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NHS treatment

At Harpenden Orthodontics, we provide orthodontic treatment funded by the NHS. Patients must meet certain criteria to be eligible for this. However, if you don’t, we are still able to offer independent treatment so you can achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.


What is NHS treatment?

NHS-funded orthodontic treatment is for patients under the age of 18 who meet certain assessment criteria. These criteriaare measured on the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) and evaluates a patient’s need for treatment.

The IOTN was introduced by the NHS in April 2006 to help determine which patients required urgent orthodontic treatment. It provides orthodontic practices throughout England with an objective rating system as patients are given a score depending on the extent of their dental needs. The criteria look at both dental health requirements and aesthetic elements.

NHS eligibility

To determine if a patient is eligible for NHS funded orthodontic treatment, ourorthodontists here at Harpenden Orthodontics, will need to conduct an assessment. This assessment is free and is usually carried out after your dentist has referred you to us. We are also happy to conduct an assessment without a referral and our friendly reception team can organise this for you.

There are some restrictions to NHS-funded treatment. Only the cost of traditional metal braces is covered, so other treatment options, such as Invisalign, are not funded.

Assessing treatment needs

Whether a patient has been referred to us by a dentist or by themselves, we will carry out an assessment to determine whether you are eligible for treatment under the NHS. Upon completion of this assessment a patient will be categorised in one of the following groups:

  • Waiting list – patients in this group have been accepted for NHS-funded treatment under the IOTN but must now wait for treatment to begin
  • Review – patients in this group look to be eligible for NHS-funded treatment under the IOTN but are not yet ready to start
  • Discharged – patients in this group are either ineligible for NHS-funded treatment or have decided they do not wish to proceed with treatment
  • Referral – patients in this group need to be referred to a hospital orthodontic service

Independent treatment

If you do not score high enough on the IOTN and are therefore ineligible for NHS-funded orthodontic treatment (we’ll provide a report explaining the reasons why), we can treat you as an independent patient. Although this does require you to pay, a wider range of treatment options are available and we have payment plans to help make the cost of treatment more affordable.

For more information on NHS-funded treatment at Harpenden Orthodontics, contact us today.


Thank you for eberything you are doing in Maria’s treatment in such a short space of time, we are truly grateful, thank you.

Mrs and maria trueman

Smile 1

Thank you so much for the wonderful work that you have put into my treatment! Before I had braces I was very aware and self-conscious about smiling. I did not have nice teeth and would feel embarassed whenever I smiled. However, now that my treatment is finally finished I have the confidence to smile a huge smile. Although the process was quite long (because of the state of my teeth) it was definately well worth the wait.

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