If you are eligible for NHS braces, your treatment will be fully funded by the NHS from start to finish. Everything from your initial assessment to your aftercare is included.
Who can benefit from NHS braces?
If you are under 18, you can ask your dentist to refer you to a specialist orthodontist in Brighton & Hove for a free NHS assessment. Our orthodontists will examine your teeth and score them using the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need.
If you need orthodontic treatment to improve your dental health, you’ll qualify for NHS-funded treatment. If your case is cosmetic, you won’t be eligible for NHS care, but we can discuss private alternatives and finance options with you.
Your NHS treatment will include fixed braces, all your appointments, removable retainers and 12 months of aftercare.
There are a few optional extras that aren’t covered by NHS funding, for example, gumshields for contact sports, your oral hygiene pack and fixed retainers.
Are invisible braces available through the NHS?
Unfortunately, NHS funding doesn’t cover invisible options like Invisalign or clear braces. NHS treatment is designed to be cost-effective, so it includes fixed metal braces and functional appliances.
Fixed braces are an excellent way to straighten teeth. They consist of small metal brackets that are connected by a thin metal archwire. The archwire is secured to each bracket by an elastic ligature. These are available in a wide choice of colours, so you can customise your brace colours every time we change your archwire.
If you’d prefer your treatment to be more discreet, invisible braces are available on a private basis with prices starting from £2,200. You can learn more about how much braces cost and the different ways you can pay over on our prices page.
The other benefits of private care include no waiting lists, longer appointments and fixed retainers. You don’t need a referral from your dentist, so you can contact us directly to arrange your free no-obligation consultation.
We’re proud to be one of only two NHS orthodontic practices in Brighton & Hove. Our specialist orthodontists and orthodontic therapists deliver NHS treatment to under 18s who need braces to improve their dental health.
Currently, our waiting list for NHS assessments is 6–8 months. We’re doing everything we can to reduce this timeframe, but if you need advice sooner, you do have options.
Keep reading to find out why we have a waiting list, and what you can do if you can’t wait for a consultation.
NHS referrals in Brighton & Hove
If your dentist thinks you might be eligible for NHS orthodontic treatment, they’ll refer you to an orthodontist in Brighton & Hove for a free assessment. Unfortunately, you can’t refer yourself for NHS braces.
We receive more referrals than we can see each month, which has led to a waiting list for NHS assessments. This hasn’t been helped by the pandemic and an influx of transfer cases from another orthodontic practice in 2019.
We closed our waiting list briefly in 2019 to catch up with the demand for NHS treatment.
The good news is that once we’ve seen you for your assessment if you’re eligible for NHS braces, we can start your treatment straight away.
What if you can’t wait?
Some cases are more time-sensitive than others. If you need an assessment promptly, your dentist can mark your referral as urgent, and you will join a shorter, priority waiting list.
Alternatively, you can contact us directly to arrange a complimentary private consultation with a specialist orthodontist. Private consultations are available to all ages, and we can give you a date for your appointment right away.
During your private consultation, we’ll go through all your treatment options. If you are under 18, we can assess your teeth using the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need to see if you’re eligible for NHS braces.
If you qualify for NHS treatment, in fairness to everyone on our waiting list, we won’t be able to fit your braces immediately. You’ll need to join a treatment waiting list that’s a similar length to our waiting list for consultations.
Paying for your braces privately
If you visit us for a private consultation, we’ll give you quotes for all your preferred treatment options. If you decide to pay for your treatment, there is no waiting list, and we can arrange the next steps as soon as you’re ready.
Self-funded treatment includes a wide choice of braces, including Invisalign and clear fixed braces. You’ll also receive 12 months of aftercare, as well as fixed and removable retainers.
If you have any questions about our waiting list, NHS or private treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact our reception team.
If you’d like to arrange a complimentary private consultation, complete our contact form and we’ll call you back to answer any questions and book your appointment.
Orthodontic treatment alone achieves impressive results, but in combination with teeth whitening, it can transform your smile.
We offer complimentary teeth whitening to every adult patient (unfortunately, teeth whitening isn’t recommended for under 18s). At the end of your teeth-straightening treatment, we’ll provide you with everything you need to safely whiten your teeth at home.
Professional home teeth whitening
We use professional home whitening kits because they allow you to build up your results over time. Most patients achieve their perfect shade within a week or two of nightly bleaching.
Your kit will include professional whitening gel, so you can expect impressive results. Over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments only tackle surface stains, and some of them can be abrasive.
If you damage your enamel with poor quality whitening treatments, the dentine below could start to show through, and your teeth will appear yellow.
