Table of contents
- Types of braces
- How much do braces cost in the UK?
- Why do braces cost so much in the UK?
- What components of getting braces cost the most?
- Can you avoid any of the above?
- Can you get braces for free in the UK?
- How can you save money on braces costs?
- The affordable alternative to dental braces
- How much do clear aligner braces cost?
There’s no getting away from the fact that a beautiful, straight smile goes a long way, but in the UK, if you didn’t have orthodontic treatment on the NHS as a child, chances are, you’ll pay a considerable amount as an adult.
Fixed braces cost anywhere between £1,500 and £10,000 at a private dentist, so they don’t come cheap.
So why get straight teeth?
Straight teeth are not just cosmetically desirable but are also crucial for maintaining dental health. Crooked teeth may lead to other oral health problems, including tooth decay, gum disease, and jaw misalignment. These, in turn, can trigger further issues such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems.
It’s little wonder then that orthodontists are reporting an increase in adult patients.
Love them or hate them, braces are an excellent tool for improving the alignment of your teeth and your dental health by:
- improving bite position,
- reducing tooth grinding and jaw pain,
- combatting tooth decay,
- saving you money by ensuring your dental health remains in tip-top condition
But that’s not all; the bonus to having straight teeth is the cosmetic improvement it brings to your smile.
Straighter teeth can increase your confidence and self-esteem, which in turn can profoundly affect how you feel about yourself and how other people see you.
Yet, while the overall health benefits of straighter teeth are well documented, the cost implications of orthodontic treatment—whether braces or aligners— makes it prohibitive for some people.
So, is there a solution?
Possibly. We’ll reveal more about it later in the article but first, let’s talk about the various types of orthodontic treatment.
Types of braces
There are several types of braces. Each is used to treat specific dental irregularities or conditions, and each differs significantly in terms of cost.
The most common type of braces are:
Traditional braces with metal brackets and wires
Traditional braces are the original orthodontic appliance, having been around in one form or another for hundreds of years. They work by using small brackets affixed to the front of the teeth to hold a wire in place. That wire is attached to bands on each tooth. As the teeth move, the wires pull on those bands, which helps straighten out crooked teeth, aligning them into their proper position.
Other teeth straightening treatments include:
Aligners are appliances worn over the teeth (similar to mouthguards) that can straighten teeth without affecting the appearance of your smile. They’re an excellent choice for adults who want to get their teeth straightened but aren’t ready to commit to traditional braces. Why? Because they are virtually invisible—and removable.
Unlike traditional metal braces, self-litigating braces use a built-in system to keep the arch-wire taught. Thus negating the need for continual visits to the dentist for tightening. The process leads to shorter orthodontic visits, easier cleaning, and less discomfort.
Ceramic braces, also known as tooth-coloured or tooth-like braces, are made from dental porcelain. Porcelain is used because it’s strong and durable while being translucent enough to let the light shine through for a natural appearance.
The brackets on ceramic braces are primarily clear in colour. However, they can be chosen in any colour imaginable, making them popular with teens who want to develop their own look.
Lingual braces, also known as “invisible” braces, are similar to traditional fixed metal braces. However, instead of being affixed to the front of teeth, they are attached to the back surfaces (lingual). This leaves the front surfaces of the teeth metal-free while retaining the cosmetic appearance of your smile.
To recap, here are the pros and cons of each type of orthodontic treatment:
|Almost Invisible Option||X||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Available on NHS||✓||X||X||X||X|
|Easy to clean||X||✓||X||X||X|
|No diet restrictions||X||✓||X||X||X|
|Treat most cases||✓||X||X||X||✓|
How much do braces cost in the UK?
There are plenty of orthodontic options available in the UK for anyone who wants to have straighter teeth. However, the cost of braces in 2021 varies enormously, with prices starting at a minimum of £1,500 but often costing considerably more:
Here are some typical prices:
|Braces Type||Braces Cost|
|Traditional fixed braces||£1,500 – £3,000|
|Clear Aligners||£674 – £5,000|
|Lingual (invisible) braces||£2,000 – £10,000|
|Self-litigating braces||£1,500 – £6,000|
|Ceramic Braces||£2,000 – £6,000|
Traditional fixed braces cost – £1,500 – £3,000
While traditional metal braces take longer than other braces, these braces cost less than other teeth-straightening methods. They are also hard-wearing, which is why they tend to be a popular treatment for kids.
