Plenty of adults want a movie-screen smile but shudder at the expense and discomfort of traditional braces. Because they require regular dental visits and in-person care, traditional orthodontics (like braces and Invisalign) come with higher prices and longer timelines. Fortunately, by delivering treatment directly to your doorstep, home teeth aligners can craft movie-star smiles for less time and money.
But the UK home aligner landscape is packed with new companies offering straight teeth solutions — like Straight Teeth Direct, NewSmile, and SmileDirectClub. At first glance, they might seem similar, but each one has its own unique profile and perks.
To help you sort them out, we’ve reviewed and ranked the four best at-home teeth straightening services for price-conscious adults in the UK. Read on as we outline the important details that set these clear aligner companies apart, discuss the pros and cons of at-home treatment, and help you find the right option for you (and your budget)!
Best UK Home Clear Aligners (Ranked)
#1: Straight Teeth Direct
Leveraging the latest orthodontic technology, Straight Teeth Direct aims to ensure data-driven smile transformations. Their virtual check-ins and satisfaction guarantee mean you can expect effective treatment and excellent results.
Straight Teeth Direct Advantages
- During Straight Teeth Direct treatment, you’ll use an app for monthly check-ins with your assigned dentist, who can adjust your treatment and aligners to match your progress.
- Straight Teeth Direct produces their aligners locally in the UK. Most competitors import your aligners from other countries, and it’s not always clear where they’re coming from.
- Straight Teeth Direct’s price covers all the aligners in your treatment plan plus five extra months’ worth for refinements.
- Straight Teeth Direct offers multiple payment plans, two of which do not require a credit check.
- The majority of Straight Teeth Direct’s online reviews are excellent, specifically highlighting their treatment effectiveness and customer service.
Straight Teeth Direct Drawbacks
- Straight Teeth Direct is focused on delivering a remote service and only partners with one physical location (in London) where you can get your teeth scanned. Other companies have locations in multiple cities, making it easier for customers to get started with treatment.
- Straight Teeth Direct doesn’t offer a nighttime-only plan like some of their competitors, so you’ll need to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours per day.
Virtuoso is one of the first companies to offer UK customers hybrid treatment not as an extra option, but as their standard care approach. By incorporating both in-person appointments and remote oversight, their treatment is a unique blend of individualised patient care and convenience. They might be slightly more expensive than other options, but you get a lot for your money.
- Virtuoso Aligners are owned by the same company as Straight Teeth Direct — so you can be confident they’re quality, research-backed products.
- They allow for flexible hybrid treatment, which combines the personalised care of a few in-office appointments with the superior convenience of remote oversight.
- Their dental scope allows for robust remote monitoring. Since it is small and easy to maneuver, you can capture all surfaces of your teeth in significant detail. It’s as close to in-person care as remote treatment gets.
- Virtuoso includes your remote monitoring check-ins and equipment, any refinements, and one set of aftercare retainers.
- The Instant Dentist app gives you a direct line of communication to your doctor.
- Fully at-home treatments typically direct your questions to customer service representatives.
- Compared to many other options, Virtuoso is pretty new, having launched in February 2022. This doesn’t mean it is a bad company, but there’s not much customer feedback out there yet.
- At £1,999, Virtuoso is more expensive than other options on this list. However, that price is lower than other treatments that incorporate in-person care.
- Virtuoso does not offer its own financing, so you need to rely on your individual dentist or a third-party financier. It would be nice if Virtuoso offered their own plans.
SmileDirectClub was one of the first companies to offer at-home clear aligner treatment and continues to be the most popular option. Founded in 2014, SmileDirectClub has raised over $60 million from investors and has treated more than 1.5 million patients. And in 2019, they made their treatment available in the UK, quickly establishing multiple SmileShops thanks to a partnership with Well Pharmacy.
They offer more physical locations than most of the competition (along with impression kits), and they’ve got a lot more experience, so you can expect a consistent, streamlined customer experience.
- They have experience treating over 1.5 million cases, so they’re familiar with various conditions, questions, and complications.
- SmileDirectClub has eleven SmileShops throughout the UK, plus multiple pop-ups throughout the year. You can visit one of these retail locations to have your teeth scanned and get approved for treatment. Other providers require you to mail in an impression of your teeth — a slower and more cumbersome process.
- If you’re unsure about wearing your aligners 22 hours per day, SmileDirectClub also has a nighttime-only plan that only requires ten hours of overnight wear.
- SmileDirectClub offers full refunds if you change your mind within 30 days of starting treatment, prorated refunds for unopened aligners after that, and a lifetime guarantee on your smile.
- SmileDirectClub’s mobile app allows for streamlined remote monitoring and communication with customer support.
- SmileDirectClub has received some negative feedback about their customer support. Online reviews warn of long delivery delays and inconsistent communication when issues arise during treatment.
- SmileDirectClub once had a manufacturing partnership with Invisalign, but since that partnership dissolved, they’ve been producing their aligners in-house.
- SmileDirectClub only requires you to submit photos of your teeth every 90 days, which is less often than other companies that offer remote monitoring.
NewSmile joined the at-home clear aligner scene in the US and Canada in 2020. Though their expansion to the UK market happened more recently, they’re quickly making a name for themselves due to their high quality, affordable pricing, and flexible treatments.
