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Why is there a waiting list for NHS orthodontic treatment?

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The complex world of NHS dental contracts can sometimes leave our patients asking us why they can’t start their NHS orthodontic treatment immediately.

In the past there was no limit to the number of NHS patients that we could treat each year. And if you came to see us for an NHS consultation, the funding, if required, would be available to begin your treatment almost immediately.

However, things changed in April 2006 with the introduction of a new dental contract, which dictates the eligibility criteria for NHS orthodontic treatment, as well as the number of our patients that can receive funding for orthodontic treatment each year.

In some of our practices this has led to an increasing disparity between the number of patients who are eligible for NHS orthodontic treatment and the number of patients we are able to treat each year, ultimately resulting in an NHS waiting list.

How Do I Join the Waiting List for NHS Orthodontic Treatment?

Before you can join our NHS waiting list you will need to be seen by a specialist orthodontist for a free NHS consultation to find out whether you are eligible for NHS treatment. Your dentist will need to refer you to us for this free consultation, undertaking their own assessment beforehand to determine a need for treatment for dental health reasons.

During your free consultation, your orthodontist will be able to confirm whether you qualify for NHS care. If you are eligible for treatment it is at this point that you may need to join our NHS waiting list. We’ll always do our best to give you an accurate idea of how long the waiting list is and when we should be able to fit your braces; and if at any point you would like an update, our team will be more than happy to help.

Alternatives to NHS Orthodontic Treatment?

While we are big advocates of NHS treatment, it’s important for us to provide you with all your available options, including self-funded private orthodontic treatment. As the name suggests, private care is not dependent on NHS funding, so you should be able to start your treatment within a matter of weeks and you don’t need to be referred to us by your dentist.

To find out more about NHS and private orthodontic treatment at Total Orthodontics, please explore our website. And if you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0800 781 0035 or via our contact form.

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20 Responses to Why is there a waiting list for NHS orthodontic treatment?

  1. Carla 11th July 2016 at 11:21 pm #

    I have been waiting for braces for a very long time now I am 14 and I know myself I have a little over bite and my teeth aren’t at all straight at the front I also have 2 that are out of place at the bottom. My dentist referred me to allsops in Wallsall around about May last year, as they said something about I have been waiting for a long time my parents filled in a few forms and the orthodontist asked me about my teeth and measured my over bite I haven’t heard nothing since. Should I contact the NHS or contact my dentist?

  2. Total Orthodontics 13th July 2016 at 8:58 am #

    Hi Carla

    If you give your orthodontic practice a call they should be able to update you.

    Best of luck

    Total Orthodontics

  3. gita 20th July 2016 at 2:17 pm #

    after consultation how long I need to wait to get braces? they making unique braces or they putting them in next appointment after the first consultation? thank yuo

  4. Total Orthodontics 20th July 2016 at 5:30 pm #

    Hi Gita

    It will depend on whether you are having NHS or private treatment. If you are having NHS treatment, you may need to join a waiting list before your brace is fitted. You can contact your local practice to find out how long your wait might be. If you are opting for private treatment there is unlikely to be a waiting list, but some braces are custom made, which can take a few weeks.

    We hope that helps.

    Best wishes

    Total Orthodontics

  5. Lauren 25th July 2016 at 8:38 am #

    Lauren. Since January I’ve been waiting for my braces because I went to the dentist in newcross and they referred me to greenwich orthodontist and they said it will take about 3 months.

  6. Total Orthodontics 27th July 2016 at 2:41 pm #

    Hi Lauren

    It sounds like you’ve been put on the NHS waiting list. If you give your orthodontist in Greenwich a call they should be able to update you.

    Best wishes

    Total Orthodontics

  7. Emily 28th July 2016 at 12:10 am #

    I was told I was put on the waiting list in 2012, ever since I have barely heard anything from my orthodontist and if I call they don’t tell me to call back until October 2017. Is there anyone else I can contact about where I am on the waiting list?