In the UK, teeth whitening should only be provided by a registered dentist or specialist, or by a dental therapist or hygienist working to the prescription of a dentist.
When it’s done correctly, teeth whitening is very safe and won’t damage your teeth. However, it can cause some temporary sensitivity. If your teeth start to feel sensitive during whitening treatment, try bleaching them on alternate nights and use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
Are the results permanent?
You’ll need to top-up your results now and then to maintain the whiteness of your teeth. Your new shade could last for anything from a few months to a few years – it varies person to person. It helps to avoid foods, drinks and habits that stain teeth, for example, red wine, coffee, tea and smoking.
Who’s suitable for whitening?
We’d expect you to have healthy teeth and gums at the end of your orthodontic treatment, which is a prerequisite for teeth whitening. If you have overly sensitive teeth or worn enamel, you may not be suitable for whitening.
Unfortunately, we can’t bleach restorations like veneers, crowns and bridges, so you’d have to consider replacing them after whitening treatment.
Patients with yellow tones to their teeth usually respond well to teeth whitening. Whitening will lift your teeth by several shades, but it can’t achieve the exceptionally white results that we see in the media. This is usually accomplished with veneers.
Discover braces and whitening
To talk to us about teeth straightening and whitening, arrange your complimentary consultation with a specialist orthodontist. Contact our friendly team to arrange your no-obligation appointment.
Some people still associate braces with children and teenagers, but most of our private patients are adults. Braces are more convenient, comfortable and discreet than ever before, and they can achieve incredible results for all ages.
It’s not too late to love your smile
We’ve seen a growing number of adults in their 50s and 60s start orthodontic treatment with us.
Some of them had wanted braces for a long time, while others didn’t realise that braces were even an option until they visited us for a free consultation.
People seek out orthodontic treatment for all different reasons:
Most patients are unhappy about the appearance of their teeth when they smile and talk
While some want braces to improve the function of their teeth, for example, how they bite together
Sometimes it’s a special event that prompts adults to book a consultation – or seeing the amazing results of a friend or relative. The one thing our patients all have in common is wishing they did it sooner.
If you’re considering braces or wondering if they’re right for you, we’d love to see you for a no-pressure free consultation. We’ll go through all your treatment options and answer any questions.
Is orthodontic treatment different for adults?
In many ways, orthodontic treatment is the same whatever your age. You’ll have the same choice of fixed braces and Invisalign aligners, treatment times are similar, and you’ll need the same dedication to your aftercare.
So, what are the differences between adult and children’s braces?
One key difference is the opportunity for us to use functionalappliances. These removable braces help to improve the position of your jaws and how your teeth bite together.
Functional appliances only work if you’re still growing, so, unfortunately, they’re not an option for older teens and adults. Aligning your teeth can improve your bite, but if you have a significant overjet or underbite, you may need jaw surgery to achieve the optimal outcome.
Often, the scope of treatment is different for adults versus children. Our younger NHS patients are in treatment because they require braces for dental health reasons. While adults typically want to improve the appearance of their front teeth, which can take as little as six months.
Can you wear braces if you’ve had dental work?
If you are in your 50s or 60s you may already have fillings, veneers, crowns, bridges or implants. Fortunately, these can all be accommodated during orthodontic treatment.
During your free consultation, we’ll carry out a gentle examination to make sure you’re suitable for braces. If you have any restorations such as crowns or bridges that are loose, you’ll need to get them repaired before we start your treatment.
If you have a dental implant it won’t move, so we’ll need to plan your treatment around its position or consider relocating it. We’ll show you a 3D preview of your new smile so you can visualise your projected outcome.
If you are planning to have dental work done to complement your straight smile, we’ll liaise closely with your dentist. We can move your teeth into the best possible position to enhance your outcome and minimise the removal of enamel.
Incognito adult braces
Many of our patients opt for visible fixed braces – they’re affordable, efficient and a unique talking point. But if you’d prefer to keep your orthodontic treatment discreet, we have some excellent alternatives.
Invisalign straightens teeth with clear, removable aligners. It’s incredibly convenient – you can take your aligners out to eat, drink and clean your teeth. Our specialist orthodontist Dr Iain Hoeltschi is an Invisalign Platinum Provider with the experience and expertise to take on more challenging cases using clear aligners.
We also offer fixed braces with clear, ceramic brackets. They’re more subtle than metal braces but just as good at straightening teeth. If you don’t want your braces to show at all, we can even attach fixed braces behind your teeth.
Gum recession happens when the gums surrounding your teeth recede, exposing more of the tooth or even the tooth’s root.
