Pros, Cons & Costs (2024)

Pros, Cons & Costs (2024)

Fixed braces used to be the only way you could straighten teeth. You can try clear aligners if you want practical alternatives in the UK.

Aligners are clear plastic trays that fit over teeth and gradually shift them into alignment. They work similarly to braces but have a few benefits:

  • Aligners are removable alternatives to braces 
  • Some teeth aligners don’t require you to visit a dentist
  • They can give you a straighter smile in as little as 6 months
  • They’re usually less painful than traditional braces
  • Clear aligners are less visible compared to metal braces
  • Aligner treatment is cheaper and easier to access
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Clear aligners work on mild to severe teeth misalignments. Other names for them include invisible aligners, teeth aligners, and teeth straighteners.

Several clear aligner companies currently offer these treatment options. To help you choose, we compared the best teeth aligners in the UK.

Why Trust Us

To find the best invisible aligners in the UK, we:

  • Spent 220+ hours researching teeth aligner brands in the UK
  • Scanned 200+ customer reviews for each clear aligner brand
  • Consulted 10+ health experts, including licensed orthodontists
  • Talked to 3 industry experts like CEOs of the best aligner brands
  • Reviewed over 20+ research papers on clear aligner treatment
  • Asked 3 of our writers to test different teeth straighteners
  • Had our in-house dentists fact-check our article for accuracy
  • Updated our review every month with the latest information

7 Best Clear Aligners in the UK

Here is a quick comparison of the top aligners in the United Kingdom:

Clear Aligner Brand Type of Aligner Treatment Treatment Costs Treatable Cases Average Treatment Time Starting Treatment Progress Monitoring
NewSmile At-home £1,595 to £1,695 Mild to moderate 4 to 10 months At-home Remote
Smile White Hybrid £1,695 to £3,695 Mild to severe 2 to 7 months In-person Remote
StraightMyTeeth At-home £1,199 to £1,699 Mild to moderate 4 to 8 months At-home Remote
Invisalign In-office £1,800 to £5,000 Mild to severe 12 to 18 months In-person In-person
Straight Teeth Direct At-home £1,650 Mild to moderate 5 to 9 months At-home or in-person Remote
Dr. Smile Hybrid £1,390 to £2,090 Mild to severe 6 to 12 months In-person Remote
Virtuoso Hybrid £1,999 Mild to severe 6 to 9 months At-home In-person and remote

You may want to consider clear aligner treatment if you have:

Below is a closer look at each clear aligner company—including their pros, cons, some customer reviews, and why you should choose them over competitors.

NewSmile

Best At-Home Teeth Aligners
newsmile logo 1x

NewSmile Highlights

Cost £1,595 to £1,695
Average Treatment Time 4 to 10 months
Treatable Cases Mild to moderate teeth misalignments
Available Treatments Fast Track and Night Aligners
Payment and Financing Humm and insurance
Monthly Plans £133 to £141/12 mos (£0 deposit)
£108 to £117/12 mos (£295 deposit)
What’s Included Impression kit (online), aligner trays, a set of retainers, teeth whitening foam, and the NewSmile app (for remote monitoring)

Why We Recommend It

  • Many users find NewSmile’s treatment process easy, convenient, and effective. It gave them visible results, which helped with their confidence.
  • Its representatives are responsive, helpful, and knowledgeable. They can address any questions or concerns and provide guidance when needed.
  • NewSmile is reasonably priced compared to in-office aligners. It has short payment terms and affordable monthly plans that don’t require deposits.

Why Consider Other Brands

  • Few people experienced delays in their treatment after receiving ill-fitting aligners or having to wait for their treatment plan or orders to arrive.
  • Its customer service can be inconsistent. They can be unresponsive if you request refunds or express dissatisfaction with the support they provide. 
  • Some users didn’t get the same results as their treatment plan. Others say their clear aligners failed to move their teeth as expected.

NewSmile UK lets you book a video call with an Impression Specialist who can help you take accurate dental impressions from home.

Smile White

Best for Fast Teeth Straightening
SmileWhite blue logo

Smile White Highlights

Cost £1,695 to £3,695
Average Treatment Time 2 to 7 months
Treatable Cases Mild to severe teeth misalignments
Available Treatments Single Arch or Dual Arch
Payment and Financing Klarna and Laybuy
Monthly Plans £35.30 to £155.00/18 mos
What’s Included Dental visits, teeth whitening, aligner trays, retainers, remote monitoring, and the Perfect Smile Guarantee

Why We Recommend It

  • It provides high-quality care for a cheaper cost than Invisalign. Treatment costs include a free teeth whitening kit (£395), two retainers (£395), a guarantee that covers additional refinements, and three dental visits.
  • Users often praise its fast delivery times, high-quality aligners, and reliable customer service that will support you throughout the treatment.
  • Many reviewers find Smile White’s dental products “highly effective” for whitening and straightening teeth. It can treat mild to complex cases and produce visible improvements over time.

