NHS Treatments

NHS treatment is available to eligible patients aged under 18 years and is intended to provide treatment for those patients who require it on the grounds of health. This is assessed by using a scale called the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN).

Such problems include severe protrusion of the teeth, severe mal-alignment or crowding of the teeth and congenitally missing teeth. Some less severe, but unaesthetic smiles may also qualify for treatment. Treatment for minor problems or cosmetic reasons alone is not usually available on the NHS. NHS treatment may be subject to a waiting list.

NHS treatment, like private, is carried out to the highest standard by Specialist Orthodontists. For those patients under 18 years old not eligible for NHS treatment, we often provide braces at the same cost as the NHS.


Patients aged 18 or under are eligible for an NHS assessment. Under the terms of the new dental contract, health service funding for treatment will be directed at those patients in whom treatment will give an improvement in their dental health and not just in the appearance of their teeth. We can only accept referrals from your dentist for a NHS assessment, if you wish to refer yourself, this has to be on a private consultation.

The way in which the orthodontist decides whether NHS treatment is available is by using a complex system of measurements called the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need, (IOTN). As the name suggests, this index gives higher weighting to those cases which need treatment for an improvement in their dental health.

Dental problems which can be provided for on health grounds under the NHS include:

  • Missing or impacted teeth
  • Increased prominence of upper teeth
  • Significant crowding of teeth
  • Abnormal bites causing trauma
  • Abnormal bites causing functional problems

Cases with a possible need for treatment are also assessed on aesthetic grounds and cases with a low aesthetic score are unlikely to qualify for orthodontic treatment under the NHS.

Many milder cases will not be eligible for NHS funding. In these cases, if treatment is desired, we offer to provide treatment on a self funded basis at the same cost as the NHS.

In addition to the restrictions applied to those patients eligible for NHS funding, under the new orthodontic contract, the amount of NHS funding provided to us is limited in each year. This means that even patients eligible for NHS treatment may be subject to a waiting list as we are contracted to treat a certain number of NHS patients a year.

ALL patients are eligible for private orthodontic treatment whether they qualify for NHS funding or not. There is no waiting list for private treatment and this option offers the patient a greater choice of braces.

Private treatment also offers a number of other advantages over NHS treatment which our staff would be delighted to discuss with you.

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