Clear aligners cost – £674 – £5,000
Clear aligners are a suitable treatment for mild to moderate cases and can be a cost-effective option with a shortened treatment duration in some circumstances.
Lingual invisible braces cost – £2,000 – £10,000
Lingual braces are suitable to treat cases ranging from mild to complex—including, for example, specially-designed braces to straighten the front teeth. However, they do take some getting used to and may affect your speech. Additionally, they require a fastidious cleaning routine to ensure your mouth remains hygienic.
Also, lingual braces cost more than other orthodontic treatments because the application to the teeth is more complex and the treatment period longer.
Self-ligating braces cost – £1,500 – £6,000
The Damon System requires fewer visits to the dentist than traditional braces and is quicker and more comfortable. Both the metal and clear Damon system braces can cost more than conventional braces.
Ceramic braces cost – £2,000 – £6,000
Ceramic braces are a great alternative to metal brackets and wires, especially for children and teens with orthodontic needs. But ceramic braces cost more than traditional braces, and they aren’t as hard-wearing as metal braces either.
Why do braces cost so much in the UK?
Adult orthodontic treatment can be complex. However, the price is simply a reflection of the uncertainties in treating adults.
Why? Because adult treatment and care can be more unpredictable and take longer than children’s orthodontics.
So how much will braces cost you?
The price depends on a variety of factors, such as:
- Whether treatment is for both arches of teeth or just the top or bottom
- How many teeth are involved
- The complexity of the treatment
- The expertise of your clinician.
- The location of your treatment centre – dental clinics in city centres are typically more expensive
What components of getting braces cost the most?
All of the following components contribute to the cost of your treatment. Consequently, if you can reduce or minimise any of these components, you should be able to lower your costs significantly.
The specific orthodontic treatment you choose
Braces cost include preparatory work, laboratory manufacturing, fitting and adjustment fees. Some braces, such as lingual appliances, need more preparation and fitting.
Additionally, frequent visits to the dentist for adjustments like traditional metal braces are likely to increase fees.
If you require advanced treatment planning or digital smile design, these can also increase costs.
If you are looking for an extreme makeover with enhanced aesthetics, you may require a more in-depth treatment plan to help you achieve your goals. Treatments may involve other cosmetic dentistry services that will increase costs in addition to your orthodontic work.
Additional costs to maintain your braces and oral health
Wearing braces also entails additional care to remove food debris that may get caught in the wires or brackets. Also, extra equipment may be needed to keep teeth and gums clean to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
You can help by refraining from eating sticky, sugary substances that stick to your braces. But you may also need to invest in products that can clean underneath the wires and around your braces that can be difficult with a regular toothbrush. Products that may be helpful include:
- Spindle, small-head toothbrushes
- Interdental brushes
- An electric toothbrush with specially designed brush heads for cleaning around brackets
- A Waterpik dental flosser
- Dental wax to alleviate abrasion by braces components rubbing against the soft tissues in the mouth
The cost of these may be a few pounds a week up to £100+ for a Waterpik dental flosser—all adding to the expense of having braces.
Can you avoid any of the above?
There is a more straightforward way of achieving straighter teeth. A method that does not involve:
- Extensive preparatory work
- Endless visits to the dentist
- Diagnostics, such as x-rays
- Trawling around dentists to obtain a treatment price
- Spending money on additional equipment to keep your teeth clean and your mouth healthy.
The answer may lie in at-home invisible aligners—the revolutionary way to get straighter teeth without the expense. We’ll look at these in more detail later in the article, but first, here are the answers to some essential questions.
Can you get braces for free in the UK?
For children, the traditional metal “train-track” braces are available at no cost on the NHS. However, waiting lists may be long due to high demand. Unfortunately, NHS funding is not typically available for adults. It is only provided in exceptional circumstances using a grading system known as Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need – or IOTN for short.
