Right now, the newest popular orthodontic treatments are at-home clear aligners — like those from Straight Teeth Direct, PlusDent, and SmileDirectClub. However, at-home treatment doesn’t work for everyone, and some people are simply more comfortable with hands-on care from a dentist or orthodontist.
That’s where Invisalign and ClearCorrect come in. They’re two of the U.K.’s most popular options for in-person clear aligner treatment. But how do they compare? And which should you choose? This is your go-to guide for all the key details that will help you determine the best option for you.
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Clear aligners are older than most people realize. The prototype appeared in 1959! However, they didn’t go mainstream until Invisalign came along.
Invisalign launched their products in the U.S. in 1998 after receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration, and they did so with a massive advertising campaign. They were the only widely available clear aligner system for nearly a decade, which gave them a significant lead on the competition, and they’re still the world’s most prominent aligner producer today.
To date, Invisalign has helped over 15 million patients achieve their dream smiles. They work with more than 100,000 dentists and orthodontists worldwide, many of whom are in the U.K. No other aligner company can match their experience and reputation.
Invisalign’s earliest competitors were small operations established by individual doctors, and ClearCorrect was one of them.
In 2006, Dr. Willis Pumphrey wanted to give his patients a more affordable version of Invisalign, so he handcrafted his own aligners. He quickly realized there was significant demand for clear aligner treatment and in 2008, he switched to mechanized manufacturing.
This move took ClearCorrect from a small operation to a genuine Invisalign competitor. Over the years, ClearCorrect has redesigned its product lines, developed better plastics, and expanded its network of doctors — taking it from Invisalign copy to genuine competitor.
When you’re evaluating a teeth-straightening treatment, you’ve got plenty of things to consider — from pricing to customer support. But first and foremost, you need to know that it works. Good news: both Invisalign and ClearCorrect excel here. Since both treatments require regular, hands-on care and can incorporate attachments, your dentist can make significant changes to your tooth alignment and even impact the position of your jaw.
These two are both more powerful than services like SmileDirectClub, which let you administer aligner treatment from home, but they’re not identical.
- Corrects nearly the full range of orthodontic conditions, including certain jaw concerns.
- Made by Align Technology, the first large-scale aligner producer.
- Uses scalloped aligners that match the gum line.
- Invisalign’s software, ClinCheck, allows for collaboration between Invisalign’s team and your doctor.
- Can correct most orthodontic concerns, though it is more limited than braces.
- Made by Straumann using proprietary ClearQuartz plastic.
- Use straight-cut aligners that generate extra force.
- ClearCorrect’s software, ClearPilot, is used to fully plan treatment, including communication with the company.
For many years, Invisalign and ClearCorrect sourced their plastic from the same supplier: Zendura. However, Invisalign ended their partnership with the well-known dental materials company in 2013. At that point, they shifted to making their own material, called SmartTrack.
They designed SmartTrack specifically for aligners. According to Invisalign, making this change allowed them to offer 50% faster treatment times, 75% more tooth movement predictability, and increased comfort.
ClearCorrect continued with the original plastic for several years after Invisalign stopped. However, in 2020, they developed their own proprietary material specifically for aligners, called ClearQuartz. According to the company, it offers superior flexibility while still generating the force required for moving the teeth.
With both companies, the foundation of your treatment plan is photographs and digital scans of your teeth (though ClearCorrect also accepts physical impressions in limited cases). Invisalign requires all their providers to use the iTero scanner and gives their providers access to ClinCheck, their proprietary treatment planning software.
ClearCorrect also has its own required planning software, which they call ClearPilot. However, they accept 3D images from nearly all digital scanners, so your doctor can choose a more affordable alternative to the iTero. This means their overhead costs might be lower, translating into more affordable treatment for you.
In-office treatments have the ability to make greater shifts than at-home clear aligners can. Why? There are multiple reasons, but a big one is that doctors can add attachments to the teeth.
Both Invisalign and ClearCorrect incorporate special attachments if necessary. These small appliances, affixed to the teeth, provide the aligners with something to grip onto, generating additional force and inducing more nuanced movements. While Invisalign calls their attachments SmartForce and ClearCorrect named their Engagers, there is no meaningful difference between them.
Invisalign customizes your aligners to perfectly match your gum line, reducing their visibility, while ClearCorrect cuts them straight across. Straight-cut aligners can potentially generate more force, since they overlap and grip your gums. However, attachments can provide the same kind of additional grip and power.
There are many wonderful things about orthodontic care, but the price isn’t one of them. While in-office treatments are almost always more expensive than at-home clear aligners, Invisalign and ClearCorrect still represent a lot of value.
