Orthodontic Treatment under the NHS
Children under the age of 18 could be eligible for orthodontic treatment under the NHS, if they have been assessed as having a clear clinical need for treatment.
- A system know as Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) is used as a means of assessing whether orthodontic treatment is required and can therefore be provided under NHS general dental services (GDS).
- Eligibility for NHS can usually take between 6 to 12 weeks to confirm and sometimes, there is a waiting list for NHS orthodontic treatment.
- Patient considered to have less severe irregularities of their teeth will not be eligible for funding under the NHS. However, all patients can still benefit from an increased range of treatments, carried out under our private treatment options.
If you would like an assessment for treatment under the NHS for your child or teen, please ask your dentist for a referral to M-Brace.
A functional appliance (eg. the Twin Block) is a type of brace to correct a “Class II” problem, which are a group of bite problems where the top teeth bite in front of the lower teeth. Functional appliances may be either fixed or removable.
Removable functional appliances are the most popular treatment in the U.K.
The more common removable functional appliances are made from separate upper and lower parts, which interlock placing the lower jaw in a more advanced position. Other types of functional appliance are made from just one piece, although these may adapt slightly less well to the teeth. Correction of prominent top teeth (Class II problem) is not straightforward and relies on co-operation from you or your child.
To address both Class II problems and crooked teeth may require the use of both a functional appliance, followed by fixed braces, or less commonly use of functional and fixed braces at the same time. The indications for each approach depends on the specific problem so it’s best your child comes in for an assessment.
- Jaw surgery
Conventional Fixed Appliances
- Fixed appliances are the most commonly used appliances and are able to produce very precise tooth movement to achieve ideal results.
- Treatment with fixed appliances usually starts once all the adult teeth have erupted and usually lasts for 18-24 months. All fixed appliance treatment is followed by retention.
- Many different brands of fixed appliance are available, which can be very confusing for patients, but they all essentially perform the same function.
- Manufacturers may claim that their products produce more superior results than others. Care must be taken in accepting such claims as often they are not substantiated by scientific evidence. Below are described the main types of fixed appliances: metal fixed appliances and tooth-coloured fixed appliances.
Metal fixed appliances
- These are the most common form of appliance used in children and are often also termed ‘train tracks’. They are most commonly made from stainless steel and attached onto the teeth using tooth coloured filling material (composite resin). Care has to be taken eating hard foods as the attachment can easily be broken leading to a disruption in treatment. An orthodontic wire (archwire) is tied (or ligated) into the bracket using coloured elastic rings which can discolour in-between visits.
- These elastics can be silver coloured to blend in which the appliance or brightly coloured. As treatment progresses the orthodontist will progress to thicker wires which can place greater forces onto the teeth. Some patients term this process as ‘tightening’ the appliance. Appliances can easily be removed at the end of treatment leaving the teeth intact.
Ceramic or tooth-coloured fixed appliances
- Rather than using stainless steel, the attachments may be made from a hard ceramic material to blend in with the tooth colour. The orthodontic wires can also be tooth coloured to help improve the appearance further.
- Ceramic fixed appliances can be as effective as conventional fixed appliances at achieving tooth movement. Sometimes they are not recommended for the lower teeth, if the bite is deep, because the hard material can damage the opposing teeth that contact the attachments. Ceramic appliances are slightly more difficult to remove than conventional fixed appliances, however, they are unlikely to damage healthy teeth in most cases.
- These appliances offer a more aesthetic appearance as they are made of clear materials and you can almost hide the fact that you are wearing a brace, therefore they are visually less prominent and blend in with the natural colour of the teeth. They offer a good aesthetic solution while getting great results.
- Tooth-coloured fixed braces are only available on a private basis.