Orthodontics and young people

The majority of orthodontic patients are children and teenagers who are fitted with dental braces to correct misaligned teeth. Thankfully, the days of 'train track' braces are behind us and largely due to advances in dental technologies, attractive lightweight braces are commonly available.

These braces are transparent, friction free and comfortable to wear. Plus an increasing number of young people are requesting these lightweight braces, for example, Invisalign or Damon braces.

Braces are discussed in more detail in our orthodontic treatments section.

What is the most common age for orthodontic treatment?

Most young people have treatment around the ages of 12 or 13. This is because their permanent teeth are breaking though which means that they are easier to move into the correct position. A brace will exert gradual pressure on these developing teeth, re-aligning them as they do so which means an improved facial structure and appearance.

This process varies from one child to another but in general, they require a brace at the start of their teenage years. However it is not uncommon for a child to need a brace at an earlier age.

Braces for young people

There is a type of brace especially designed for young people called 'Invisalign teen' which look similar to the adult Invisalign brace but with a few minor differences.

There are other types of braces which are suitable for young people and should also be considered.

NHS orthodontic treatment

Orthodontic treatment within the NHS is free to anyone under 18 as long as there is a clear, demonstrable need. The definition of 'need' is governed by the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) which grades this according to the extent of the orthodontic problem.
(Source: www.bos.org.uk)

This rating system is discussed in greater detail in our orthodontics and the NHS section.

Treatment is free to young people but there are limitations on this due to scarcity of NHS funding. And it does not include the newer forms of treatment such as transparent braces (e.g. Invisalign) or clear brackets (e.g. Damon).

These are only available through private treatment. What about adults? Adults are not usually eligible for NHS treatment, but, there are exceptions to this. Find out more in our orthodontics and NHS section. Many young people benefit greatly from orthodontic treatment.