Do you have crooked or misaligned teeth? Are you suffering from self-esteem issues because, unlike your peers, you do not have that so-called perfect smile? If you answer “yes” to both questions, you might be happy to know all is not lost. The NHS offers orthodontic treatments that will help resolve the problem of crooked teeth and other related dental issues. If you require some corrective treatment but you think you cannot afford it, NHS braces may be the perfect solution. So, what braces can you get on the NHS?
NHS Orthodontic Treatment
Eligible patients under the age of 18 can obtain NHS braces free of charge. Where necessary, their dentist will refer them to an orthodontist to ensure they receive suitable treatment. Orthodontists will then use the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) to determine whether a patient is qualified for NHS braces. The IOTN is a rating system that measures the severity of a patient’s orthodontic issues by grading them from 1 to 5 (with Grade 1 being the lowest).
Grade 1 – there are no issues with the teeth and braces are not required for health reasons.
Grade 2 – the teeth have minor irregularities but no treatment is needed.
Grade 3 – the teeth have noticeable irregularities but treatment is still not required.
Grade 4 – the teeth have significant irregularities and treatment is required.
Grade 5 – the teeth have severe irregularities that should be treated for health reasons.
If a patient is graded 1 or 2, they will not qualify for NHS braces, while a grading of 4 or 5 will mean they are automatically eligible for NHS-funded treatment. Receiving a Grade 3 means the patient is a borderline case and the orthodontist will assess the appearance of their teeth to determine whether they require treatment. If the patient receives a score of 6-10, they can be fitted with NHS braces.
Fixed metal braces
If the dentist feels it is appropriate, you can be fitted with a pair of fixed braces on the NHS. Fixed braces are often made of metal so they will be visible at the front of the teeth. Although metal braces are more conspicuous than their ceramic or clear counterparts, they are still the go-to treatment for teeth misalignment or malocclusion issues because of their effectiveness and reliability. Furthermore, unlike removable braces, you are less likely to misplace these braces as they will be affixed to their teeth.
What else is included?
As well as the fixed metal braces, your treatment will also include any necessary X-rays, impressions, and scans. In addition, the NHS will cover the cost of all your appointments with the orthodontist, the fitting of the braces and their aftercare. When the braces are removed, you will be given removable retainers that you should wear at all times to keep your teeth in place.=
NHS braces for adults
Are adults eligible for NHS braces in Birmingham? Besides “What braces can you get on the NHS?” this is one of the questions most frequently asked by dental patients. Unfortunately, the NHS doesn’t cover orthodontic treatment for people aged 18 or over, although it can be provided on a case-by-case basis. If an orthodontist decides that a patient requires treatment for health reasons, they may be eligible to be fitted with NHS braces.
Private or Self-Funded Treatment
If you do not qualify for NHS braces, another excellent option is private or self-funded orthodontic treatment. Private treatment is widely available, and many highly experienced orthodontists, such as our team here at Orthodontics For You, will help you determine the best plan of action and the most suitable pair of braces for your specific dental problem. There are various treatment options available, including:
1. Removable braces
Removable braces are often used to correct minor misalignment issues or they can form part of fixed-brace treatment. Similar to fixed braces, removable braces must be worn constantly to ensure a positive outcome will be achieved. They should only be taken out when they need cleaning or for reasons relating to the patient’s safety.
In orthodontics, headgear can help correct the position of the back teeth and keep them in place while the front teeth are undergoing a course of treatment. However, as it is impossible to eat or drink while wearing headgear, this appliance should only be worn at night when the patient is asleep.
Check If You Qualify for NHS Braces
NHS braces are the perfect solution for patients below 18 years old who require orthodontic treatment but cannot afford to pay for private care. If you suffer from teeth malocclusion, you should consult a dental health professional as soon as possible to determine whether you would be eligible for NHS-funded treatment. At Orthodontics For You, we provide NHS braces to eligible patients to help improve their smile and, in turn, their self-confidence. If you would like to learn more about our NHS and self-funded orthodontic treatments, please do not hesitate to contact one us.