- NewSmile offers a great value for your treatment. At £1,395 they have the second lowest price in the UK, and are just a fraction of the cost of traditional in-office options.
- NewSmile loads their aligner kit with free extras. Your impression kit, retainers, and a whitening kit are all included in the cost of your treatment. Other providers charge extra for each and every one of those items.
- NewSmile offers two different treatment options. You can wear your aligners full time (22 hours per day) or opt for nighttime only treatment, which requires just 10 hours of daily wear.
- NewSmile’s payment plans don’t require a credit check. So no matter your credit score, you can still break your treatment up in 12 manageable monthly payments.
- Most people don’t have experience taking their own dental impressions. This process can be a bit challenging, so some customers prefer beginning their treatment with an in-person scan. Unfortunately, NewSmile does not have any scanning locations, so you’ll need to opt for the impression kit.
- Since NewSmile only recently joined the UK scene, the majority of their online reviews are from their customers in the US and Canada. There’s still plenty of value in these reviews, but many prefer to hear from people in their own community.
NewSmile - The Bottom Line
NewSmile offers great value at an affordable price. If budget is top of mind for you, NewSmile may be worth considering for your at-home clear aligner treatment.
Special Offer: Get £100 off your NewSmile aligners (New Year Sale)
Which Home Aligner Option is Best for You?
Choose Straight Teeth Direct if:
You want consistent dentist oversight, five months of refinements included in the cost, and the latest in orthodontic technology all for a reasonable price.
Choose Virtuoso if:
You want a high level of provider involvement and don’t mind paying a little extra for it.
Pros and Cons of Home Teeth Straightening
Faster treatment? Lower prices? Better looking? All of this might have you saying “sign me up.” But no teeth straightening method is perfect, and home aligners aren’t ideal for everyone. People with more severe conditions, for example, might be better off with braces or Invisalign. This is an important decision, so make sure you look at your options from all angles before diving in.
To help you decide if home teeth alignment is right for you, take a moment to evaluate these pros and cons:
- Home teeth aligners cost significantly less than traditional orthodontic treatment — typically somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 the cost of braces or Invisalign.
- By eliminating the need for monthly dental visits, home aligners free up some time in your schedule. However, you should still go to the dentist before beginning treatment to make sure you don’t have any cavities (or anything else that needs addressing).
- Treatment only takes around six months to complete, which is significantly shorter than the average duration of in-person treatment.
- Home aligner treatment is designed to be as discreet as possible. Some providers have even started offering a nighttime-only option for people who want to keep their treatment truly under wraps.
- Home aligners are only designed to treat mild-to-moderate cases of spacing and crowding, and minor bite issues. They aren’t effective for severe cases of misalignment.
- Your provider won’t take X-rays of your teeth before creating your treatment plan. Before getting started, we recommend visiting your local dentist to make sure there isn’t anything problematic going on beneath the surface of your teeth or gums.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do home aligner companies prepare my treatment plan?
After you submit your impression kit or teeth scans, a dental professional will analyse them and use specialised software to create digital models of your teeth and aligners for every stage of the process. The company will send you digital images of the treatment plan for your approval before beginning production.
How long does home aligner treatment take?
For most companies, the average treatment time is six months. However, your treatment might be longer or shorter depending on your condition’s severity and how diligently you follow your prescribed wear schedule.
How do I get started with home aligner treatment?
You will need to order an impression kit from your chosen home aligner company. The kit includes putty and trays, which you’ll use to make moulds of your top and bottom dental arches, then mail them to the company. This process can be difficult, so most companies offer physical locations where you can get free teeth scans from professionals.
Which conditions can home aligners treat?
Home aligners are primarily designed to treat mild-to-moderate cases of crowding and spacing, along with some mild bite issues. If your case is severe or includes a jaw misalignment like overbite or underbite, you might be better off with an in-office treatment like Invisalign.
How often do I need to wear my home teeth aligners?
You’ll need to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours per day, removing them only to eat and drink. If you choose the nighttime-only plan from SmileDirectClub or NewSmile, you’ll only have to wear them for ten consecutive hours overnight.
What if my treatment doesn’t go as planned?
Each home aligner company has different refund and warranty policies. In most cases, you cannot receive a refund after you begin treatment, although the company may work with you to adjust your plan and develop new aligners.
Are financing/payment plans available?
Most home aligner companies offer both financing and payment plans. A few partner with third-party companies that provide financing but require credit checks to qualify. Straight Teeth Direct offers their own financing options for which everyone qualifies.
What are home teeth aligners made of?
All the home aligner companies we reviewed use clear, BPA-free plastic to make their products.
What happens after my home aligner treatment is complete?
At the end of your home aligner treatment, you’ll need to wear custom-fit retainers to keep your teeth from shifting back to their original positions. Most providers recommend wearing your retainers for close to 24 hours per day for around two weeks. After that, you’ll only have to wear them at night. Some providers include retainers with the initial cost of treatment, while others charge an additional £50–149 for them after treatment is finished.
Does it hurt to wear home teeth aligners?
Customers often report experiencing tightness or discomfort during the first 1–2 days of wearing a new set of aligners, after which the discomfort subsides. Some companies provide “chewies” or other devices to help ensure a more comfortable aligner fit.