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Your Introduction to NHS Orthodontic Treatment

If your dentist has referred you/your child to us by the age of 17, you may be entitled to NHS orthodontic treatment. Read on for further information on NHS treatment with Bright Orthodontics.

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Getting a referral

When you are concerned about your bite or smile goals, you can ask your regular dentist to assess and refer you to see a specialist orthodontist in the NHS via the Dental Referral Portal. They will give you a unique reference number which will help you to track your referral status.

The referral is then triaged and maintained on a central waiting list and not directly sent to the requested orthodontist. Once you are on top of the waiting list, your details will then be transferred to the orthodontic practice.


  1. Speak to your dentist
  2. Obtain a URN (Unique Reference Number)
  3. Track your referral
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Qualifying for NHS Treatment

It’s important to understand that the NHS provides orthodontic treatment only in more severe cases according to an IOTN (Index of Treatment Need) score. You will always have a free NHS consultation to assess your IOTN with one of our specialist orthodontists. If your case is not severe enough to qualify for NHS treatment, we will guide you through options including private treatment alternatives.

During your consultation we will also assess suitability for treatment in terms of oral hygiene, underlying health conditions, motivation, and how cooperative you/your child will be to have treatment. Orthodontic treatment is a long-term commitment, and we want you to be sure you are motivated and committed with all it entails.

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IOTN is an objective and reliable way to select those children who will benefit most from treatment and is considered as a fair way to prioritise limited NHS funding.

Scored from 1-5 in treatment need, the IOTN considers:

  • Missing Teeth
  • Impacted Teeth
  • Overjet
  • Crossbites
  • Displacement of contact points
  • Overbites
    • Our specialist orthodontics will assess each of these factors to determine your IOTN score. NHS treatment requires a score of 3.6 or higher. IOTN does not include/assess any psychological aspects.

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What happens if you do not qualify for NHS orthodontic treatment?

A good percentage of Under 17’s referred are eligible for NHS treatment. Sadly, there are a few who don’t meet the IOTN score.

We understand that this can be disappointing for some patients and parents alike, and if you are keen, we can offer alternatives including affordable private orthodontic options and how to spread the cost of treatment.

Affordable Private Treatment
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When will you be seen

Your referral will be sent to us when you reach the top of the NHS referral waiting list.

The NHS has an annual limit to the amount of funding available for orthodontic treatment for each practice and therefore there is a waiting list. We frequently get enquiries about waiting times but unfortunately your details aren’t shared with us until the point of referral.

When we receive your referral, you will be contacted based on the contact details on the referral to book an appointment at the soonest opportunity.

Any changes to your personal details before you’ve heard from us must be changed via your regular dentist so that the Dental Referral Portal record is corrected.

Feel free to keep track of your referral with your U.R.N.

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Bright Orthodontics

Unit B, Hunts Cross Retail Park, Speke Hall Road, Liverpool, L24 9GB

T. 01513 292 000 E.

Opening Hours





09.00 - 13.00






08.30 - 13.00





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Discover a Brighter Smile: Bright Orthodontics Ormskirk Hosts Open Day on 29th Of June

Discover a Brighter Smile: Dr Andrew Hunter, Specialist in Orthodontics’, welcomes you to our event at Bright Orthodontics Ormskirk on the 29th June. Including a Free Specialist Orthodontic Consultation & a total saving of £500!