Who can have braces?

Orthodontics not only improves the overall appearance of your teeth, but can also benefit the way you bite together. Orthodontic treatment may also make your teeth easier to clean.

It is possible to have orthodontics at any age, however as an adult, treatment options are more limited. This is because when the permanent teeth begin to come through as a child it is possible to recognise any orthodontic problems at this point (such as overcrowding). It is also because the jaw bones are still developing.

If your oral hygiene is poor, you may be at risk of greater damage to your teeth with orthodontic appliances. Your dentist will be able to advise you on whether you are a suitable candidate for orthodontic treatment, and then discuss your treatment options.

Orthodontic treatment is available free of charge under the NHS for people under the age of 18, although it is usually only begun once the adult teeth have started to come through (typically around the age of 12).

To qualify for free treatment, an assessment must be made that shows the treatment is considered to be clinically necessary. To assess this, dentists use a system called the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need. There may be a long waiting list for treatment under the NHS.

For information on the types of orthodontic treatment, click here.