Orthodontics and the NHS

Orthodontic treatment is available on the NHS but it only applies to young people, i.e. under 18 years old. Plus they must have a recognisable need for treatment.

Unfortunately adults are not able to access NHS treatment however, there are exceptions to this. Each case is assessed on an individual basis and treatment will be given if there is a strong need.

Who decides who receives treatment? Children and teenagers are assessed using a rating system which uses grades or severity ratings to determine the need for treatment. This orthodontic treatment rating system or 'Index of Need' is discussed in more detail in a separate section.

It is a question of funding: the NHS has limited resources and has to prioritise treatment according to need. They have to decide who is most likely to benefit from orthodontic treatment.

This rating system is used to determine need and eligibility in children only.