Are Adults Eligible for NHS Orthodontic Treatment?

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We’re very lucky to benefit from the national health service. It makes healthcare accessible for us all, regardless of age, income or location. As you may already know, NHS funding works differently for dental care and orthodontics than it does for other types of medical care. 

Orthodontic care is available free of charge for people under the age of 18, so long as they have a clear health-related need for the treatment. There are limitations to NHS orthodontic treatment; it only offers traditional fixed braces. Invisible braces are not available on the NHS. Waiting times can also be a problem as each orthodontic practice is only funded to support a certain number of NHS patients per year.

But what about adults? Is NHS orthodontic treatment available for those over the age of eighteen?

The short answer to this is no, not usually. However, there are two exceptions to this.

1) if the individual turned 18 whilst on the waiting list

It may be that a young person has been on a waiting list for NHS orthodontic treatment since before they turned 18. Even if they are over the age limit when they reach the top of the waiting list, they will still be entitled to the treatment they’ve been waiting for! 

2) if there are severe health needs

It’s unusual for NHS orthodontic care to be approved for adults, but it can happen. If there is a severe health need for orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist may be able to put you forward for consideration on a case-by-case basis.

This means that individuals over the age of 18 who qualify on the IOTN scale as a grade 4 or grade 5 case may be able to be considered for NHS treatment. Like younger orthodontic patients, they will only be eligible for traditional fixed braces. 

Do you think you need orthodontic treatment? We’re always on hand to offer personalised advice. Please get in touch to arrange a consultation appointment.