For many years, the NHS has funded orthodontic treatment for those who need it most.
Free NHS braces are available to under-18s who need treatment to improve their dental health. However, limited resources and increasing demand have led to lengthy waiting lists that can stretch for months or even years.
In this article, we’ll explore the alternatives to NHS braces and discuss the pros and cons of each option, helping you make an informed decision.
Who is eligible for NHS braces?
If you are under 18, your dentist can refer you to an orthodontist for a complimentary assessment for NHS braces. The orthodontist will examine your teeth and use the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) to grade your smile.
The IOTN is an objective way to determine who’s eligible for braces. If the position of your teeth is impacting your dental health, you are likely to qualify for NHS treatment.
If your case is borderline, there is an aesthetic component that takes into account the appearance of your smile as well.
The pros and cons of NHS orthodontics
The most obvious advantage of NHS braces is that they are 100% funded by the NHS. This covers all your X-rays, scans, photos, appointments, metal braces and retainers.
Furthermore, the standard of treatment and results in the UK is very high, with peer assessment rating used to monitor and evaluate the outcomes of orthodontic treatment.
The downsides of NHS braces largely stem from limited funding.
If you qualify for treatment, you may need to join a waiting list before you get your braces. Waiting times can vary from one practice to another, and it’s not uncommon for patients to wait years before beginning their treatment.
This could mean your orthodontist isn’t able to fit your braces at the optimum time, and some patients may lose their initial enthusiasm for treatment, which is crucial for achieving great results.
NHS care is also limited to functional or metal fixed braces, which do a fantastic job of straightening teeth but may not be as comfortable or discreet as newer treatment options.
NHS braces include removable retainers only at the end of treatment, whereas many patients would benefit from a combination of fixed and removable retainers.
Alternatives to NHS braces
If you’re not eligible for NHS braces, don’t want to wait to start your treatment or you’d prefer a more discreet appliance, there are alternatives available.
Our orthodontic practice in Ewell is fully private, and all our treatments are available on a self-funded basis, offering some exciting additional benefits.
Choose from our discreet treatment options
We provide a wide range of inconspicuous braces, including Invisalign aligners (pictured below), clear or champagne fixed braces, and even lingual braces that attach behind your teeth.
Start your treatment straight away
With no waiting list, we can start your treatment immediately or plan it for the perfect time that suits you.
Everyone is eligible
We treat children, teens and adults, without any age limits. We can transform a wide range of misalignments, including minor corrections that may not qualify for NHS treatment.
At every appointment, you’ll be seen by the same highly experienced specialist orthodontist. We can schedule your appointments around you and outside of school hours.
Benefit from the latest innovations
We have access to the latest advancements, including digital scanning and DentalMonitoring, which allows us to monitor your progress remotely between appointments.
Enjoy long-lasting results
We provide every patient with fixed and removable retainers (where appropriate) to maintain your new smile. If you’re 18 or over, you’ll receive home teeth whitening, too.
Spread the cost of your smile
We offer a choice of payment options, including interest-free finance, to help you spread the cost of your smile.
Book a consultation with a specialist
If you’re ready to start orthodontic treatment, seeking a second opinion or exploring your options, we’d be delighted to meet you for a no-obligation consultation.
Our comprehensive orthodontic assessments include X-rays (if necessary), photographs, a 30-minute session with a specialist orthodontist and time with a treatment coordinator to discuss your treatment and payment options.
Not quite ready to visit us in person? You can start a virtual consultation from the comfort of your home and receive an instant report with your options.
If you have any questions about private versus NHS braces, please don’t hesitate to contact us.