How to Get Braces on the NHS: A Comprehensive and Useful Guide

Are you considering orthodontic treatment to achieve that picture-perfect smile? Look no further! At Orthodontics for You, we understand the importance of a confident smile and are here to guide you through the process of how to get braces on the NHS.

Orthodontic treatment on the NHS is readily available and is commonplace in the UK. While there are often significant waiting lists and the guidelines are strict for deciding whether you are eligible for treatment, having the costs covered by the National Health Service is a huge help to parents and their teens. With our expertise and your desire to achieve your dream smile, it might be easier than you think.


Understanding NHS Orthodontic Treatment

First things first, let’s demystify the process. The NHS offers orthodontic treatment to eligible individuals under the age of 18 who have a clinical need for braces. This typically includes cases where the misalignment of teeth affects oral health, function, or aesthetics.

However, adults may also qualify under certain circumstances, such as severe misalignment impacting dental function. You do have to be assessed for suitability and eligibility for treatment. Unfortunately, you can’t self-refer for NHS treatment, but getting that referral is relatively simple. Let’s look at Step 1.

Step 1: Consultation with a General Dentist

Getting braces on the NHS starts with a visit to your general dentist. They will assess your dental health and refer you to an orthodontic specialist if they believe you meet the criteria for NHS-funded treatment. Remember, early intervention is key, so don’t hesitate to seek advice if you have concerns about your teeth alignment. With waiting lists of up to four years, any delays to the referral process could see your treatment set back beyond the age cut-off.

Step 2: Assessment by an Orthodontic Specialist

Once referred, you will undergo a thorough assessment by an orthodontic specialist. This involves examining your teeth, jaws, and overall facial structure to determine if braces are necessary.

At Orthodontics for You, we use a national rating system called The Index of Orthodontic Treatment (IOTN). It helps us to identify when people require specific treatment to improve their dental health. If your case meets the strict NHS criteria, congratulations! You’re one step closer to your ideal smile.

Step 3: Treatment Planning

After explaining how to get braces on the NHS and assessing your dental health, your orthodontist will develop a personalised treatment plan tailored to address your specific dental needs. On the NHS, you are fitted with a standard metal brace. However, how the brace is fitted, what wires are used, and whether you need to use bands all depend on your individual case and your individual treatment plan.

The treatment plan outlines the estimated treatment duration (which is typically between 12 and 24 months) and any necessary preparatory procedures. Rest assured our team will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you feel informed and confident about your treatment journey.

Step 4: NHS Funding Approval

Before proceeding with treatment, your orthodontist will submit your case for NHS funding approval. This involves providing detailed documentation supporting the clinical necessity of braces. While waiting for approval, take this time to ask any questions you may have and familiarise yourself with the proposed treatment plan. Even though funding approval may be relatively quick, the huge demand for orthodontic treatment on the NHS means that you will still have to wait for up to 48 months before you are called in for your first appointment to commence your treatment.

Unfortunately, we are unable to keep you updated as to where you are on the waiting list, but rest assured that as soon as your time has come, we will be in touch. If you would prefer not to wait or would like to “queue hop”, we do also offer patients the option of “going private”. Your treatment would be carried out in the same practice by the same orthodontist, but you would also be given some other brace options such as ceramic braces, Invisalign or lingual braces (braces fitted to the back of the teeth).

At Orthodontics for You, we do offer patients finance options to spread the cost of treatment. If this is something you might like to consider, speak with our Patient Co-Ordinator and they will be able to provide you with all the relevant information.

Step 5: Commencing Treatment

Once NHS funding is approved and you’ve made your way to the top of that list, it’s time to kickstart your orthodontic journey! Our experienced orthodontic team will carefully fit your metal brace and provide guidance on proper care and maintenance throughout your treatment. If you would like to know a little more about the metal brace you would have fitted on the NHS, you can find a host of useful information on our website.

Step 6: Regular Monitoring and Adjustments

Orthodontic treatment is not a one-time event. It’s a journey that requires regular monitoring and adjustments. Expect to visit our practice every few weeks for progress checks and brace adjustments. These appointments are crucial for ensuring your treatment stays on track and delivers optimal results.

Step 7: Retention Phase

Once you’ve reached the final stretch of your orthodontic journey and as your treatment nears completion, your orthodontist will discuss the retention phase. This involves wearing retainers to maintain the alignment of your newly straightened teeth. Remember, consistency is key, so be diligent about wearing your retainers as instructed.


Start Your Journey to a Perfect Smile

Getting braces on the NHS is a relatively straightforward process when you have the right guidance and support. At Orthodontics for You, we’re committed to helping you achieve the smile of your dreams with expert orthodontic care tailored to your individual needs. Don’t let misaligned teeth hold you back. Book an appointment with your general dentist. There may be some preparatory work to be done before you can be referred for orthodontic treatment (for example, you may require x-rays or tooth extractions), so take that first step today.

Whether you’re a teenager eager to flaunt a flawless grin or an adult seeking to improve your oral health, getting braces on the NHS offers a cost-effective solution without compromising on quality. With our team of dedicated orthodontic professionals by your side, your journey to a radiant smile starts here.


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