Some gum recession as we get older is normal. It usually happens very gradually, so you may not even notice your gums receding.
If your gum recession is more sudden or extensive, you should make an appointment to see your dentist. They’ll determine the cause of your recession and, if necessary, refer you to a periodontist (gum specialist) for treatment.
Left untreated, severe gum recession can affect the supporting tissues and bone structure, eventually leading to tooth loss.
Can braces help gum recession?
Unfortunately, braces and Invisalign aligners can’t cure or reverse gum recession. Sometimes, though, they can offer a small cosmetic improvement. For example, if a prominent tooth has some recession, bringing it back into line can improve its appearance.
What braces can do is prevent gum recession for some patients:
Gum disease is a major cause of gum recession, and poor oral health is a large contributing factor. Straight teeth make it easier for you to reach all the surfaces of your teeth to keep them clean and healthy.
Sometimes a bad bite, for example, a deep overbite, can result in recession, so by repositing your teeth, we can avoid further damage to your gums.
IPR and gum recession
If your gums have receded, you may be aware of small gaps between your teeth and gumline. If you don’t like the look of these dark triangles, there’s a technique we can use to minimise their appearance.
Interproximal reduction (IPR) reduces the width of your teeth by removing tiny amounts of enamel. As well as diminishing dark triangles, it can create extra space to help us align your teeth perfectly. It’s quick and painless and very safe when it’s carried out correctly.
Can braces cause gum recession?
In the same way that braces can improve the appearance of gum recession, they can also make it more apparent.
Braces alone won’t cause gum recession. However, how well you look after your teeth during orthodontic treatment will have an impact.
You’ll need to clean carefully around your braces and along your gumline to brush away plaque every day. Plaque is a sticky, colourless film that accumulates on our teeth. It contains millions of bacteria, and if it’s not removed it can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
We recommend brushing your teeth for four minutes three times a day while wearing braces. Brushing too enthusiastically can also contribute to receding gums, so be gentle but thorough.
Can I have braces if my gums have receded?
During your free consultation, our specialist orthodontist Dr Iain Hoeltschi will carefully examine your teeth and gums.
Gum recession is very common, particularly around the lower front teeth. If your gums are healthy, you’ll most likely be suitable for braces.
During your treatment, we’ll monitor your gumline closely. We can reduce the risk of further recession by moving your teeth slowly and gently.
Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that your recession won’t get worse. If this happens, we can refer you to a specialist periodontist.
If you have any active gum disease, this will need to be treated before we fit your braces.
Tips for preventing gum recession
Brush gently – don’t scrub your teeth and gums
Stop smoking – smokers have a higher risk of gum disease
See your dentist for regular check-ups – especially during orthodontic treatment
Avoid clenching or grinding your teeth – your dentist can recommend a mouthguard
Avoid mouth piercings – they can irritate your gums and cause recession
Clear, removable aligners are a popular way to straighten teeth, especially among adults and teens. There are no metal brackets or wires, and you can take them out to eat, drink and clean your teeth.
There are lots of clear aligners to choose from, but our favourite, without a doubt, is Invisalign. It’s backed by two decades of innovation, and other aligners don’t even come close.
Preview your treatment
At the beginning of your treatment, we’ll take some scans of your mouth to create digital models of your teeth and jaws. We’ll use these to plan your treatment and design your custom-made aligners.
Before we manufacture your aligners, we’ll show you a 3D treatment plan and your planned result. You’ll be able to see how your teeth will move and how they’ll look at every step of your transformation.
Invisalign is made from a patented SmartTrack material. It’s designed to provide gentle, continual forces for maximum control and predictable results. The thin aligners will snugly fit the contours of your teeth for added precision and comfort.
Invisalign’s SmartTrack material can even help to speed up your treatment – simple corrections can take as little as three months.
Invisalign’s SmartStaging technology programmes the movements of your teeth in a specific sequence. By moving each tooth at the optimal time, we can achieve greater predictability and the best possible outcome.
One of the things we love most about Invisalign are its special features, which make it suitable for a wide range of cases. Mail-order aligners are only capable of making simple movements and treating very straightforward complaints.
Invisalign boasts buttons, bite ramps, precision cuts and power ridges, all of which allow us to treat challenging cases without fixed braces.
Innovation is at the heart of Invisalign, and these clever aligners keep getting better. More recently, Invisalign introduced a solution for class II bites, (where the upper jaw protrudes past the lower jaw), providing growing patients with an alternative to functional appliances and elastics.