Why Consider Other Brands

  • Smile White can become more expensive than other at-home aligners if you have complex teeth misalignment that can be difficult to treat.
  • Some customers found making payments, requesting refunds, and scheduling in-person appointments difficult. Others experienced cancellations.
  • You may not get information on how long your treatment will last. Several users said their treatments lasted longer than expected. 

Smile White UK requires you to see a dentist. However, it gives you the convenience of remote monitoring and fewer visits to dental clinics.

You can get a free consultation from over 300+ Smile White dentists in the UK.2 From there, your dentist will track your progress online.

Use code NMSMILE for 5% Off

Straight My Teeth

Best Affordable Clear Aligners
StraightMyTeeth logo

Straight My Teeth Highlights

Cost £999 to £1,699
Average Treatment Time 4 to 8 months
Treatable Cases Mild to moderate teeth misalignments
Available Treatments Daytime and Nighttime Clear Aligners
Payment and Financing Monthly payment plans
Monthly Plans £70/12 mos (£340 deposit)
£80/12 mos (£360 deposit)
£110/12 mos (plus deposit)
£125/12 mos (plus deposit)
What’s Included Free retainers and replacements for ill-fitting aligners

Why We Recommend It

  • It has a faster treatment time than most competitors. Other brands usually take up to 10 months. Straight My Teeth can give you a straighter smile in as little as 4 to 8 months.
  • You’ll get value for your money. Treatment costs include up to 9 free retainers and a teeth whitening kit if you opt for an in-person consultation.
  • Starting treatment is easy. The treatment process is straightforward and convenient whether you decide to get a consultation or an impression kit. 

Why Consider Other Brands

  • Straight My Teeth may not get your teeth straightened. Few people say it failed to meet their expectations. You may need more aligners to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Refinement aligners aren’t free. Straight My Teeth charges £300 for additional refinements if you’re not satisfied with the results of your treatment.
  • It only has one Smile Studio. Unless you live near Staines-Upon-Thames, you may not be able to get an in-person consultation.

Notice: According to the Straight My Teeth website, the company isn’t accepting orders at the moment. There is no official statement on its current status and future direction. But you can take a free online assessment and they’ll let you know if they’re taking orders once again. This review was last updated on December 30, 2023.

Read our full review of Straight My Teeth

Invisalign

Best In-Office Aligner Treatment
invisalign logo 1x

Invisalign Highlights

Cost £1,800 to £5,000
Average Treatment Time 12 to 18 months
Treatable Cases Mild to severe teeth misalignments
Available Treatments Daytime aligners
Payment and Financing Depends on the provider
Monthly Plans Depends on the provider
What’s Included Aligner trays

Why We Recommend It

  • Many people prefer Invisalign aligners because they’re more convenient. Unlike traditional braces, they’re removable and easy to clean.
  • Its clear aligners are discreet and comfortable when worn. They have little impact on your speech and daily activities, which makes them practical.
  • Most people who have tried Invisalign say it effectively straightened their teeth. Invisalign also works on overbites and other dental issues.

Why Consider Other Brands

  • Some users didn’t get the results they wanted from Invisalign. You may need a skilled dentist or orthodontist for the treatment to be effective.
  • According to some reviews, Invisalign has poor customer service and retainers that break easily and may cause cuts or discomfort.
  • Additional costs may incur if you switch to a new provider, if your treatment lasts longer than planned or if you need to replace broken retainers.

Invisalign is the most trusted in-office clear aligners in the United Kingdom. The company has treated over 15 million people since its launch.1

Read our full review of Invisalign UK

Straight Teeth Direct

Best for Flexible Payment Options
Straight Teeth Direct logo

Straight Teeth Direct Highlights

Cost £1,650
Average Treatment Time 5 to 9 months
Treatable Cases Mild to moderate teeth misalignments
Available Treatments Basic Pack and Premium Pack
Payment and Financing Humm
Monthly Plans £84.85/24 mos (£30 deposit)
£155.59/12 mos (£30 deposit)
£169/8 mos (£499 deposit)
£589/3 monthly installments
What’s Included Aligner trays and the Straight Teeth Direct app (for remote dental monitoring)

Why We Recommend It

  • We like Straight Teeth Direct for its transparency. Its website gives a clear breakdown of its offered treatment plans, costs, and financing.
  • The company offers bundled treatments and upgrades covering aftercare retainers, teeth whitening, and extended guarantees.
  • Most customers are pleased with its competitive pricing, personalised support, and effective treatments that give them a straighter smile.