No matter how much value they offer, you still might be worried about how you can make Invisalign or ClearCorrect fit into your budget. Both can incorporate financing to make the costs more manageable, and overall, ClearCorrect is often more affordable, but it depends on your dentist and specific condition.
- The price depends on the severity of your condition and the doctor you choose. Most people pay somewhere in the range of £1,500–£5,500.
- Invisalign’s charges higher lab fees than ClearCorrect, but higher-tier providers get discounts.
- National Insurance only covers dental treatments if they will improve your overall health, and usually only for those under 18. You likely need a private policy.
- Aftercare retainers usually cost £100–£400 per set.
- Invisalign does not offer financing, but your doctor might.
- They have different plans with varying price points, but the average range is between £1,200 to £4,500.
- ClearCorrect offers lower lab fees than Invisalign, and doctors can pass these savings on to their patients.
- National Insurance only covers dental treatments if they will improve your overall health. A private policy is your best bet.
- Aftercare retainers usually cost £100–£400 per set.
- ClearCorrect does not offer financing, but your doctor might.
In-office treatments are highly personalized. Each provider sets their own rates, so the cost of Invisalign and ClearCorrect varies significantly between providers and patients within a given practice. Some factors that can impact what you pay for treatment include:
- The equipment your doctor needs.
- The aligner company’s lab fees.
- The complexity of your case.
- If you need refinements after you finish treatment.
- Which plan you choose.
- Your doctor’s overhead costs.
This means you cannot get an accurate price for treatment just by searching the internet — instead, you’ll need to schedule consultations with providers near you.
You’ll likely spend somewhere between £1,500 and £5,500 for Invisalign treatment. However, if you only need between five and ten aligners to achieve your final results, your dentist might recommend Invisalign Express instead. This system typically costs £1,300–£3,000.
On average, ClearCorrect costs somewhere between £1,200 to £4,500. Their Unlimited plan, which includes all the aligners you need for five years, can occasionally cost much more. But most cases fall in that range because ClearCorrect charges lower lab fees than Invisalign, and your dentist may consider those savings when setting their prices.
Invisalign has two adult plans: Invisalign Express and full treatment (they have separate plans designed specifically for children and teenagers). Invisalign Express is significantly cheaper than the full system because it is restricted to ten aligners or fewer, which naturally costs less than typical treatment.
ClearCorrect also offers shorter, less expensive treatment options. Their Mini plan gives you 12 aligners, One gives you up to 24, Two provides up to 48, and Three includes up to 72. Plus, they have a more flexible alternative appropriately named “Flex.” This plan allows you to pay per aligner, so if you only need 15 aligners, you won’t pay for anything extra.
The Unlimited plan is different. Instead of paying per aligner, you pay one fee and get all the aligners you need for five years, despite the complexity of your case or how many refinements or replacements you need. This is where ClearCorrect’s costs can surpass Invisalign’s, but it still usually represents a greater value.
What About Insurance?
National Insurance is pretty restrictive on the orthodontic treatments it covers. Eligible treatments must be medical, not cosmetic, in nature. So, whether you’ll get coverage depends on the severity of your condition. Plus, the National Insurance prefers covering traditional metal braces over all other appliances. You might receive coverage for your Invisalign or ClearCorrect treatment, but it’s rare.
Private dental insurance plans are more flexible. Speak with your provider about the treatments they cover and any criteria you need to meet to qualify.
Even the most affordable orthodontic treatments often cost too much to pay out of pocket. Financing is a good way to break up the cost, paying slightly more in the long run, but over a series of budget-friendly monthly payments.
Like all in-office treatments, Invisalign and ClearCorrect do not offer financing directly to the patient. You have to either get a plan through your doctor or work with a third-party company. You may need to make a down payment, get a credit check, or both. Be sure to keep an eye on the interest rates as you evaluate your options.
All aligners beat braces in convenience. You can remove them to eat, you won’t have to change your brushing and flossing techniques, and you typically won’t have as many office visits.
Invisalign and ClearCorrect can’t measure up to the convenience at-home aligners like Straight Teeth Direct — which completely cut out office visits — but both companies have taken steps to make your treatment as smooth and streamlined as possible.
- You begin by visiting a doctor and getting digital iTero scans.
- You visit your doctor every 4–10 weeks.
- Treatment usually takes 12–18 months.
- You must wear your aligners 22 hours a day.
- SmartTrack material is thick but smooth and flexible.
- You start by visiting a doctor for teeth scans and imaging.
