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Why does my child have to wait for orthodontic treatment? What options do I have? Your questions answered!

Why do we have an NHS waiting list?

As a practice that provides NHS orthodontic treatment, we have a contract with NHS England to provide a set amount of orthodontic treatment per year. Unfortunately, this contract is insufficient to manage the demand for orthodontic treatment at Colchester Orthodontic Centre. Essentially, we have far more referrals to our practice for treatment than our contract can accommodate. This is a source of great frustration to us, our referring Dentists & most importantly to those needing orthodontic treatment. As a specialist orthodontic practice, we receive a high number of referrals every week. This fact, together with limited funding, has created a 2-year wait for routine NHS orthodontic treatment at Colchester Orthodontic Centre.

How do we manage your child’s referral?

When your child’s referral reaches us, it is logged onto our practice system. Mr Davies, our senior orthodontic specialist, then assesses the referral form and the clinical information that your dentist has provided & a decision is made as to whether an urgent or non-urgent NHS assessment is required. If your child’s referral is deemed urgent they will be offered an assessment within 6 months. If your child’s referral is non-urgent they are added to our standard waiting list which is currently approximately 2 years in length. This is why it’s SO important for your dentist to provide as much information as possible on your child’s referral form.

Urgent or non-urgent referral?

Some orthodontic problems require treatment to start at an earlier age than others and are considered as urgent problems. These problems usually relate to discrepancies in jaw positioning or the presence of impacted teeth. A delay to the start of treatment might significantly affect treatment outcomes. Other cases, such as crowding of teeth, are not age dependent as to when treatment starts & are considered as non-urgent cases.

What do I do if I think my child requires treatment earlier than the 2-year wait?

We currently aim to offer any referrals that are deemed urgent an assessment within 6 months. If an early start to treatment is considered essential, treatment may begin soon afterwards providing funding is available and the timing is clinically appropriate.

Other options available?

If you do not wish to wait for an NHS assessment, we can offer to see your child on a private patient basis for a consultation. The current cost of this is £150.00. However, if you commit to proceeding with an orthodontic treatment at the consultation appointment, we can refund your consultation fee. We have two treatment pathways available for private treatment. Take a look at our gold and silver treatment options page for further information. We also have lots of flexible payment options in place should you wish to take up private treatment.


If you have any questions/queries please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help!

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