  8. Total Orthodontics 29th July 2016 at 10:14 am #

    Hi Emily

    Your orthodontic practice should be able to provide you with more information.It would be worth giving them another call and asking to speak to the practice manager.

    Best wishes

    Total Orthodontics

  9. Qas 23rd August 2016 at 5:51 pm #

    hiya, i’ve been on the waiting list for almost 5 years now and still havent had any orthodontic treatment

    i really need to get treatment done asap

  10. Total Orthodontics 24th August 2016 at 8:34 am #

    Dear Qas

    If you call your orthodontist they should be able to give you an idea of when you’ll reach the top of their NHS waiting list. They’ll also be able to explain your other options, which will include private treatment. This is self-funded so there isn’t usually a waiting list.

    Best wishes

    Total Orthodontics

  11. Macie 12th September 2016 at 8:43 pm #

    My dentist said I am borderline and is referring me to an orthodontist how long should I expect to wait. Was said around a month ago

  12. Total Orthodontics 14th September 2016 at 6:27 pm #

    Hi Macie

    You’ll need to contact the practice that you’ve been referred to for an accurate time frame. If that’s us, please give us a call on 0800 781 0035.

    Best wishes

    Total Orthodontics

  13. Rebecca 3rd October 2016 at 5:25 pm #

    I’ve just got back from my dentist and my daughter has been referred for a brace but the waiting list is 4 years apparently, I find this highly ridiculous she is 12 and should get all nhs treatment free of charge anyway really miffed how they will make kids wait years and years, she will be 16 by the time she gets to the top of the list and I find that absolutely disgusting it’s bad enough having braces when your in school let alone in college or when working. I wish I could afford to pay privately but I can’t, sorry for ranting but it’s ridiculous!

  14. Total Orthodontics 5th October 2016 at 12:01 pm #

    Hi Rebecca

    It could be worth speaking to your dentist to see if there’s another orthodontist with a shorter waiting list in your area that you could be referred to. Or perhaps contact the orthodontic practice that you’ve been referred to directly – they’ll be able to give you up-to-date information on their NHS waiting list.

    Best wishes

    Total Orthodontics

  15. Davidzo 9th October 2016 at 1:21 pm #

    Hi!
    My name is Davidzo and I’ve been on the waiting list since June 2014. My waiting time was quite decent with only 18 months expected before I reach the top of the waiting list. However, I still haven’t had my braces fitted and it’s been nearly 3 years. I was wondering what I should do, and who I should talk to so that I can see what’s going on. Do you have any Suggestions?

    Thank you! 🙂

  16. Total Orthodontics 10th October 2016 at 10:12 am #

    Hi Davidzo

    Our suggestion would be to give the orthodontic practice that you’ve been referred to a call for more information. They’ll be able to tell you where you are on the waiting list currently and discuss any other options that might be available to you.

    Best wishes

    Total Orthodontics

  17. Jamie-Leigh 13th October 2016 at 4:28 pm #

    Hi,
    I got put on the waiting list when I was 13, I am now 19 and am having my braces fitted in two weeks, I had paid the NHS band 3 charge of £233.70 for it but today i had been told by my dentist that i didn’t need to pay the NHS charge because I was under 18 when I was put on the waiting list, is this true?

  18. Total Orthodontics 17th October 2016 at 9:19 pm #

    Hi Jamie-Leigh

    You’ll need to speak to your orthodontic practice about this. We don’t have an NHS contract for over 18s, but patient charges usually apply when treatment starts, not when you are placed on the waiting list.

    Kindest regards

    Total Orthodontics

  19. Safs 27th October 2016 at 12:05 am #

    Hi
    If you’re placed on a waiting list when you’re under 18, but only receive treatment when you’re 18 or over do you need to pay for it?

  20. Total Orthodontics 28th October 2016 at 10:58 am #

    Hello Safs

    You’ll need to discuss this with your orthodontist, as it will depend on their NHS contract. If you are a patients of ours, please give us a call on 0800 781 0035.

    Best wishes

    Total Orthodontics


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