Exeter Orthodontic Practice
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Exeter Orthodontic practice

The Exeter Orthodontic Practice currently holds an NHS contract with the NHS New Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (formerly Devon Primary Care Trust). Our contract allows us to provide a limited number of orthodontic treatments every year for patients below the age of eighteen and patients aged eighteen who are in full-time education.

To be eligible for NHS orthodontic treatment, patients are assessed using nationally agreed guidelines that were first introduced in 2006. The guidelines are called the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (I.O.T.N.) and look at every aspect of the bite for example the degree of dental crowding, the presence of impacted (buried) teeth and amount of protrusion of the teeth etc.

Our orthodontic specialists are trained to assess the need for treatment carefully, for more information on IOTN, please look at the British Orthodontic Society website (www.bos.org.uk). Provided the patient meets the criteria they will be eligible for orthodontic treatment funded by the NHS.

In the Exeter area there is a very high demand for NHS orthodontic treatment, we are restricted by our contract to only treating a set number of patients per year, this explains why we have a waiting list for NHS treatment.

If patients do not qualify for NHS braces under these criteria, their orthodontic problem would be classed as a cosmetic issue and funding would not be available through the NHS for treatment. In this situation we are able to offer a range of private alternatives with the ability to spread payments if necessary.

Examples of bite problems which will meet the criteria for NHS funded orthodontic treatment:
Significantly crowded teeth Protruding teeth Reverse bite
Impacted (buried) teeth Missing teeth  

Do I have to pay for NHS orthodontic treatment?

The NHS funds all the costs of orthodontic treatment for children who qualify according to the set IOTN criteria. The only exception is the charge for replacement of removable appliances lost or damaged beyond repair (£76.90 in 2018).

The NHS contract for orthodontics funds all appliances, adjustments and repairs required during the entire treatment. The practitioner is free to choose whatever technique and appliance s/he wishes within these requirements. S/he is not under an obligation to use or offer any particular appliance. It is not permitted to charge patients under the age of 18 for an appliance or any part of the treatment, nor to insist that part of the treatment is undertaken privately before acceptance as an NHS patient. To do so is, in effect, asking to be paid twice. Any such practice is a serious breach of NHS regulations.

Why is there a waiting list?

Funding levels for orthodontics in Exeter were set by Devon PCT in 2006 reflecting historical needs for brace treatment in this area. Since this time, although the population of Exeter and the surrounding area has grown significantly, the number of orthodontic treatments that can be funded through the NHS has not changed. As a result the Exeter Orthodontic Practice currently has a waiting list for NHS treatment.

We aim to prioritise older patients and patients with severe bite problems where possible to ensure that they do not miss out on the opportunity to have orthodontic treatment

What can I do if the NHS will not fund treatment for my child?

If your child is not judged to have a dental health need for orthodontic treatment, you may wish to seek treatment on a private basis. The Exeter Orthodontic Practice offers a range of treatments and payments options.

How do I get referred for an orthodontic examination?

Most children are referred for a consultation appointment by their family dentist. Adult patients who wish to be seen for a private consultation are welcome to use the self referral form.



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