What is orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment usually involves the wearing of braces (removable or fixed), often with the extraction of teeth and very occasionally jaw surgery.

Why might I need orthodontic treatment?

There are 3 main reasons for having orthodontic treatment:

  • To improve the appearance of the teeth and face
  • To improve the health of the teeth and gums
  • To improve function i.e. to make it easier to eat

Who is eligible for NHS treatment?

All patients are eligible for an NHS assessment. However, health service funding for treatment is directed at those patients in whom treatment will give an improvement in dental health and not just in the appearance of their teeth.

The way in which the orthodontist decides whether NHS funding is available is by using a complex system of measurements called the Index of Orthodontic Need (IOTN). As the name suggests this index gives a higher weight to those cases which need treatment for an improvement in their dental health.

Dental problems which will be provided for on health grounds include:

  • Increased prominence of teeth in excess of 6mm
  • Significant crowding of teeth
  • Abnormal bites causing trauma
  • Abnormal bites causing functional problems
  • Missing or impacted teeth

Cases with a borderline need for treatment are then assessed on aesthetics (how attractive the teeth look) and cases with a low aesthetic score are unlikely to qualify for orthodontic treatment under the NHS. Milder cases will not be eligible for NHS funding.

What happens during my first visit?

Once you reach the top of our NHS Waiting List, an assessment appointment will be allocated to you. We will send you a letter confirming the details of your appointment. Please ensure you keep us up-todate with any changes in your contact details. During your first appointment, Dr. Buchanan will assess your need for treatment and discuss your possible treatment options. This is a relatively short appointment as a high percentage of patients who attend a new patient appointment are not ready to begin treatment.

After your first visit, one of two things will happen for the majority of patients:

You may not be ready to start treatment

You may still have some of your baby teeth present or you may not be brushing your teeth properly. In this case you will be put on recall and we will ask you to contact us when it is time for a review appointment to be made. You may also be referred back to your dentist for oral hygiene advice.

If you are ready to begin treatment

You will have photographs, impressions and radiographs taken by one of our qualified dental nurses. The impressions of your teeth are sent to a dental laboratory to make study models and once they come back your treatment plan will be finalised.

Your study models, along with copies of your radiographs, photographs and treatment plan, are sent to the NHS Dental Practice Board who needs to approve the funding of your treatment. This process is called Prior Approval and can take up to 12 weeks. We cannot ask your dentist to take out teeth, if it is necessary, or start any form of treatment, until funding is approved.

Once approval for your treatment has been received your dentist will be asked to take out any teeth. We rely on you, the patient, to inform us that an extraction appointment has been made. Once you have an extraction appointment with your dentist, please ring the practice to make an appointment for your brace to be fitted.

The brace should be fitted no sooner than 7 days after the teeth have been taken out. This allows the area to settle and heal before treatment starts. If you don’t tell us about your extraction appointment until after your teeth have been taken out you may have to wait longer for your brace to be fitted.

If you don’t require extractions we will ring you when we receive the Prior Approval and make an appointment for you to have your brace fitted.

Fixed metal braces

All our NHS treatment is carried out with fixed metal braces. They are a reliable and durable option, and can be customised with colourful elastic modules making them a popular choice for teenagers.

The brackets are attached to the front of your teeth with a special adhesive bond at your bond up appointment, a completely painless process.Fixed braces can address any type of orthodontic concern, and are suitable for all ages.

Our metal brackets are made by American Orthodontics, a world renowned company that has been manufacturing quality orthodontic brackets and wires for many years.

Essentials braces range

We offer our Essentials range to both children and adults that don’t meet the strict criteria for treatment on the NHS, making fixed metal brackets our most cost effective treatment option. Ask us for more information.

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