NHS Orthodontic Treatment for children
On the 1st April 2006, the Department of Health introduced a new system for NHS Orthodontic treatment. All patients under the age of 18 are entitled to receive a free NHS assessment to establish eligibility for treatment. Eligibility is established using an Index of Orthodontic Treatment Needs (IOTN).
Under the terms of the NHS dental contract, 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. NHS treatment is intended to provide treatment for those patients who require orthodontic treatment on the above grounds and are established using a complex system of measurements called the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Needs (IOTN). This index gives higher weighting to cases needing treatment for an improvement in dental health.
Dental health indicators may include missing or impacted teeth, significant crowding of teeth, increased prominence of teeth, abnormal bite causing trauma and/or functional problems. Cases are also assessed on aesthetic grounds and cases with a low aesthetic score are unlikely to qualify for orthodontic treatment under the NHS.
Orthodontic treatment for purely cosmetic reasons or minor problems is not usually available on the NHS. All IOTN assessments are carried out by General Dental Council Registered Specialist Orthodontists. Whether a patient qualifies for NHS treatment or opts for private treatment the treatment and treatment planning is carried out by Orthodontic Specialists. Adjustments to appliances may be carried out by Qualified Orthodontic Therapists supervised by Orthodontic Specialists.
Patients qualifying for NHS treatment may be subject to a waiting list before treatment can start. The government has restricted the number of NHS funded treatment units available to all UK orthodontic practices. Despite our best continuing efforts at managing waiting lists delays to the start date for NHS Orthodontic Treatment are inevitable. We are saddened by this situation, and are in continuous consultation with the relevant Area Teams to try and alleviate waiting lists.
Patients that DO NOT qualify for NHS treatment AND patients who DO qualify but wish to start treatment earlier are eligible and welcome to continue with treatment on a private basis. For more information on the benefits and cost associated with private orthodontic treatment visit the private treatment section.