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How much do braces cost? UK & Europe edition

Braces cost

Key points

  • Braces cost can vary depending on your dentist or orthodontist, type of braces, age, country, and more.
  • Different dentists have different expenses in their clinics such as rent, staff, lab fees, and materials. Some will even charge extra per appointment!
  • If you want straight teeth you definitely need some type of braces or clear aligners. But before starting treatment, you must know the cost upfront as this prevents nasty surprises.

How much do braces cost?

Braces prices are not universal!

In most countries, braces prices entirely depend on your teeth and local taxes. Usually you would get a “from…to…” price list. You’ll need to schedule an in-clinic appointment to receive a quote after having discussed your options. The price will also be higher if you seek orthodontic treatment from a specialist who provides cosmetic orthodontics than from a regular dentist.

Braces with fixed fees

There are some exceptions where braces price is fixed, like in the Netherlands. There, the price of dental treatments is reimbursed by insurance at a fixed by the government value. No need to say that all dentists have to charge according to a set fee schedule depending on the type of braces.

Our price for invisible aligners is fixed at £1,790/2,099€ with no hidden costs, so you know exactly what to expect upfront, before any commitment.

Braces types from most affordable to expensive

Straight Teeth Direct clear braces fixed price: £1,790/2,099€

We cut costs by having our own lab and not outsourcing product manufacturing. On top of that, we’re always investing in high tech manufacturing and design to lower aligners cost even further! There are no hidden costs and we provide you with all guarantees you need for a safe and effective treatment.

Our dentists supervise your progress remotely so that you can cut out visits expenses. All is done via the app, making the orthodontist’s work more flexible and scalable.

Fixed metal braces cost: up to £2,500/3,000€

Lab fees for fixed metal brackets can go all the way up to £56/65€. The final price is then a combination of lab fees, dentist’s chair time, monthly appointments over the course of more than 2 years, staff and machines.

Accelerated fixed or removable braces

Also called 6 months braces and spring aligners. 6 month braces usually work around your front 10 teeth, while spring aligners can only move your front 4 teeth.

Lab fees go all the way up to £650/800€, so the dentist usually charges up to £3000/3500€. This is due to review appointments and the need for IPR (interproximal reduction) to make space for teeth to move.

You often will need clear aligners to finish tooth movement to perfection, as accelerated braces don’t give detailed finishing.

Invisalign® cost and other clear aligner brands

Big invisible aligner companies like Invisalign® cost, on average, more than £3500/3750€. With this solution the dentist has to pay a lab fee of around £1,250/1,500€ for the manufacturing of the custom made devices.

Lingual braces cost: £7750/9000€

Lingual braces are by far the most expensive. Worst case scenario, lab fees can go all the way up to £1,700/2,000€.

Are braces costs covered by your insurance?

Are braces covered in the UK?

While there is a wide variety of insurance companies in the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) has always had the mission of providing all health care to the whole population for an affordable price – when not for free.

So, are there braces available on the NHS? Fortunately, yes!

Braces are completely free of charge for people under the age of 18! For adults, on the other hand, it is not that simple. They need to get a proper evaluation and only then, if the case is too severe and provokes health related issues, will it be considered by the NHS. That’s why people are turning to alternatives such as private insurance companies when it comes to orthodontic treatment.

Are braces covered in Europe?

Some countries allow you to claim tax refunds over your orthodontic treatment. However, usually it does not apply to purely cosmetic treatments.

The European Federation of Orthodontic Specialists Associations and Committee of European Health Insurances have written a comprehensive report about insurance coverage and braces cost in different countries in Europe.

Teeth straightening cost for adults

Braces cost without insurance coverage are high. Unfortunately, adult orthodontics are hardly ever covered by insurance. There are some exceptions though, but these tend to be for severe cases of jaw or bite abnormalities which cause breathing or eating complications. Even though criteria varies by country, here are some examples:

Teeth straightening criteria in europe

If you are getting braces for any of these reasons, your insurance/tax refund may also then only apply to certain types of braces or treatment locations. If the full treatment is not claimable, you may still be able to get a partial refund for dental exams, x-rays or other health based treatments.

