NHS Teeth

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NHS Orthodontics

NHS funded orthodontic treatment is available for patients under the age of 18 years who meet certain criteria. Treatment for more minor problems or cosmetic reasons alone is not usually available on the NHS. If you do not qualify for NHS treatment - here at West Street Orthodontic Practice we are able to offer treatment on a self-funded, private basis.

Importantly, to have an assessment to see if you will be treated under the NHS, you have to be referred to us via your normal general dentist. They have a specific process to pass your referral to us securely after which we will be in touch to arrange your initial assessment appointment.

Patients who do qualify for treatment under the NHS may be subject to a waiting list before treatment can start and as private treatment can often start straight away, many patients choose to explore options with us on a self-funded basis.

All of our treatments, both NHS and Private are carried out and supervised by experienced and qualified Orthodontists or dentists who have a special interest in orthodontics.


A rating system known as the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) is used to assess your eligibility for NHS treatment.

The IOTN has a set criteria for Orthodontist to grade individual cases

  • Grade 1 is almost perfection

  • Grade 2 is for minor irregularities

  • Grade 3 is for greater irregularities which normally do not need treatment for health reasons

  • Grade 4 is for more severe degrees of irregularity and these do require treatment for health reasons.

  • Grade 5 is for severe dental health problems

NHS treatment is available for grade 4 and grade 5 cases. Grade 3 cases are usually judged on an individual basis.



If you are referred to West Street Orthodontic Practice, one of our highly qualified clinicians will carryout your NHS assessment, during the assessment we will also determine the best course of treatment for you. If you don’t meet the criteria for NHS treatment, we can use your assessment to determine if any alternative private treatment options would be suitable.

Please don’t be anxious about the assessment, it is not a test! There are no drills or injections, this appointment is purely our chance to look at your teeth and see what needs to be done to straighten them out. It is also your opportunity to ask us anything, we don’t bite!

If you are eligible for NHS orthodontic treatment there can be a long waiting list, if you would like treatment sooner we can discuss self-funded options with you.

NHS Treatment Path

NHS waiting list: NHS treatment is very popular and as such there can be a waiting list for treatment. Waiting times fluctuate and you’ll be advised on the current waiting times after your assessment. If you want treatment sooner, please ask about our private treatment options.

Braces fitted: You may need to see our hygienist or have treatment to ensure your teeth and gums are in good condition before your brace is fitted. Some people find their new brace a little uncomfortable to start with but this is normal and quickly improves.

Adjustment: You will have regular adjustment appointments to move your teeth in a series of steps. From when your brace is first fitted, it typically takes between 18 to 24 months for your teeth to move into their new, straighter position.

Your new smile: Your metal brace is removed and you will be given a retainer to wear which will help to keep your teeth in their new position. Time to enjoy your new smile!

Retainer: It is important that you wear your retainer according to the orthodontist’s instructions. This will ensure your teeth remain in their new, straight position and do not start to “drift” back into a crooked state.

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