Why Consider Other Brands

  • The brand doesn’t offer free teeth whitening or retainers. You’ll need to pay upwards of £1,800 if you want them included with your treatment.
  • Despite having mostly positive reviews, some customers say it failed to straighten their teeth or give them the results they wanted.
  • Treatments may last longer than expected. Some users who had to undergo refinements ended up paying additional costs.

Straight Teeth Direct offers at-home treatment. In most cases, the treatment process begins with an impression kit (£69) which you can order online.

But if you live near Central London, you can get an in-person teeth scan (£79).

Read our full review of Straight Teeth Direct

Dr. Smile

Best Value for Money
dr smile logo

Dr. Smile Highlights

Cost £1,390 to £2,090
Average Treatment Time 6 to 12 months
Treatable Cases Mild to severe teeth misalignments
Available Treatments Easy, Medium, or Complex
Payment and Financing Klarna
Monthly Plans £116 to £174/12 mos
What’s Included In-person consultation, aligner trays, the Dr. Smile app (for remote monitoring), and a satisfaction guarantee

Why We Recommend It

  • Dr. Smile can effectively straighten teeth. Many people who used its aligners reported fast and visible improvements in their teeth alignment.
  • Reviewers appreciate its convenient treatment process, helpful customer service, and user-friendly app for checking in with the dental team.
  • Its clear aligners are made of a high-quality material called ClearQuartz®. They’re discreet, comfortable, easy to use, and low-maintenance.

Why Consider Other Brands

  • Several users had trouble scheduling appointments or reaching customer service. These left them frustrated and caused delays in their treatment.
  • The quality of its products can be inconsistent. Some people received ill-fitting aligners or retainers that had to be replaced.
  • Few customers were disappointed with their treatment results. Its aligners failed to straighten their teeth as expected. 

Dr. Smile UK is a hybrid option that involves seeing a local dentist for an initial consultation. The rest of the treatment can be completed at home.

The brand (formerly PlusDent) is currently partnered with over 200+ dentists registered under the General Dental Council (GDC).4

Virtuoso

Best Hybrid Aligner Treatment
Virtuoso Logo

Virtuoso Highlights

Cost £1,999
Average Treatment Time 6 to 9 months
Treatable Cases Mild to severe teeth misalignments
Available Treatments Upper and lower teeth aligners
Payment and Financing Depends on provider
Monthly Plans Depends on provider
What’s Included Free online consultation, dental visits, retainers, dental scope, toothpaste, aligner case, aligner accessories, and the Instant Dentist app (for remote monitoring)

Why We Recommend It

  • Virtuoso offers personalised treatments. Your provider may schedule more or fewer dental visits, depending on how severe your condition is.
  • The treatment cost includes digital teeth scans, in-office visits, a set of retainers, and any refinement aligners you may need for straighter teeth.
  • The dental scope included with your kit makes it easy for your assigned dentist to watch your teeth straightening progress while you’re at home.

Why Consider Other Brands

  • There isn’t enough information on available financing. We don’t recommend it if you prefer paying for your treatment in monthly installments. 
  • Virtuoso is a relatively new clear aligner brand in the UK. It only launched in 2022 and has limited customer reviews.
  • Since it’s a new brand, there are very few Virtuoso providers across the UK. This can limit your access to the hybrid treatment.

Virtuoso is under the same company that offers Straight Teeth Direct. Its locations are currently limited to Berkshire, London, and Preston.

More Invisible Aligner Brands in the UK

Here are more companies that offer clear aligners to UK locals:

ClearCorrect

ClearCorrect is a reliable and effective way to straighten teeth. It treats different types of misaligned teeth, including severe cases.

Much like Invisalign, you’ll be asked to visit the clinic regularly. Your dentist or orthodontist can fit the aligners into your teeth, replace them, and adjust them as needed.

ClearCorrect UK typically costs £1,800 to £3,000. This makes it an affordable Invisalign alternative if you’re looking into in-office treatments.

