Nearly one million people started orthodontic treatment in the UK in 2022, suggesting an increase in demand for treatments that include braces for teeth. Although one of the main uses for braces is for straighter, more attractive teeth, they also have a more medical need in realigning the jaw and ‘bite’ of a person. The need for this is to help an individual to eat more comfortably and to also aid in the care for gums and teeth, avoiding problems later in life.
Treatment for crooked teeth and misaligned jaws varies, though it almost always involves the use of braces of one kind or another. Their purpose is to straighten crooked, crowded or protruding teeth, close gaps between teeth and correct the bite of the teeth, so the top and bottom meet when you close your mouth. Treatment usually lasts from 18 months to two years, with visits to the orthodontist required every four to six weeks.
Factors to Consider
NHS or private
There are two routes that can be used to obtain orthodontic treatment. The first is through the NHS, which if successful will exempt you from payment. The second is through private care, which will result in payment for the full cost of treatment.
Qualifying for free NHS treatment requires a person to be under the age of 18 years. For adults with severe need of treatment, subsidized treatment is available. To qualify for any treatment, all persons must meet the correct criteria, which are assessed by an NHS dentist prior to any referral to orthodontist. It should also be noted that the waiting list for treatment can be anywhere from six months to two years.
Treatment may alternatively be carried out through a private orthodontic clinic. Prices vary widely and will depend on treatment specifics. The costs can be paid in monthly instalments. Quotes can be obtained through visiting your local clinic, however there may be a cost for consultation appointments.
Costs to Consider
If you are taking the private route, you must expect a considerable price tag. The cost of treatment will vary depending on severity of the need. You can expect variations price due to factors such as:
- The severity of the case and the tooth movement required for that person
- The time scale for treatment to be completed (estimates and prices are decided upfront)
- The type of braces or treatment used
- The orthodontist carrying out the treatment (the more experienced, the generally higher price you can expect)
- The location of the clinic where the treatment will be carried out
Type of braces
The type of braces you need or choose will further determine the overall cost of treatment. There are five main braces to choose from, each having their own advantages and disadvantages.
Invisalign are a brand of clear, removable aligners. Each aligner is made to specifically fit your mouth and your teeth. Every two weeks a new one is made and fitted, so that in time your teeth will be moved into the desired position. These are in the mid-range of orthodontic costs, but are popular due to the fact they are removable and clear.
The Inman Aligner is a relatively new orthodontic product aimed at reducing the time required for treatment. Titanium coil springs power two aligner bows, which guide the teeth into their desired position. Most cases are completed within 6-18 weeks, though your orthodontist will give you a more accurate timescale. The Inman Aligner is at the lower cost range compared to alternative treatments.
The most common brace is the Damon System brace. These have the train track style, but with an improved treatment speed and a more hygienic system due to recent improvements. They are in the higher price bracket, though not the most expensive.
The most costly orthodontic brace treatment are Lingual Braces. These are fitted to the inner surface (back) of teeth, making them invisible. This is a highly technical method and requires specialized technique from well-trained orthodontists. Due to this, the prices start at a higher amount than any other brace and can be three times as much, depending on the complexity of treatment required.
Another cost to factor in is if some time after the completion of the treatment, your teeth start to change and redevelop the original problem. This may need further treatment, incurring more costs.
With some treatments, retainers are used to aid the teeth once the braces are no longer required, in order to retain the shape of the teeth. After time the retainers may degrade or become lost, in which case they will need replacing.
|Braces||£1500 – £7000||2022|
|Retainer||£100 – £300||2022|
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