If your misaligned teeth are hampering your smile or affecting your normal function,

speak to your dentist today about orthodontic treatments.

What is Orthodontics?

The type of treatment depends on the age of the patient and the severity of the problem. A relatively short treatment may be required at this age if there is a problem with the bite or position of developing teeth. All patients are then seen for regular review appointments to monitor their development.

The majority of treatments are carried out when all of the first teeth have been lost; usually between 12 and 15 years of age. The diagnosis and treatment plan will be explained in detail and examples of all necessary braces will be available for demonstration. Extractions are only prescribed in very crowded cases and these are carried out by the family dentist.

Orthodontic treatment can be carried out at any age and an increasing number of adults are having treatment they wish they had in their teens. Many adults that had earlier treatment are having re-treatment as part of an "image makeover". A wide range of braces are now available that are either invisible or less noticeable.

Eligibility for NHS Orthodontics

All patients aged 18 or under are eligible for an NHS assessment. Under the terms of the NHS dental funding, treatment will be directed at those patients which are aged 18 or under, whom treatment will give an improvement in their dental health and not just in the appearance of their teeth.

The way in which the orthodontist decides whether NHS funding is available is by using a complex system of measurements called the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need, (IOTN). As the name suggests, this index gives higher weighting to those cases which need treatment for an improvement in their dental health.

Dental problems which will be provided for on health grounds include:

  • Increased prominence of teeth in excess of 6mm
  • Significant crowding of teeth – a narrow jaw may mean there is not enough room for your teeth
  • Abnormal bites causing trauma or functional problems
  • A deep bite – when your upper teeth cover the lower teeth too much
  • A reverse bite – when your upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth
  • An open bite – when your front teeth remain apart when your back teeth meet
  • Missing or impacted teeth - sometimes, secondary teeth come in the wrong position or do not erupt at all
  • Cases with a possible need for treatment are also assessed on aesthetic grounds and cases with a low aesthetic score are unlikely to qualify for orthodontic treatment under the NHS.

    Many milder cases will not be eligible for NHS funding. In these cases, if treatment is desired, it can be carried with one of our private treatment options.

    In addition to the restrictions applied to those patients eligible for NHS funding, under the new dental contract, the amount of NHS funding provided to us will be limited in each year. This means that even patients eligible for treatment on health grounds may be subject to a waiting list.

    Orthodontics for all the family

    All patients are eligible for private orthodontic treatment, whether they qualify for NHS funding or not. There is no waiting list for private treatment and this option offers the patient a greater choice of appliance and appointments that are not available under the NHS. Private treatment also offers a number of other advantages over NHS treatment which our dental team would be delighted to discuss with you.
    Orthodontic treatment can achieve the results you want, put to right any protruding and the asymmetry of your teeth (particularly when the centre lines of the upper and lower front teeth do not match).


    Every patient needs tailor-made treatment, planned by the orthodontist and agreed with you, the patient. In order to decide what treatment is required for you, your orthodontist will need to carry out a full assessment of your teeth which is likely to include x-rays, impressions (a mould of the teeth) and photographs. Treatment can take more than two years so it is important you are happy from the outset with what is recommended.

    A fixed brace
    This is the most common type of brace today. Brackets are glued onto the teeth and linked by wires. Small elastic hoops are often used to hold the wire in position. The wires exert gentle pressure to move the teeth into a new position. The brackets can be metal, ceramic or even gold and the elastic hoops come in many colours.

    A removable brace
    This is sometimes used for correcting a simple problem, such as moving a single tooth or expanding the dental arch. It has a plastic base plate with wires and springs attached. Removable braces need to be worn all the time except for cleaning or sport.

    Functional appliances:
These are used to harness the growth of the jaws and improve way the upper and lower teeth meet. There are several designs all of which fit on to both the upper and lower teeth and hold the lower jaw forward. They are mostly removable but should be worn as near to full-time as possible

At the end of treatment, all patients should wear retainers to hold their teeth in the new position. These can be removable or fixed and are an important part of treatment.