Can you expect to be paying through your teeth or will it be smiles all round? All your Invisalign payment questions answered
Since we published our Invisalign review, our tester’s 16-month treatment has come to an end. The results were fantastic and Alan’s teeth will remain in position so long as he keeps wearing his nightly retainer whenever he goes to sleep. Otherwise, the days of drinking fizzy or alcoholic drinks through straws to avoid staining the clear retainers are, finally, a thing of the past.
Invisalign isn’t a cheap option, but we would definitely recommend treatment if you can afford it and feel self-conscious about your teeth. Want to know how much Invisalign costs and if there are ways of getting it cheaper? Here are all your pricing questions answered.
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How much does Invisalign cost?
Typically between £1,500 and £7,000.
That huge range is simply because treatment is tailored to each customer. Mine cost £2,925 – or 13 months at £225 per surgery visit – which is on the competitive side (especially as it actually took 16 months due to my stubborn teeth).
In short, the cost of Invisalign chiefly comes down to the state of your teeth and how many sets of retainers are required to reposition them. The longer the dentist estimates the process will take, the more sets of retainers will need to be made and the more visits you’ll be making to the surgery for checkups. That all costs money.
The good news is that though we can’t give you a definitive answer here, your dentist will be able to – and most will offer a free consultation with no obligation to buy. Just be sure to ask whether you need to pay more if your treatment takes longer than expected (mine was capped, but not all treatment plans are).
Before you take the plunge, I would advise shopping around because prices can vary wildly. Bear in mind, however, that you’ll need to keep visiting the dental surgery for checkups, so picking somewhere local can work out better in the long run – even if it isn’t the least expensive option.
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Is Invisalign cheaper if your teeth aren’t that bad?
The short answer is “yes”, but “that bad” is really up to a dentist to decide. Some gappy teeth might be easier to move and correct the spacing between than others which are less obviously crooked and require more retainers at greater expense.
It’s also worth noting that you may be able to just correct your top or bottom set of teeth, and that will bring the cost down – though possibly not by as much as you might think. Alan Martin, our tester, considered going “top only”, but this would have only taken £450 off the £2,925 bill. In the end, Alan decided to just pay full whack and get both sets done at the same time.
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Can I pay for Invisalign monthly?
Most dentists will provide this option and it certainly makes Invisalign more affordable in the short term. Visit your local practitioners and ask about their payment plan options.
Just be aware that paying monthly carries a risk as you’ll potentially have over a year’s worth of high-cost monthly instalments to fork out for. If you lose your job or have a sudden emergency you need to find cash for, you’ll still be on the hook (and there may be fines for missing any payments).
In short, be sure you can afford your proposed Invisalign treatment plan no matter what, and read your contract’s small print to find out what happens if you suddenly can’t afford the instalments, so there are no nasty surprises.
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Can you get Invisalign on the NHS?
Not at the moment. While the NHS website explains that orthodontic treatment is available to those under the age of 18 for free “if a dentist feels they need it”, this will employ traditional fixed metal braces rather than clear, removable Invisalign retainers.
Is Invisalign cheaper than braces?
Traditional metal wire braces are typically cheaper than Invisalign, but not by as much as you would expect. Generally speaking, they cost between £1,000 and £3,500 – unless you happen to be under the age of 18 and qualify for NHS treatment.
If money is tight, it’s worth asking about both. Just be aware of the big disadvantages that traditional braces have – their visibility and the fact that they can’t be removed until your treatment is complete. Invisalign is both (nearly) invisible and the retainers can be taken out for meals.
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Are there cheaper alternatives to Invisalign?
There are, but with orthodontics you really get what you pay for.
Part of the reason Invisalign is expensive is that it’s supervised by professional orthodontists who regularly see you and can adapt the treatment as it progresses. For some alternatives, after the initial scan, the retainers are fixed and you won’t see another orthodontist in person again, which is part of how the cost is kept down.
This might work out just fine for you, but if your teeth prove troublesome such a “hands-off” approach may cause serious issues down the line. Before the company went bankrupt in 2023, Smile Direct Club was subject to complaints from patients who developed subsequent dental problems and made refunds conditional on dissatisfied patients signing an NDA to prevent them from discussing their experience.