Teeth straightening for children and teenagers

For children and teenagers more countries actually offer coverage for a comprehensive treatment. This type of treatment focuses on achieving a perfect bite and often involves teeth extractions and 2 years of treatment.

If someone just wants to improve their smile with a cosmetic orthodontic approach, it is usually not covered and needs to be privately paid for.

Remember that each case is different and there’s no one better to advise you than your local dentist or aligner provider!

The truth behind clear braces offers online

We bet you’ve stumbled upon local dentists offering teeth straightening deals 50% to 70% cheaper than regular costs on sites like Groupon or LivingSocial. The issue with this is that websites take away a 40% to 50% commission over the voucher price. This immediately means the dentist is losing money, unless they can charge you extra.

So, be careful not to be dubbed when looking into those options. Always do your research and contact the clinic before committing to such deals.

ALWAYS read the disclaimer!

Sometimes photos and generic terms like “clear braces offer” or “cheap invisible aligners” can be misleading! It’s not even clear if you will be getting clear fixed braces or invisible removable aligners.

In other cases, you might find that T&Cs state the offer only applies for a maximum number of individual aligners and a more severe case will be charged extra. Let’s look at a few potentially misleading fine print examples:

  • “Consultation required; full refund if found unsuitable. Same day appointments accepted. Retainer is not included for the aftercare. If teeth are deemed too severe a surcharge will be offered for a more in depth treatment”
  • “Number of sessions required depends on the individual. Max. 6 sessions included. £90/75€ surcharge per additional appointment if required. Please allow up to 60 minutes per session.“ 

As you can see, the information provided is not always easy to follow.

Remember to keep an eye out for lines like “Suitable for only mild and some moderate cases of crowding”, as this clearly means the deal only applies if you need no more than 8 to 12 aligners. Any case more severe than that will incur extra costs.

Carefully check what’s included in your plan

Is the price advertised for either top or bottom teeth, or both dental arches?

Also don’t forget to make sure that aftercare is included. In most cases, retainers are not covered, adding up an additional cost of up to £250/285€. Let’s not forget that retainers are an essential part of the process if you don’t want your teeth to move back after the effort and money you’ve invested in transforming your smile.

Bait & Switch techniques in-clinic

What dentists won’t tell you is that they often use these flash sale offers to attract you into the practice, and after examining you they will try and sell you the option that is most profitable to them.

Aligners are usually the most expensive option for dentists regarding all the expenses around it. So it’s no shock when they recommend you get fixed accelerated braces and claim you’ll get much better results, or that your case isn’t suitable for invisible aligners. Sometimes, if a clinic gives you the option for teeth aligners, they’ll make a severe case out of you. This will add up to the original advertised cost.

Your checklist when comparing braces cost!

So here are the 5 most important things you need to look out for when comparing braces quotes:

how to compare braces quotes

  • Make sure you’re actually getting invisible aligners, not fixed braces. Don’t forget that pictures can be deceiving! In case you have doubts, it’s always a good idea to contact the practice directly.
  • Understand if the price includes both dental arches and all aligners needed to achieve your smile goals.
  • Does the treatment package include a set of retainers to keep your teeth straight at the end?
  • Check if they offer you any guarantees, most places charge around £100/100€ for each new aligner needed.
  • Last but not least, check the price in your currency before going any further.

Still have doubts? Check out our video below and get further answers to your aligners price questions.

Braces cost FAQs

  • Are braces free in the UK for under 18?

The National Health Service (NHS) provides dental care at an affordable price, when not for free. Keeping this in mind, yes! People under 18 CAN get braces for free in the UK! Providing their dentist agrees that they actually need to wear braces for functional reasons not cosmetic ones.

  • What’s the average braces cost in Europe and the UK?

– Straight Teeth Direct: £1,79/2,099€

– Fixed metal braces: up to £2,500/3,000€

– Accelerated fixed or removable braces: £3000/3500€

– Other aligner providers: £3500/3750€

– Lingual braces: £7750/9000€

  • Is teeth straightening for adults covered by insurance?

Usually adult braces (or adult aligners) are not covered by insurance. Exceptions may arise though when you have a severe case that causes you breathing or eating difficulties. This varies by country, so it is important to check it thoroughly with the relevant insurance company.

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