NHS Orthodontic Care

NHS orthodontic care is available to under 18s who require orthodontic treatment for dental health reasons, such as severe crowding of the teeth. Treatment for purely cosmetic problems is not usually available on the NHS.

We offer NHS braces at several of our practices, for under 18s who are referred by their general dentist.

What is the criteria for NHS orthodontic care?

If you’re under the age of 18, you may be eligible for NHS orthodontic treatment if your health may be impacted without it.

The first step is to visit your dentist. If they believe you might qualify, you’ll be referred to an orthodontist for a free consultation to determine if you meet the NHS orthodontic treatment criteria.

During your consultation, your orthodontist will assess your teeth, using a rating system called the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN).

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 between one and five.

Grade one

If you are given a score of one, this means your teeth are practically perfect. As such, you won’t be eligible for NHS care.

Grade two

If you score two you have a minor irregularity, which doesn’t require NHS treatment for dental health reasons.

Grade three

Grade three means you have a moderate irregularity and you might be eligible for NHS care.

If you score a three then we’ll also look at the appearance of your teeth to determine whether you’re eligible for NHS treatment. See the aesthetic component section below.

Grade four

If your teeth are grade four then you have a more severe irregularity and will be eligible for NHS care.

Grade five

If you score a five you have a serious irregularity, which requires NHS treatment for dental health reasons.

IOTN – the aesthetic component

If you scored a three 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 10 images, which are used as a reference point for ‘attractiveness’. The photos were rated in order of attractiveness by non-dental professionals. One = most attractive and 10 = least attractive.

If you are given an aesthetic score of six or above, combined with a dental health score of three, 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.

What are the next steps?

Book a free orthodontic consultation*

Fill in the form below to book your free consultation* and one of our team will be in touch.

Find out more

Find out everything you need to know about orthodontics for under 18s.

Terms and conditions:

  1. £2,500 price point applies to Orthodontic Essentials at participating practices to patients aged 18 years or under.
  2. The price point only covers the orthodontic treatment required, in the form of traditional fixed braces, to straighten your teeth
  3. The price point does not include any applicable COVID-19 safety tariffs, which will be charged in addition if they apply.
  4. Prices and options for further treatment may vary depending on location and suitability.
  5. A COVID-19 safety tariff will not apply to the free consultation but may apply to specific appointments in your treatment, which you will be notified of beforehand.
  6. Price is subject to review and may be amended at any time.