Help! My teenager wants straight white teeth!!


Today’s teenagers are more body conscious and aware than ever, so it would seem. Whilst some of the images we see are clearly not necessarily in their best interests we do know that teeth that are straight tend to have fewer problems as we progress into adulthood.

Aligned teeth are easier to keep clean and therefore we are less likely to have gum disease or tooth decay. Having straight healthy teeth can also help increase confidence socially and generally is to be encouraged. However, over the past few years the numbers of teenagers who have been able to have their teeth straightened by NHS funding has dramatically reduced.

This is due to an index that is applied when a patient attends for orthodontic assessment. Certain characteristics of the way their teeth meet and look are assessed and they are graded according to IOTN or the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Needs.

The system grades all under 18s from 1-5 and only grades of 3.6 or higher are eligible for NHS funded treatment.

For more information on the breakdown of the IOTN then click the link, it’s quite technical but very informative too.

So what do I do if NHS funding has been refused?

  • You can appeal but often this is ineffective unless there is an underlying issue and this can be discussed with your orthodontist.
  •  Accept the teeth as they are.
  • Look at having the treatment but funding privately.

What kind of orthodontic treatments are available to me privately?

All the routine types of teeth straightening are available but also available are the more cosmetic options. You may find that you have little to do to improve the teeth quite dramatically and often we are just looking to align the front six teeth in your smile. You may, therefore, be happy to consider a shorter treatment whereby we can utilize cosmetic brackets and arch wires. These are teeth coloured and hardly visible. We use several systems including the Six Month Smile system at Thackeray Dental Care.


Why Six Month Smiles?

This is the time it usually takes to complete your treatment. Some treatment lengths can be slightly less and some slightly more, your dentist will give you a good indication of how long you could expect to have these brackets and wires in place.

What about clear aligners, do you provide them?

Yes, we can also offer Invisalign treatments that utilize clear aligners to move the teeth. The aligners are changed every two weeks and treatment times do vary, your dentist can advise how long yours would normally take.


So what now?

If you or your teenager have been refused NHS funded orthodontics and you still would like your teeth to be straightened, book in for an assessment. This will give you a good idea of the possibilities, time frames and of course the costings. We can discuss these with you and have access to interest free credit facilities too for your convenience.

Orthodontic treatment can be carried out at any age but straightening teeth in teenage years sets you up for life with a fabulous straight set of teeth to be proud of that will serve you well for life.

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