While children are entitled to free dental treatment there are a number of reasons why parents may choose private orthodontic treatment for their child instead.
All children under the age of 18 years old receive dental treatment on the NHS – including orthodontic treatment for those who qualify.
And it is that need to qualify which may be the first point at which parents turn to private orthodontic treatment.
With NHS resources being limited, children wanting orthodontic treatment for their teeth are graded according to need. Any child who has issues with their teeth classed as grade 4 or above is eligible for NHS treatment.
Grade 4, however, means children that have teeth that are moderately or severely overcrowded, suffer a prominent overbite or have missing teeth.
Teeth that are moderately overcrowded are classed as borderline and may not always receive NHS treatment. While a child with teeth that only display mild irregularities is unlikely to qualify for NHS treatment.
The problem here is that what may seem like a minor issue officially can be a big deal personally, particularly for self-conscious teenagers.
It is also worth considering how the passage of time will affect milder problems in teeth. Teeth move forwards with age so there is a chance that a minor issue could worsen with age.
Children’s mouths are much more receptive to the movement of teeth allowing for faster, more effective treatment.
With this in mind it may be worth getting smaller problems dealt with at a time when the gums are more responsive to change.
Another factor in choosing private orthodontic care for children is choice. Opting for private orthodontic treatment for children means access to a wider range of treatments – in particular more discreet braces.
Having control over the way their braces look will help children to embrace the treatment needed to correct their teeth.
More discreet braces could also help to calm the anxieties of teenagers concerned about their appearance – and help to maintain their self-esteem.
Another major factor in parents choosing private orthodontic care for children is time. The waiting list for NHS orthodontic treatment can stretch up to two years, which is a long time for a child struggling with their teeth.
The earlier treatment starts the better in terms of the responsiveness of the mouth.
It is ideal if orthodontic treatment takes place in younger teenagers so that treatment – and the associated check-ups – do not cause an unnecessary distraction when exams start.
To find out more about private orthodontic treatment for children get in touch with the professional team at Stoke Orthodontics to talk through the options and make an appointment.