The Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) is a rating system that’s used to determine whether individuals qualify for NHS orthodontic treatment.
NHS care is intended to help those who need treatment to improve their dental health. It’s not designed to treat problems that are purely cosmetic.
At Total Orthodontics NHS treatment is only available to patients aged 17 or under. To determine whether you qualify for NHS care our orthodontists will need to assess the health and appearance of your smile.
This is done using a set of IOTN measurements. The same measurements are used by orthodontists throughout the country to ensure the process is as unbiased as possible. In order to carry out IOTN assessments fairly your orthodontist will have undergone specialist training to become IOTN certified.
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IOTN – the dental health component
Your orthodontist will start by looking at the impact of your teeth on your dental health. This will involve taking some measurements of your teeth so we can give you a grade of between 1 and 5.
If you are given a score of 1 your teeth are practically perfect, so you won’t be eligible for NHS care.
If you score 2 you have a minor irregularity, which doesn’t require NHS treatment for dental health reasons.
Grade 3 means you have a moderate irregularity and you might be eligible for NHS care. If you score a 3 then we’ll also look at the appearance of your teeth to determine whether you’re eligible for NHS treatment.
If your teeth are grade 4 then you have a more severe irregularity and will be eligible for NHS care.
If you score a 5 you have a serious irregularity, which requires NHS treatment for dental health reasons.
IOTN – the aesthetic component
If you scored a 3 in the dental health component then your case is borderline, and your orthodontist will need to assess the appearance of your smile.
This is done by comparing your smile to a set of ten images, which are used as a reference point for ‘attractiveness’. These photos were rated in order of attractiveness by non dental professionals. 1 = most attractive and 10 = least attractive.
If you are given an aesthetic score of 6 or above, combined with a dental health score of 3, you will be eligible for NHS treatment.
What happens next?
If you are eligible for NHS treatment, you might need to join a waiting list before you can start your treatment. This is because we are only given a limited amount of NHS funding each year.
If you don’t qualify for NHS treatment, your orthodontist will be able to discuss self-funded private options with you.