- You attend check-ups every 4–10 weeks.
- Treatment usually takes between 6 and 18 months.
- You’ll wear your aligners for 22 hours a day.
- ClearQuartz is a thick and somewhat flexible material.
Whether you choose Invisalign or ClearCorrect, getting started is pretty easy. You find a doctor, schedule an appointment, and show up for a dental exam. The doctor will evaluate your teeth and decide if you’re a suitable candidate for either treatment. If so, they will complete the diagnostics necessary to create your treatment plan and likely give you a cost estimate.
Invisalign has a lot more providers than ClearCorrect, so you’ll probably have an easier time finding one nearby.
The full Invisalign system takes about 12–18 months for most patients, though sometimes it might take a bit longer when your case is complex. If you have cosmetic concerns, you might be eligible for Invisalign Express, which takes 4–6 months.
ClearCorrect can take as little as six months when making simple corrections and up to 18 months for more significant ones. However, like Invisalign, very complex cases could exceed the 18-month timeframe. And if you’re eligible for one of ClearCorrect’s limited plans, treatment might only take a few months.
Choose either option and you’ll need to attend office visits every 4–10 weeks so your doctor can evaluate your progress, provide your next aligner sets, answer your questions, and make adjustments to your plan. The time between visits depends on your condition and your doctor’s preference.
Both companies use their proprietary plastic and utilize different types of cuts on the top ridge of their aligners, which can affect your comfort during treatment.
Invisalign’s SmartTrack plastic is slightly more flexible than ClearCorrect’s ClearQuartz, so it often causes less soreness. However, it does not completely eliminate it, so either way, you might have some discomfort.
Invisalign scallops theirs to match the gum line while ClearCorrect cuts theirs straight across. The straight cut could cause some gum irritation, but scalloped aligners can dig into the division between your gums and teeth. It’s pretty much a toss-up as to which is more comfortable.
Your aligners will go with you pretty much everywhere. Every work meeting. Every trip to the gym. Every night out with friends. They’ll be part of your look, so you’ll want them to be as discreet as possible.
Clear aligners are far less visible than braces, but each producer uses different materials and designs, leading to subtle differences in appearance. Which you prefer depends on your specific tastes and style.
- Aligners are frosted.
- The plastic is textured like the porous surfaces of your teeth.
- They scallop their aligners to match the curves of the gum line.
- The plastic in their aligners is fairly stain resistant.
- Using SmartForce attachments increases visibility.
- Aligners are frosted.
- The plastic is textured like the natural teeth.
- They cut their aligners straight across, so they overlap the gums.
- They use fairly stain-resistant plastic.
- Using Engagers on the teeth increases visibility.
Both Invisalign and ClearCorrect use strong plastics. However, Invisalign’s SmartTrack plastic is thicker than most aligner plastics, including ClearCorrect’s ClearQuartz. This thickness makes the aligners sturdier and less likely to wear down prematurely, but it also makes them slightly more visible.
Neither Invisalign or ClearCorrect uses fully clear aligners. This might sound odd; shouldn’t they be as clear as possible to reduce visibility? However, aligners with a frosted appearance and textured surface actually blend in with the natural teeth better. ClearCorrect aligners are actually slightly more opaque, so they could be less visible.
Straight-cut aligners overlap the gum line, and people nearby might notice this overlap when you laugh or flash a wide smile. With the scalloped cut, the line of the top ridge follows the gums perfectly, allowing that upper edge to blend into the area where the gums and teeth meet.
Since Invisalign uses a scalloped cut, their aligners are less visible. However, the top ridge of ClearCorrect aligners usually only shows if you are smiling big or show your gums when you smile. As a result, this usually won’t make too much of a difference.
Invisalign’s SmartForce attachments and ClearCorrect’s Engagers increase the power of their aligners, empowering more complex dental shifts. But since dentists affix them to the front surfaces of your teeth, they also increase visibility. Attachments are often tooth-colored, so they don’t stand out too much, but observant bystanders might still notice them.
Patient Experience Comparison
Beginning clear aligner treatment is like starting a new relationship. It takes commitment, but in the end, it’s worth it. And any healthy relationship requires effective communication and problem-solving for a great overall experience.
As in-office treatments, Invisalign and ClearCorrect deliver a highly personalized patient experience. Unlike remote aligner services, you’ll interact in person with dentists and office staff who know you and your teeth intimately. Choose either option and you’ll get responsiveness, individualized care, and robust clinical oversight.
- Your provider and their employees are your customer support team.
- You’ll typically communicate in person or via phone.
- Regular appointments allow for robust monitoring.
