When we receive the referral from your Dentist

Your Dentist can only make an NHS referral through the Central Referral Centre who then pass the referral to us. As soon as we receive your referral we will contact you by letter with an appointment. As we are a busy practice that appointment is likely to be approximately 4 months from the date we receive your referral.

Your first visit

When you come for your first visit you will be welcomed by our receptionist and will be given some forms to complete. Your orthodontist will then call you into the surgery for your consultation. In the surgery we will chat through your concerns about your teeth, then have a look at your teeth and make some very simple measurements. Following that we will discuss options for your treatment and you will be given an opportunity to ask questions. Very occasionally we need to take an x-ray at this first visit.

You will then be informed if your orthodontic treatment can be funded by the NHS or if we are unable to offer NHS treatment due to NHS qualification criteria, based on the severity of your dental irregularity at the time of the visit. If you do not qualify for NHS treatment or wish to be treated privately options can be discussed.

If you are ready to start treatment (and are suitable for orthodontic treatment with clean teeth and a healthy mouth) your name will be placed on the NHS active treatment waiting list. This waiting list is currently about one year.

We are unable to place your name on the NHS active treatment waiting list until you are ready, which usually means that you have lost all of your baby teeth. If you are not ready (or suitable for treatment at that time) you will either be returned to your Dentist to be re-referred at a more suitable time or will be placed on recall.

When you are ready to start active treatment

When you reach the top of the NHS active treatment waiting list we will contact you with an appointment. At that visit we will make a final assessment of your teeth to ensure that you fall into one of the categories for which the NHS will fund treatment. With growth of the face and eruption of the teeth things can improve or worsen. Very occasionally patients may find that when they reach the top of the waiting list the teeth have improved to a level that they no longer qualify for NHS funding for treatment. Under the NHS regulations we are unable to offer NHS treatment if this is the case.

Provided you still qualify for NHS funding we will take treatment records of your teeth. This will usually involve taking some photographs of you and your teeth, taking some moulds of your teeth and if indicated, taking an x-ray.

Your finalised treatment plan will then be drawn up and you will be given a copy. When you leave the surgery you can go to reception and book your appointment to start your orthodontic treatment. If extractions are required these are carried out by your Dentist after they have received a letter from us, you will need to contact them about a week after your visit with us.

The visit when your braces are fitted

Some people start orthodontic treatment with a custom-made, removable brace. This is very easy to fit and the appointment usually lasts 5-10 minutes. The appliance will be fitted and adjusted to ensure it is as comfortable as possible, although there is always a bit of discomfort at the start. You will be shown how to put the brace in and how to remove it. You will need a box to keep your removable brace in and these can be purchased from us for £1.50 or you can use a clean plastic ‘tupperware’ type.

If your treatment is starting with fixed braces the appointment is slightly longer and usually lasts 20 minutes. Having the braces glued onto your teeth and the wires fixed is easy and painless. You may find that your teeth become tender over the following few days and occasionally patients may develop ulcers. Your orthodontist will show you how to use wax to help prevent ulcers.

Whichever brace you have your orthodontist will show you how to clean it and your teeth. You may choose to purchase care products from the reception so you might need to bring some money.

Regular visits

You will need to attend regularly for adjustments to your braces, usually every 2-3 months.

Removal of the braces and retainers

When your treatment is completed and your teeth are beautifully straight we will arrange to remove your braces. You will need to attend one week after your braces are removed to have your retainers fitted. Retainers must be worn long-term, as advised by your orthodontist.