What is Orthodontic Treatment?
Orthodontics is a Greek word that literally means ‘to straighten teeth’. It is a type of dental treatment that aims to improve the appearance, position and function of crooked or abnormally arranged teeth.
Orthodontics uses mechanical devices, such as a brace, over a certain period of time (usually 18 months to two years) to correct the position of the teeth.
Orthodontic treatment is a way of straightening or moving teeth, to improve the appearance of the teeth and how they work. It can also help to look after the long-term health of the teeth, gums and jaw joints, by spreading the biting pressure over all the teeth.
As a part of South west NHS dental services we are committed to provide NHS Orthodontic services for those patients under the age of 18 years who meet the criteria laid down by the NHS regulations. Patients can only be assessed on the NHS following referral by their general dental practitioner. If it is found that you have been referred too early for treatment by your dentist, this means you will need to be placed under review until you are ready for your final assessment of treatment need. Once the Orthodontist has carried out the final assessment you will be informed if you meet the criteria to qualify for NHS treatment. Due to the high demand for NHS Orthodontics and the fixed contract with South west NHS dental services, there is a waiting list for NHS treatment and you can only be placed on this list once you are ready to start treatment. This is usually once all the adult teeth have come through. At the practice we also provide private orthodontic treatment for both children and adults. Patients can be referred for private treatment by their dentist or can contact our practice direct.
Our first impressions begin during a new patient enquiry phone call. We will try and obtain as much information as possible in order to arrange for you to see the most relevant member of our team.
Your First Visit
Your initial appointment will be thorough: it involves both a clinician of the relevant specialty and our treatment co-ordinator. You’ll fill out a medical history questionnaire and we will take photographs and relevant X-rays that will complement our though clinical examination. This will be followed by a discussion on your bespoke treatment options and we will show you before and after photos of similar cases. All that is discussed will be detailed on a clinical report along with a letter to your referring dentist to keep them updated (if relevant).
What Will Happen Next?
1. You are not yet ready for treatment, in which case you may need to see the orthodontist again when you are older.
2. Your dental health is not good enough. This may be due to poor tooth-brushing or decayed teeth. Your dentist may send you to the orthodontist again when things have improved.
3. You do not need treatment because the position of your teeth is perfectly acceptable, or expected to be.
4. You are ready for treatment and need to decide whether to go ahead.
NHS treatment for under 18 years old
Orthodontic treatment is only available free-of-charge on the NHS for young people who:
•are under 18 years old
•have a clear clinical need for treatment
NHS orthodontic care is not usually available for adults but may be approved on a case-by-case basis if the functional needs are great (see box, left).
A rating system, known as the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN), is used to assess the need and eligibility of individual cases. The IOTN consists of five grades, which are outlined below.
Grade 1 is used to describe almost perfect teeth.
Grade 2 is for minor irregularities with the teeth.
Grade 3 is for more marked irregularities with the teeth that do not usually need treatment for heath reasons.
Grade 4 is for severe irregularities with the teeth that need treatment for health reasons.
Grade 5 is for severe dental health problems.
The British Orthodontic Society’s website has more information about the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN).
NHS treatment is available for grade 4 and grade 5 cases. Grade 3 cases are usually judged on a case-by-case basis. Treatment may be made available if the appearance of a person’s teeth is particularly unattractive.
If your child qualifies for NHS orthodontic treatment, there may be a long waiting list up to 2 months before treatment becomes available.
Private Orthodontic Treatment
Private treatment is offered to both children and adults. More and more people are choosing to have private treatment for the additional benefits it offers them.
These benefits include:
•The orthodontist has as much time as is needed at each appointment to provide the best treatment.
•There is greater flexibility with appointment times. We offer appointments outside school and work hours for private patients.
•You can choose from a variety of special techniques including:
Private Fee Guide
Initial examination & consultation including Panoramic Oral radiographic imaging: £120.00 (50% of the fee is required when booking the appointment)
Treatment with fixed braces (both arches) from £3850
Treatment with Ceramic braces (both arches) from £4200
Private Payment Schemes
To help make treatment more affordable we offer a number of different payment schemes to private patients, including interest free loans and discounts for those who pay their fees up front.
Single payment at the beginning of treatment (payment by cash or debit card) will entitle you to an administration discount off the cost of treatment.
Interest free payment
We are pleased to offer an interest-free payment option (for treatments over £1000). This involves an initial appliance fee and a monthly/quarterly instalment payment (standing order), For your convenience we accept all major debit and credit cards and cash.
When your treatment is over, we’re pretty confident that we’ll have got everything right. However, to be on the safe side, we continue seeing patients for post-treatment review – a process which sometimes finishes two years after the end of treatment. Throughout, we’ll be available any time of day, any day of the week, at the other end of the phone, to make sure any worries you have are completely settled.