NHS Treatments

Treatment Options

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.

NHS Treatment for 18 year olds

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.


NHS Timeline for Treatments

  1. NHS Referral to 1st visit: 2 -3 weeks
  2. NHS Assessment to brace fitting: 2 – 4 weeks
  3. Complete average case: 12 to 18 months
  4. More complex case: 24 months
  5. 85% of cases completed without extractions of adult teeth

Teeth Whitening

At the end of your Orthodontic treatment, you may want to complete your smile makeover by whitening your teeth. Normally this is done by home whitening kits that involve wearing a removable appliance similar to a removable retainer whilst you are sleeping and can be a great way to show your new smile off even more.


Battersea Orthodontic Practice - Animation Video

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