- Refinements may or may not be covered in the original price of treatment.
- You rely on your provider and their employees for customer support.
- You typically ask questions in person or over the phone.
- Routine check-ups keep your treatment on track.
- Refinements may or may not be included in the cost of treatment, depending on your plan.
No matter how much research you do before treatment, you are going to have questions at some point. When they come up, you need to know who you can turn to for an answer.
Your dentist’s office has all the details of your treatment, so contact them rather than Invisalign or ClearCorrect. Offices are typically open during regular business hours, and have some availability on weekends for urgent issues. Usually, you’ll get a fast response; most providers will answer your questions the same day you contact them unless you reach out after hours or over the weekend. If you have a rare emergency related to treatment, they might even respond outside of office hours.
Office visits aren’t always a benefit; they demand a lot of your time, and simpler cases don’t really need them to stay on track. However, they do offer peace of mind since they let your doctor monitor your progress. While things rarely go wrong unless you deviate from your aligner plan, it’s possible, and in-person oversight can make a big difference. Both Invisalign and ClearCorrect require regular office visits, so your dentist can make sure your teeth are moving as planned and address small issues before they become big ones.
It rarely happens, but sometimes patients reach the end of treatment and find that their results do not match their expectations or the original treatment preview.
With Invisalign, your dentist may or may not include refinements in the cost of your treatment. With ClearCorrect, it depends more on the plan you select. The Mini and Flex plans don’t include any refinements, the One plan includes one, Two includes two, and Three includes three. If you opt for the Unlimited plan, however, you get all the aligners you need for five years, including refinements. And if your teeth shift even a few years after treatment is complete, you can get more aligners to fix them.
Which Should You Choose?
In the end, Invisalign and ClearCorrect are so similar that you could decide with a coin flip and end up thrilled with your results. Still, there are cases where one might be better suited to your needs than the other.
Choose Invisalign If:
You prefer the idea of working with the most experienced clear aligner company and are happy to pay more per aligner for it.
Choose ClearCorrect If:
You want or need in-office treatment but want to keep your costs as low as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which company is better: Invisalign or ClearCorrect?
Neither company is universally better than the other. Both offer intensive in-person care, regular oversight, top-quality products, and powerful tooth and jaw shifts. Yet each has unique advantages too. Invisalign has slightly better materials and a wider network of doctors while ClearCorrect is more flexible and has a better price.
What are the first steps of treatment?
Every in-office treatment starts with a consultation. You have to search for doctors offering the system you want and schedule your appointment. At this visit, you’ll get an exam, and if this exam shows that you’re a suitable candidate, your dentist will take scans and photos of your teeth to begin the process.
What is the single most notable feature separating Invisalign and ClearCorrect?
In our view, it is the price. ClearCorrect charges their providers less for lab fees and accepts images from multiple scanners, so they’re often less expensive than Invisalign.
Which company takes longer: Invisalign or ClearCorrect?
Technically, ClearCorrect has a shorter average treatment time, but this is a bit misleading. Because the Flex plan lets you pay per aligner, people making simple corrections often choose it over Invisalign. This skews their average towards the lower end. However, when comparing two patients with similar start and end points, there is no meaningful difference in treatment times between Invisalign and ClearCorrect.
Does Invisalign have a wider treatment scope than ClearCorrect?
Very slightly. Invisalign can incorporate more attachments, allowing them to address some jaw conditions that ClearCorrect cannot. Keep in mind that these jaw concerns are rare and unless you have them, there is no reason to write off ClearCorrect based on treatment scope.
How do Invisalign and ClearCorrect compare to at-home clear aligner companies?
In terms of price and convenience, at-home clear aligners win. However, they fall behind in effectiveness and patient experience. If you want to make cosmetic changes without spending a lot of money and don’t mind the lack of office visits (or flat out prefer to skip them), at-home clear aligners are great.
Which at-home clear aligner companies are the best in the UK?
We suggest you research the following companies:
- Straight Teeth Direct
- Diamond Whites
We cover all of these brands in-depth in our review of the best at-home clear aligners in the UK.
Are home aligners considered safe?
Yes. You should always do your research before you buy to give yourself peace of mind and ensure you find the best option for you. However, the vast majority of home aligner companies are safe, well-reviewed, and effective.
Will clear aligners cause me pain?
They shouldn’t be painful but they can cause discomfort. They place pressure on your teeth to move them, which can make them feel sore, especially when eating. This usually lasts less than a day with each aligner change, and you can eat soft foods and use over-the-counter pain medications to manage the discomfort on these days.