Diamond Whites

Diamond Whites (DW) offers both daytime and nighttime treatment. Its at-home aligners treat mild to moderately crooked teeth.

There are two ways to begin treatment with DW aligners. You can order impression kits or visit one of its popup locations across the UK.

Treatments with Diamond Whites cost £1,990. Unfortunately, this won’t include retainers which may cost you £200 per set.

Smile Direct Club

SmileDirectClub is a brand of at-home clear aligners. 

The company announced its bankruptcy liquidation on September 2023, ceasing aligner treatments and ending its lifetime guarantee. 

Its global operations closed on December 2023 after failing to secure the funds needed to buy itself out of bankruptcy. 

How this affects you will depend on which stage of the treatment process you’re in. You can read our customer guide for SmileDirectClub UK. 

Choosing from In-Office vs. At-Home Aligners

Here are five things to consider when deciding on the best clear aligner for your needs:

1. Level of Teeth Misalignment

You can choose from in-office and at-home clear aligners depending on your condition.

In-office clear aligners like Invisalign work on mild, moderate, and severe cases. At-home clear aligners such as StraightMyTeeth and NewSmile work on mild to moderate teeth misalignments.

You should talk to a registered dentist or orthodontist to determine which orthodontic treatment is for you. They can help you explore alternative options, such as clear braces or invisible braces.

2. Treatment Accessibility

Pick a clear aligner brand that makes it easy for you to begin treatment.

In-office treatment will require you to visit a provider in your area for an initial consultation. You also need to see them regularly throughout the treatment.

Most at-home aligner companies offer free teeth impression kits. Although some brands may give you the option to visit a specialist for an in-person scan.

3. Treatment Options

Consider which treatment options are available before deciding on a brand.

In-office clear aligner systems tend to offer structured treatment plans based on your age and condition. Your provider will help you decide which aligner therapy is best for you.

Most clear aligner companies offer daytime and nighttime aligners. You get to choose your treatment. But keep in mind that night aligners may be unsafe and ineffective.

4. Treatment Costs

At-home clear aligners are less expensive than in-office aligners. You want to compare the costs of different brands and find one that fits your budget. 

You can use qualified dental insurance to reimburse some of the treatment costs. Be aware of any price differences if you pay in full or monthly installments. Other costs to consider are:

  • Impression kit (if it isn’t included with your aligner kit)
  • Retainers after completing treatment
  • Lost or stolen clear aligners
  • Touch-up aligners or refinement

If you’re not satisfied with the results of your clear aligner therapy, some brands may offer a lifetime smile guarantee to cover the cost of new aligners. Others may charge for refinements.

5. Treatment Duration

Go for a brand that can give you results within an acceptable time frame.

Each brand has a different average treatment time. This will help you gauge how long you must undergo treatment before you see results.

Remember that the time it takes to get straight teeth will depend on your condition and if you follow the prescribed wear schedule for all your aligners.

Which Clear Aligner is Best For You?

  • Choose NewSmile for the best at-home invisible aligners in the UK. It produces aligners that have a similar quality and feel to Invisalign aligners.
  • Choose Smile White for fast treatment times. This hybrid treatment can straighten crooked teeth within 7 months.
  • Choose Straight My Teeth if you want affordable teeth straightening. You can purchase its clear aligners for £400 to £500 less than what competitors offer.
  • Choose Invisalign for the best in-office aligners in the UK. UK-registered dental professionals oversee treatments at clinics.
  • Choose Straight Teeth Direct if you want a payment plan that fits your budget. The company offers more payment options than most aligner companies in the UK.
  • Choose Dr. Smile if you want to get the most out of your money. It can treat complex issues for a lower cost than other orthodontic treatments.
  • Choose Virtuoso for the best hybrid clear aligners. The brand offers personalised treatments depending on the severity of your dental issues.

How We Chose the Best Invisible Aligners in the UK

To help you choose the best teeth aligner for your needs, we spent 220+ hours researching the top brands in the UK based on the following criteria:

  • Doctor-directed care⁠ — The involvement of dental professionals
  • Safe and efficient onboarding — How the company qualifies patients
  • Treatment process — Ease, safety, and effectiveness of the treatment
  • Total treatment costs — The amount you need to pay for the treatment
  • Value for money — What you get with the amount you’re paying
  • Customer support — The level of support provided by a company
  • User satisfaction — How satisfied the customers are with the products, services, and their overall experience with a brand
  • Guarantees and refunds — Offers additional treatments and refunds for dissatisfied customers and unqualified patients

NewMouth Rating System

We ordered the best kits that met our criteria and had in-house writers test them out throughout their prescribed treatment.

