With a healthy, straight smile being a priority for both children and adults these days, orthodontic treatment is becoming an essential part of life for many in the UK. For Brits interested in getting braces, whether for themselves or their children, it is important to understand the options available as well as typical costs. To help we have assembled this guide based on our research of the UK market for braces.
Average Cost of UK Braces
The average cost of braces in the UK is around £2,500, but prices can range from under £1,000 to over £5,000. Orthodontic treatment cost is highly variable because each case is different—some people have very mild crowding while others may experience missing teeth, significant crowding or protrusions.
Additionally, cost is impacted by age of patient, geographic location (e.g., braces in London can cost more), type of clinic and type of braces. In fact, some types of braces cost 2X or 3X more than other, more economical types. Patients can choose between a number of different options that can greatly impact the price, including Invisilign, Lingual, fixed metal, clear ceramic and Damon (metal or clear). Below, we show average cost of braces in the UK and assess key factors that influence the cost.
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NHS vs Private Braces
More than 200,000 people receive free braces on the NHS each year, typically children under the age of 18 with a clear health need. While getting braces from the NHS can save you thousands of pounds, there is a long wait of 18 to 24 months to start treatment. While braces are initially free to those who qualify, if you lose or damage a removable brace beyond repair, expect to pay £70.10 each or £140.20 for both arches.
Who Can Get Free NHS Braces?
The NHS decides who can receive free braces according to health need. Patients are rated using the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) system to determine who is eligible. Patients scoring 4 or 5 will be accepted into to program; some category 3 cases are eligible as well, depending on severity of the individual case.
Types of Braces in the UK
The total cost of orthodontic treatment primarily depends on the specific type of braces you choose. There are five main types: metal, ceramic, lingual, Damon and Invisalign. Below, we assess costs, pros and cons of each one. When choosing, you'll need to consider your budget, cosmetic appearance and the treatment time. Cheaper types of braces (e.g., fixed metal) tend to be more visible and aesthetically displeasing, but they also align your teeth more quickly.
Average Cost of Clear, Ceramic Braces
Clear ceramic braces are available to those wanting the speed of a fixed brace, but prefer to have inconspicuous braces. Expect to pay up to 50% more than traditional metal braces for clear brackets that blend into teeth for a more aesthetic appearance. All in, the average price of clear, ceramic braces is between £2,000 to £5,000 or more.
Average Cost of Damon Braces
Damon braces may cost between £2,500 and £4,500 for most cases, although we've heard of prices as low as £1,500 for minimal movement and as much as £6,000 for more complicated cases. While similar to traditional braces in that they involve brackets fixed to the outside of the teeth, they offer an advanced wire-holding design without elastics which is meant to be easier to clean. However, wires can pop out of the braces more frequently than metal braces, leading to extra emergency visits to the orthodontist. A clear version is available for a cost of about 50% more than the metal version, for those prioritizing aesthetics.
Average Cost of Invisilign Braces
While we've seen on-line offers for as little as £1,500 to treat mild crowding, Invisilign braces typically cost between £2,500 and to £5,500. A quick look at Groupon and you may find some other brands on offer for up to 50%-60% off for one invisible, removable brace (e.g., £999). Considering another brand other than Invisilign might be an option worth looking into if you're really on a budget but want an invisible, removable brace.
Average Cost of Lingual Braces
Lingual braces are amongst the most expensive of the braces options, with prices typically costing £3,000 to £8,000. Some people are willing to pay higher prices because they are inconspicuous. It may be that no one will know you're wearing them, since the brackets are fixed to the back of your teeth. While hidden from view, they may be uncomfortable for your tongue, especially in the beginning.
Average Cost of Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces are usually the most affordable option, with prices ranging from £2,000 to just over £3,000 for treatment. Metal braces are often the best option for children. Not only is the price attractive to parents but children can customized their look by choosing a colour elastic for each bracket. Metal braces, like other fixed bracket styles, can be uncomfortable. Keeping wax on hand can help protect the insides of cheeks while they heal from any irritation.