NHS orthodontic treatment
Orthodontic treatment is available under the NHS but is only for patients under the age of 18 whose teeth can pose health problems (as opposed to treatment for cosmetic reasons). Certain criteria must be met to receive treatment. This is known as the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN).
The IOTN is a Government regulation so we are unable to make exceptions for patients who don't meet the criteria; however, if your child isn't eligible for treatment under the NHS we can treat them as an independent patient. This can be discussed at your child's initial consultation.
See our profile on the NHS site.
Before you begin treatment as an NHS patient, we will assess your orthodontic needs and sit down to discuss your treatment options. Not all types of orthodontic braces are available under the NHS but we'll explain this to you at your assessment. We'll also take an x-ray to help us assess your growth and development.
Once we have fitted your braces, you will need to come in once every six-to-eight weeks so we can check on the progress of your treatment. At these appointments, we will tighten your braces to ensure your teeth continue to straighten. This isn’t painful but can be a little uncomfortable so we recommend you have some over-the-counter pain relief.
Retention – an important part of treatment
When your teeth are in their newly straightened position, to keep them there you will need to wear a retainer. This device looks a bit like a thin sports mouthguard and helps to ensure your teeth don’t move back into their original position. To begin with, you’ll need to wear your retainer 24 hours a day, then we’ll advise you when it’s ok to only wear it at night.
We understand accidents can happen, but if you lose retainers there will be a cost applicable as this isn't covered by the NHS. If at any time during your treatment your brace breaks or causes you problems, contact us to arrange an emergency appointment.
Only patients under the age of 18 are seen on the National Health Service. In this practice we ensure that all treatment is carried out to a high standard and our approach is to use the best possible treatment for each individual.
Eligibility for NHS treatment
On 1st April 2006, the Government introduced new arrangements for NHS orthodontic treatment. The new arrangements are designed to target treatment to those with the greatest health need. As a result, in certain mild cases where dental health is not affected, there is no justification for orthodontic treatment to be provided under the NHS. We want you to be aware, before we see your child, that NHS treatment may not be available if the health need does not fit the new criteria. All orthodontic practices with a contract for NHS treatment must comply with the new criteria, which are designed to prioritise those in greatest need of treatment. Bishops Stortford Orthodontic practice continues to welcome referrals for NHS treatment.
Due to restrictions in funding and regulations within the NHS, we have introduced an independent fee structure for affordable ’NHS equivalent’ orthodontic treatment for those patients not eligible for NHS treatment. We also see patients on a private basis. Our private patients have access to a much wider range of treatment plans and options.
Examination and diagnostic records
If your dentist referred you to us, it is because he/she felt you could benefit from orthodontic treatment. The initial appointment is a clinical examination to determine your orthodontic needs. We will advise you of any problems and of the necessary corrective treatment. If treatment is indicated, diagnostic records will be taken for assessment and treatment planning.
These may include:
- Study casts of the teeth from impressions
- A panoral radiograph to show all the developed/ developing teeth, roots and bone
- A cephalometric radiograph to measure the spatial relationship of the jaws, teeth, bite profile and soft tissue
- 2 occlusal radiographs to screen for supernumerary teeth and crowding
- A set of photographs to study facial features and how they may be influenced by orthodontic treatment.
We welcome a frank discussion of services and fees prior to treatment in order to avoid misunderstanding. The financial obligation of the treatment we render to you is your responsibility. Payment for treatment is normally spread out over the period of treatment and is not related to a specific treatment appointment schedule. This arrangement is merely for your convenience.
Where fees are due, please note we can only accept payment in advance or by standing order. We do not send accounts or allow payments by any other method. If you wish to pay by any other method, an additional charge will be levied to cover the extra administration costs. Additional charges will also apply for breakages of braces, or if they need to be replaced when lost. If treatment is prolonged due to poor co-operation and/or multiple breakages of the brace, an additional fee may be levied.
We will need to see you regularly every 4 to 12 weeks to adjust the braces and check that they are doing their job. It may be necessary for you to make appointments during school hours. Certain procedures, such as fitting of braces, are only performed on weekday mornings. Please remember that most of our patients are students and prefer appointments after school. This is obviously impossible from a practical point of view. If we do not see you at regular intervals, treatment will take longer to complete. If you cannot keep your scheduled appointment, please contact us at least 24 hours in advance.
Failed appointments represent loss of valuable clinical time and a missed opportunity for another patient to see an orthodontist. It is prohibited to levy any charge for failed appointments. You will not be offered NHS care in our practice in the future if your treatment has been terminated. Rebooking of failed appointments will be done at the next available appointment time, which may not be the most convenient time for you.
Patients who are offered an initial NHS appointment may be asked to confirm attendance two weeks prior to the appointment. Failure to confirm, when requested, will result in the appointment being cancelled.
We have ground floor access for anyone who is disabled. Although we like to keep on record as many contact telephone numbers as possible, under the Data Protection Act you are entitled to inform us if you do not wish to be contacted on any of them, e.g. at work. We do not pass your details to any outside body, unless we refer you on to another practitioner, e.g. dentist, periodontist, surgeon, hospital.