While testing the clear aligners, our team assessed and scored them based on five traits. Each trait was assigned a “weight” so we could calculate their individual rating and weighted average scores on a scale of five.

Here is how we rated the best clear aligners on our list:

Customer Service and After-Sales Support

Customer Experience

Using artificial intelligence, we gathered and analyzed feedback from hundreds of people who tried our list of clear aligners.

This helped us determine the users’ experiences with a brand, including:

  • Its availability for in-person and/or virtual consultations
  • The accessibility of its clear aligners and ease of ordering
  • Whether it gives clear instructions for taking teeth impressions 
  • The fit and comfort of its invisible aligners when worn

Treatment

We compared the brands’ average treatment times and effectiveness for correcting mild and moderate teeth misalignment.

Our team also examined them for any products or services they provided that would help customers during and after their treatment, such as:

  • Access to dental experts who can answer your questions and guide you throughout your treatment
  • A dedicated app that reminds users to switch aligners and allows them to conveniently track their progress and contact support
  • Regular virtual and/or in-person check-ins with a dental professional who can ensure that your treatment is going well
  • Dental treatments such as complimentary teeth whitening

Pricing and Financing

We explored the total treatment cost of invisible aligners, including their upfront prices, flexibility of payment options, eligibility for insurance, and maintenance costs for additional retainers.

Customer Service and After-Sales Support

Our team performed an in-depth investigation of each brand’s customer support when answering queries and resolving issues. We assessed their:

  • Availability
  • Responsiveness
  • Knowledge
  • Reliability
  • Friendliness

We also checked companies to see if they offered guarantees for clear aligner adjustments, refinements, replacements, or refunds if you’re not qualified or if the treatment doesn’t work for you.

Brand Reputation

With the help of advanced AI algorithms, we were able to sort through hundreds of customer reviews that would indicate the level of trust they had in a clear aligner brand.

Common Questions about Clear Aligners

How do I start my clear aligner treatment?

If you opt for in-office aligners such as Invisalign, you’ll need to visit a dentist or orthodontist who offers them.

At-home aligner treatment usually begins with you taking an online quiz and buying a teeth impression kit online.

However, some at-home clear aligner companies have physical locations that you can visit for an in-person consultation.

Which conditions can clear aligners treat?

Invisible aligners are used to correct crooked teeth and some bite problems. These include:

Gapped teeth
Crowded teeth
Crossbites
Overbites
Underbites

In-office invisible aligners work on mild to more severe alignment issues. Meanwhile, at-home clear aligners only treat mild to moderate conditions.

What is the cost of clear aligners in the UK?

In-office clear aligners may cost £1,800 to £5,000. At-home aligners typically cost £1,500 to £1,700. Hybrid aligners cost £1,400 to £3,700.

How long does clear aligner treatment take?

In-office aligner treatments have an average treatment time of 12 to 18 months. At-home aligner treatments usually work for 4 to 10 months. 

Your treatment may last longer or shorter, depending on your condition.

Do clear aligner companies offer payment plans?

Yes. Most brands of invisible aligners offer financing. This allows you to pay for your treatment with affordable monthly installments.

Does insurance cover invisible aligners?

In most cases, you can use your dental insurance to cover a portion of your treatment costs. Ask your insurer if your plan covers clear aligners.

How often do I need to wear my custom aligners?

Daytime aligners must be worn for 20 to 24 hours daily. Night-only clear aligners should be worn for at least 10 continuous hours in the evening.

Make sure to follow the prescribed wear time for your removable aligners. You can remove them when eating, brushing, or flossing your teeth.

What if my aligner treatment doesn’t go as planned?

Talk to your provider or reach out to customer support. Ask them what they can do to help you achieve the results you want. 

A provider or clear aligner company may provide free refinements or charge you for additional aligners, depending on their policies.

What are home teeth aligners made of?

Teeth aligners are made of clear medical-grade plastic. They’re BPA-free and phthalate-free so they’re safe to wear. 

Does it hurt to wear invisible aligners?

Invisible aligners shouldn’t be painful the entire treatment. 

You may experience discomfort when wearing the aligners, but this should subside after a few weeks.

What happens after my aligner treatment is complete?

You’ll need to wear aftercare retainers to maintain your new smile. 

Retainers have to be worn indefinitely for several hours each day so your teeth don’t shift back to their original place.

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