cumulative cost would probably be higher than the cost of orthodontic treatment. Similarly, orthodontic treatment involves ongoing adjustments and monitoring, leading to a higher overall cost.


Retention: The Final Phase

Even after the active phase of orthodontic treatment is complete, retention is crucial to maintain the results. Retainers, whether fixed or removable, help keep teeth in their new positions. This phase includes additional follow-up visits to ensure the retainers are functioning correctly and that the teeth remain aligned. At Life Orthodontics, all retainer follow-up visits are included in treatment without any additional costs.

Furthermore, at Life Orthodontics, we provide a Smile for Life Guarantee, where we subsidize the cost of retainers and any necessary retreatment. As we discussed in our previous blog post on this topic, most patients will pay $5,000 in retainer costs throughout their lifetime. At Life Orthodontics, we almost fully cover these costs for you saving you thousands of dollars in the process. The Smile for Life Guarantee by itself makes orthodontic treatment at Life Orthodontics by far the best value in Tustin.


Flexible Payment Options

At Life Orthodontics, we understand that the cost of treatment can be daunting. To make it more accessible, we offer interest-free payment plans for up to 36 months. We also accept most insurance plans, which can significantly reduce out-of-pocket expenses for our patients. This flexibility ensures that more people can afford the high-quality orthodontic care they need. Our fees are also all-inclusive, so there will never be any additional or unexpected charges.


Comparing Costs to Other Expenses

To understand the cost of orthodontic treatment better, it helps to compare it to other significant expenses. For instance, the cost of orthodontic treatment over two years can be comparable to the cost of gas for your car, a significant home repair, or even a vacation. Each of these investments brings long-term benefits, whether in terms of transportation, home value, or personal well-being, much like the benefits of a beautiful, life-lasting smile provided by orthodontic treatment.


The Life Orthodontics Difference: Providing More Value

At Life Orthodontics, we strive to provide more value than any other practice since we truly value our patients’ time and money. Our commitment to patient care goes beyond just the technical aspects of orthodontics. We offer comprehensive treatment plans tailored to each patient’s needs, a Smile for Life Guarantee, flexible payment options, and a welcoming, supportive environment. Our highly trained team uses the latest technology and techniques to ensure the best possible outcomes for our patients.



The cost of orthodontic treatment reflects the expertise of highly trained professionals, the high-quality materials used, the operational costs of running a practice, the frequent and prolonged nature of the treatment, and the crucial retention phase. At Life Orthodontics, we aim to provide exceptional value for our patients through comprehensive care, flexible payment options, and a commitment to long-term results. Investing in orthodontic treatment not only improves dental health and aesthetics but also enhances overall well-being and confidence.

If you're seeking an orthodontist in Orange County who will provide the best value for your money, Life Orthodontics is the perfect choice for you. Serving patients from Tustin, Irvine, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Orange, Anaheim, and beyond, we take pride in our humble pursuit of excellence and our commitment to providing the best service and experience possible.

Are You Ready to

Smile For Life?

Are You Ready to

Smile For Life?