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Invisalign on the NHS: Is It Possible and How Much Does It Cost?

Contributors:  

If you are considering orthodontic treatment you may have wondered: Can you get Invisalign on the NHS?

Many people ask this question because traditional braces are available on the NHS in some circumstances, so it’s a common assumption that the Invisalign system is as well.  

This article will answer the following questions about Invisalign treatment on the NHS and more.

nhs invisalign
Can I get Invisalign on the NHS?
  • What is Invisalign treatment and how does it work?
  • Is Invisalign treatment available on the NHS?
  • How much does Invisalign treatment cost compared to the NHS?
  • Do NHS dentists do Invisalign aligners?
  • What are alternative options available on the NHS?

Unfortunately, very few people find they are a candidate for any type of orthodontic treatment with the NHS. This is because the criteria are very stringent and even those that qualify may find that their options are limited. 

But, before we get started with treatments options that are available on the NHS, let's discuss what Invisalign aligners are and how it works. 

Why get Invisalign aligners? 

Invisalign is a popular and well-known brand of clear aligners that can treat a range of orthodontic issues. Other types of clear aligners can generally only treat mild cases, but Invisalign aligners can treat up to 90% of cases. 

In fact, Invisalign prides itself on having the most advanced aligners on the market. So if you are worried that your case may be too complex, don't worry, it's worth getting assessed by an Invisalign doctor as you may still be eligible.

In comparison to the traditional fixed braces, Invisalign aligners are much less noticeable and far more comfortable to wear. Treatment consists of a series of custom-made, clear plastic aligners that you change roughly every two weeks to continue treatment.

The best part about these aligners is that they are removable, so eating and cleaning your teeth and device are much easier than with fixed braces.

Appointments with your Invisalign doctor are face to face unlike many other brands of clear aligners, and you also have access to online monitoring via the app.

Invisalign aligners work by applying pressure to different areas of your mouth to gradually straighten your teeth and align your bite. This is similar to traditional braces, except instead of uncomfortable and sometimes painful braces adjustment appointments, you just change your set of aligners to a new set.

Some people with very mild orthodontic issues may only need an aligner on their bottom or top teeth

Although Invisalign can treat a wide range of orthodontic cases, not everyone is eligible. Find out if you are a candidate by taking Invisalign’s online Smile Assessment or book an appointment with your nearest provider for a consultation. 

Is Invisalign available on the NHS?

The short answer is no, the NHS doesn't cover Invisalign treatment, so if you want to get these aligners you will need to go privately through an Invisalign provider.

The orthodontic treatment options offered by the NHS are traditional fixed metal braces, and for growing children, certain orthodontic appliances are available as well.

However, getting any orthodontic treatment with the NHS can be difficult as you must meet their criteria for treatment. This is because, as you might imagine, they prioritise orthodontic treatment for dental health and not your appearance.  

If you are under the age of 18 then you are more likely to be a candidate for free orthodontic treatment. However, if you are over the age of 18 then you will only be eligible your case is deemed medically necessary. 

Your NHS dentist will assess your case using a rating system called the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN).

If you score 4 or 5 on this scale then you are eligible for NHS orthodontic treatment. A score of 3 will mean your dentist will assess the overall appearance of your smile and make a decision.

If you score a 1 or 2 on the IOTN scale then you will not be eligible for orthodontic treatment with the NHS. 

In the following video Dr Gareth Williams explains NHS orthodontics compared to private orthodontics:

Dr Gareth Williams BDS (Wales) MJDF RCS (Eng) Dip.Clin.Hyp (Staff) MOrth RCS (Ed) DDSc (Ortho) (L'Pool), Registered Specialist Orthodontist, runs through the advantages and disadvantages of NHS and private orthodontic treatment. Follow me on Instagram! @dr.williamsortho (Dentistry) Private treatment includes ceramic braces, Invisalign and Lingual braces.

What does Invisalign cost in the UK and with the NHS?

Invisalign cost in the UK ranges from dentist to dentist and between practices. The price depends on your individual case including the severity and treatment timescale.  

As mentioned above Invisalign is not available on the NHS, nor are any other brands of clear aligners. If you are considering treatment you will need to opt for private treatment and go through an Invisalign provider

Traditional metal braces are available and orthodontic treatment will cost you £282 if you are eligible for treatment.

Those under the age of 18 that are eligible for braces will get their treatment for free with the NHS. Ceramic braces that are similar to metal braces (but less noticeable) are another option that isn't available with the NHS. 

For comparison, if you were to go privately for traditional metal braces they would cost between £1,500 and £3,000. For ceramic braces, you could be paying between £2,000 – £6,000.

Again, prices will range between dental practices and depend on your individual case and treatment timescale.  

The following table summarises the cost of the orthodontic options discussed and whether or not they are available on the NHS:

Type of Appliance

Approximate Price

Available on the NHS?

NHS price 

Invisalign

£1,500 - £5,500

No

N/A

Ceramic

£2,000 - £6,000

No 

N/A

Traditional metal

£1,500 - £3,000

Yes

  • Free for people up to 18 years old

  • £282.80 in England for those who are eligible

If you want to know how much Invisalign treatment might cost you it's best to consult your nearest Invisalign doctor.

Choose a provider in the best location suited to your needs (near your house or work), or pick a few and shop around for the best prices. 

Conclusion

The Invisalign system isn't available on the NHS, if you want treatment you will need to go to an Invisalign provider. The cost will depend on the complexity of your case and the length of your treatment.

invisalign nhs discount
Is Invisalign free on the NHS?

However, if you do want to get orthodontic treatment with the NHS you may find it difficult. To get braces your case must be assessed and deemed medically necessary.

If you are a candidate and under 18 years old, orthodontic treatment with the NHS is free, but if you're older than 18 it will cost you the standard NHS price of £282.80.

Other options that are less visible than metal braces such as ceramic braces are also not available on the NHS. They are similar in cost to Invisalign treatment, however, they are fixed and more noticeable than Invisalign aligners. 

If you want to get a rough idea of how much Invisalign treatment might cost you, consult an Invisalign doctor. The first step is to book an appointment and find out if you're eligible for treatment. Regardless of the option you choose, we always recommend scheduling a general checkup with your dentist before starting any at-home treatment, as it's important to deal with any untreated cavities or gum disease before wearing aligners.

FAQS

Is Invisalign free on the NHS?

You cannot get treatment with the Invisalign system on the NHS. If you would like to get these clear aligners you must go through an official Invisalign provider for treatment.

Do NHS dentists do Invisalign?

Many dentists have a combination of NHS and private patients. So you may well be able to get Invisalign treatment from your usual NHS dentist, but you'll need to be seen as a private patient.

How much does Invisalign cost on the NHS?

It is free to get orthodontic treatment on the NHS if you are under 18, and standard NHS rates apply if you are over 18. However, Invisalign is not one of the available treatment options. If you want treatment with the NHS you will be offered the traditional fixed metal braces.

Invisalign on the NHS: Is It Possible and How Much Does It Cost?
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Contributors:
Amanda combines her medical background with her love for writing to bring you informed and accurate content at Dentaly.org.
Sources

BOS. What Is The IOTN? Consulted 3rd February 2022.

Prices stated are indicative only and are based on publicised treatment prices at dental clinics across the UK.