Orthodontic treatment is usually carried out at the start of puberty, e.g. 13 years old as the teenager will have their full set of permanent teeth by then.

But there are a few cases where orthodontic treatment is performed on a child younger than 13 which is due to a developmental disorder, e.g. cleft palate or a misaligned jaw. In these cases the disorder is likely to affect their ability to speak or eat so treatment is necessary at a younger age.

If you are an adult then you can undergo treatment at any age.

Your dentist will advise you about orthodontic treatment. He/she will refer you to a dentist who specialises in orthodontics – known as an ‘orthodontist’ – who will recommend a suitable course of treatment.

Some dental practices offer orthodontic treatment but this is not usually available on the NHS which is something adult patients need to consider. Unless you have a severe orthodontic problem or can demonstrate a clear need for NHS treatment then you will have to ‘go private’.

Private treatment is discussed in more detail in our section.