Toothy Questions: How Long Will I Have to Wait for NHS Treatment? - Specialist Orthodontic Group : Specialist Orthodontic Group
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Toothy Questions: How Long Will I Have to Wait for NHS Treatment?

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Unfortunately, receiving NHS orthodontic treatment is not always as straight forward as phoning up and making an appointment. Like any NHS service, there is a waiting list for orthodontic treatment. If you or your child is hoping to undergo teeth realignment treatment through the NHS, it’s good to make sure you know what to expect.

NHS orthodontic treatment is only available to patients under the age of 18 who have a clear clinical need for treatment. This is determined using a scale called the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Needs (IOTN).

The first step in finding out if you are eligible for NHS orthodontic treatment is to visit your usual dentist. They will be able to carry out their own examination and determine whether they think you may be eligible. If so, they will then refer you to a specialist orthodontic practice like us.

Once you have been referred to us, we’ll invite you in for a free NHS consultation. During this appointment we’ll examine your teeth alignment carefully against the IOTN scale and determine whether or not you’re eligible for NHS treatment.

If you’re eligible, we’ll be able to treat you. However, this is where waiting lists come into play. Every specialist orthodontic practice has a limited number of NHS patients they can treat per year. Typically the number of patients on their books who are eligible for treatment outstrips the number of available places. This can result in long waiting times.

Another factor that can come into play with NHS patients is the capacity of the practice. Once you have received an initial consultation, the practice may or may not be ready to take you on for a full course of treatment.

Waiting periods do vary, and when you come in for an initial consultation we’ll be able to give you a clearer idea of how long your wait will be.

Interested in reading more about NHS orthodontic treatment and eligibility? We’ve shared more details about how the IOTN scale works here.