Free Orthodontic treatment within the NHS is carefully rationed.
Since the 1st of April 2006, the use of the Index Of Treatment Need (IOTN) is compulsory in deciding whether you qualify for NHS funded Orthodontics in the UK.
The index is used to determine those cases that most need treatment with braces, so that very limited NHS resources can be targeted at those patients in greatest need, therefore avoiding allocating expensive treatment to mild cases who will not benefit as much.
This must be seen against a background of ever increasing expenditure on UK Orthodontics, that has threatened to spiral out of control, as braces become ever more popular.
How do I qualify for treatment?
You can only be assessed if your Dentist believes it is worthwhile.
Please discuss this with them at your regular check ups and your Dentist will refer you to us directly to arrange an assessment. The current waiting list for assessment is 2 years and 6 months, so it is worth being referred at the first sign of problems arising. The waiting list is due to a lack of funding for NHS Orthodontics in the UK and this is unlikely to change in the near future.
We do not have direct control over the length of the waiting list.
To qualify, you must:
- Have superb dental health
- Show obvious need for treatment (your need for treatment is judged by the IOTN criteria, which is outlined below)
- Be under 18 years of age when referred by your Dentist
When you come for your assessment your Orthodontist will look at your teeth and bite and may measure certain areas to check they are within normal limits. When you are assessed, you are graded from 1-5 depending on how severe your teeth are. The grade you get is dictated by any very abnormal measurements (recorded in millimetres) that you get and has nothing to do with how you feel about your teeth. Mild problems and teeth that are only slightly crooked do not measure highly enough to qualify.
If you qualify, we will offer you NHS treatment. Unfortunately, if you do not meet the IOTN criteria, we are unable to offer treatment free of charge, therefore, funding your own treatment or undertaking no treatment are the only alternatives. If you are interested in privately funded treatment then please CLICK HERE to find out more. There is no waiting list for privately funded treatment and there are several ways to pay available.
Please feel free to discuss any concerns you have with your Orthodontist at your assessment appointment or contact us for more information.