You can choose to treat any case as Flex or Unlimited when you approve the treatment setup, regardless of length.
If you want the safest, most predictable option, you can't go wrong with Unlimited. Your costs will be covered for the next five years, no matter what happens.
If you want the most affordable upfront cost, that's going to be Flex for all but the longest dual-arch cases. Flex is also a good option if you and your patient are prepared to deal with any additional costs that may come up during treatment.
If you're trying to optimize your overall cost over the entire treatment period, it's a little less clear-cut. With Flex, additional aligners (such as revisions, replacements, and retainers) are priced at the same rate as aligners for new cases. You'll also need a new treatment setup for any revisions. This can vary a lot from doctor to doctor and from patient to patient. Some people don't need anything but what's shown in the initial setup; others start over almost from scratch multiple times. Once these additional costs are factored in, Unlimited can end up being the more affordable option over time for many cases.
As we said, there are no strict guidelines, but here are some rules of thumb for the types of treatment that might be best suited for each treatment option:
- Minor anterior movements
- Minor crowding or spacing
- Relapses from previous orthodontic treatment
- Minor movements in a single arch
- Combination treatment (transitioning between traditional orthodontics and clear aligners)
- Moderate to severe crowding or spacing
- Midline misalignment
- Overjet and overbite
- Open bites
- Class II and Class III bite relationships
- Non-compliant patients
- Patients with potential interruptions, such as military service, pregnancy, weddings, and frequent travel
- Patients desiring retention with clear aligners after treatment
For more questions and answers, see Flex & Unlimited Pricing Options.