What to do if your teenager can’t have NHS braces.


Braces are popular. Most people reading this will know someone who has had a brace or is about to have one.

ID-10056293Many children and teenagers want to have straight white teeth… the Hollywood smile. And braces are now viewed almost as a fashion accessory…you can read about why we think that might be.

However, the NHS will provide free brace treatment only to those who have a sufficient “need” for treatment.

Who really needs braces anyway?

If your child or teenager is referred for orthodontic treatment, the orthodontist will undertake an assessment of how “bad” the teeth are.

This is done by using the IOTN scale… you can read about how the IOTN scale works.

Low IOTN scores indicate that the teeth are not that crooked… in which case NHS treatment may not be available.

This means that limited NHS resources are used to treat those patients who have a genuine “need” for treatment.

Specialist orthodontists are trained in the use of this scale so that families can be assured of an accurate assessment. The assessment in identical for all NHS practices in England.

What could you do if your child does not qualify for NHS braces?

Maybe nothing at all.

A low IOTN scores will mean that the health benefits to making the teeth any straighter will be small.

Another thing to consider  is the likelihood of the teeth staying straight after braces are removed? Will your son or daughter really wear their retainers for years after braces are removed? Read about retainers and why we use them.

Your specialist orthodontist will advise on the benefits that you can expect and how likely the teeth are to become crooked again.

Think about treatment a few years down the line.

Orthodontic treatment can be provided at any age these days. Cleveland Orthodontics now sees more adult patients than ever who are interested in modern white and ‘invisible” braces such as Invisalign™.

Paying for treatment outside of the NHS is not an option for some families. But many teens come back to our practice when they have grown up and become financially independent.

Consider proceeding with braces outside of the NHS.

People feel very differently about their teeth. For some, even a small gap or a slightly twisted tooth can make them self-conscious.

If that is the case, maybe orthodontic treatment will still be an option worth considering. Treatments include:

About Cleveland Orthodontics

Our specialist-led practice has been established since 1996 and provides brace treatment to people of all ages from across the North East, including Middlesbrough, Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees, Billingham and Redcar.

We offer NHS orthodontic treatment for children and a range of modern white and “invisible” braces for adults of all ages such as Invisalign. FREE consultations are available… you can either telephone for an appointment on 01642 243 020 or book through our website.

Image courtesy of David Castillo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net