Consequently, if you want orthodontic treatment as an adult in the UK, you will need to fund the cost of braces yourself as a private patient.
How can you save money on braces costs?
There is no easy way to save money on orthodontic treatment that does not involve a lot of time-consuming research. You should, therefore, weigh up whether the cost of your time is worth the effort.
If extensive research is conducted, you should have a list of potential orthodontists. The next step is to arrange a consultation.
As we have already touched on, braces costs are affected by several factors, notwithstanding the complexity of your case. Consequently, an orthodontist will want to assess your situation.
This is likely to involve an initial consultation fee, plus costs for diagnostics, such as x-rays, and makes shopping around for a good deal prohibitive – each first visit could cost upwards of £200.
Although dental insurance is available, it’s not widespread in the UK. Most insurances are unlikely to provide adult orthodontic cover, and even when they do, it’s doubtful that any insurance will meet the entire cost of the treatment anyway.
If you live near a dental school or dental hospital, it may be possible to be treated by trainee dentists under the supervision of a qualified dentist. Treatment is usually free or heavily subsidised, but you will need a referral from your dentist.
The affordable alternative to dental braces
Clear aligners straighten teeth without metal wires or brackets. The polyurethane resin trays are more comfortable than traditional braces and are quickly and easily removed. The ability to take them out when needed makes them an ideal option for adults looking to straighten teeth without the hassle of wearing fixed metal braces all day, every day.
As a discreet alternative to fixed braces, clear aligners are ideal. Custom aligners are issued in batches, and each aligner is worn for around two weeks and then changed for the next one in the treatment plan. Thus, visits to the dentist are less compared to fixed braces treatments.
With Straight My Teeth’s at-home aligners, you can straighten your teeth from the comfort of your own home without setting foot into a dental practice at all.
They’re more discreet and affordable, meaning that more and more people who would never consider traditional braces are now considering clear aligners.
Check out the benefits of clear aligners over fixed metal braces:
|BENEFITS OF ALIGNERS||Aligners||Traditional Fixed Braces|
|Easier to clean||✓||X|
|Easier to maintain oral hygiene||✓||X|
|No oral abrasions to gums or tongue||✓||X|
|Speedier treatment time||✓||X|
|No dietary restrictions||✓||X|
How much do clear aligner braces cost?
Braces cost can vary greatly depending upon brand. Clear aligners cost between £674 and £5000 and are a popular option for people with mild to moderately crooked teeth.
Virtually invisible and with the convenience of being removable, they assimilate easily into people’s lifestyles which fixed braces don’t.
Clear aligners are a great alternative if you’re looking for a way to fix your teeth without metal braces, which can be uncomfortable and inconvenient when worn for long periods.
Clear aligners can also be less expensive than other methods of orthodontic care, so they’re often an affordable option for adults who want straighter teeth but want a more economical solution than braces.
Although treatment with some aligners can set you back several thousand pounds, Straight My Teeth offers a cost-effective solution for straightening your teeth at home for just £674
The process is simple,
- Take a quick 30-second assessment
- Order your impression kit
- Take your impression and send it back
- We’ll deliver your custom aligners to your door
- Start your treatment plan.
Our expert dental team supervises treatments, and if they determine our aligners are not the best option for you, they will refund the cost of your impression kit in total.
Check out our comparison table below to see how much Straight My Teeth braces cost compared to other clear aligners.
|In-office Aligners||£1,500 – £5,000|
|Other At Home Aligners||£1,200 – £4,000|
|StraightMyTeeth||£674 – £799|
Depending on the complexity of your treatment, fixed braces cost from £1,500 – £10,000 but you can also opt for clear aligners from Straight My Teeth for as little as £674
Braces costs vary and depend on the complexity of your situation, what type of braces you choose and other factors, such as your dentist’s fees and diagnostic tests.
Generally, adult braces cost more than children’s orthodontic care because treatment takes longer, and results aren’t always as predictable.
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Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Kishor Kumar Pradhan