The number one choice for specialists
Invisalign is only available from Invisalign-trained dentists and orthodontists. As a specialist orthodontic practice, we only use the best appliances, and Invisalign delivers a fantastic experience from start to finish. Specialist orthodontist Dr Iain Hoeltschi (pictured below) is proud to be an Invisalign Platinum Provider.
Invisalign’s 3D software gives our specialist orthodontists maximum control, so we can tailor your treatment plan to achieve exceptional results.
The proof is in the smiles
We’ve seen amazing results from Invisalign, and our patients have enjoyed the convenience of a removable brace that’s virtually invisible. Worldwide, Invisalign has been used to straighten more than 8 million smiles, including over 2 million teenagers.
Invisalign aligners and fixed braces are both fantastic ways to straighten your teeth. Ultimately, one isn’t better than the other, and it all depends on which brace is the best choice for you.
To help you appreciate their unique differences, we’ve summarised the pros and cons of both options. If you still need help deciding, we’d be delighted to arrange a complimentary consultation with our specialist orthodontist in Hove.
Clear, removable aligners.
Invisalign turned teeth straightening on its head. Instead of aligning teeth with brackets and wires, it works using clear, removable aligners.
At the beginning of your treatment, we’ll take digital scans of your teeth and jaws. Within minutes, we can show you a preview of your new smile and how your teeth will move throughout your treatment.
Once we’re happy with your virtual treatment plan and projected result, we’ll manufacture your custom-made aligners.
Every 1–2 weeks, you’ll change to a new set of aligners. Just like traditional braces, clear aligners use gentle forces to align your teeth. You’ll see an improvement within just a few months.
Most people won’t realise you’re wearing braces
You can take your aligners out for up to four hours each day
You’ll be able to eat and drink all your favourites
You can brush and floss as usual to keep your smile healthy
Aligners are smoother and less likely to rub than metal braces
You’ll see how your teeth will move before we fit your aligners
They’re not always suitable for more complicated cases
Because they’re removable, it is possible to misplace your aligners
If you don’t wear your aligners as instructed, you won’t see results
Some patients develop a lisp for a few days when they start treatment
Traditional metal train tracks
Fixed braces have undoubtedly stood the test of time, and they’re still a popular way to straighten teeth today.
Fixed braces move teeth using brackets and archwires, which are attached to your teeth for the duration of your treatment. We’ll adjust your braces every 6–8 weeks when we see you for your check-ups.
Not everyone wants to hide their braces, but if you are looking for something more discreet, fixed braces also come with clear ceramic brackets.
We also offer self-ligating braces, which use clips instead of elastic bands to secure the archwire in place. Self-ligating braces can speed up your appointments and make it easier to keep your braces clean.
Fixed braces pros
They’re suitable for a wide range of cases
They give us unparalleled control over your treatment
You won’t forget to wear fixed braces – they’re always working
Clear brackets blend in discreetly with your teeth
They’re one of our most affordable treatment options
Fixed braces cons
They are more noticeable compared to Invisalign
Your brackets and wires could irritate your mouth at first
You’ll need to brush your teeth carefully to keep them clean
There are certain foods, like crusty bread, that you’ll need to avoid
To find out more about Invisalign vs braces, contact us to arrange your complimentary consultation. We’ll assess your smile and find out more about your lifestyle to help us recommend the right treatment for you.
Braces are often associated with children and teenagers. However, they’re not the only ones who can benefit from a straighter smile.
We’re helping more adults to straighten their smiles than ever before thanks to the latest invisible braces.
There’s no age limit for orthodontic treatment, and you’re never too old to find a smile you love. Adults can achieve exceptional results, and with the right aftercare, your new smile should last a lifetime.
Invisible braces for all ages
Clear aligners have been welcomed by patients of all ages, especially adults. Unlike traditional metal braces, they’re incredibly discreet. Invisalign aligners are crystal-clear, so they’re almost undetectable.
Invisalign aligners are also removable, and you can take them out for up to four hours a day. This means you can take your aligners out to enjoy food with friends, and to give your teeth a thorough brush afterwards.
Invisalign is deservedly our most popular invisible brace. Our specialist orthodontist Dr Iain Hoeltschi is a Platinum Provider with years of experience. Removable aligners aren’t right for everyone, though, so luckily we have some other options for you to choose from.
Adult teeth can move slightly slower, but the difference is marginal. Overall treatment times are often shorter because adult cases tend to be straightforward.
Lots of patients are looking to simply align their front teeth quickly and conveniently, which can take as little as a few months.
Working around crowns and implants
It’s more common for adult patients to have restorations such as veneers, crowns, bridges and implants. Usually, these don’t present any problems, and we can comfortably plan your treatment around them.
If we do need to replace any restorations during or after your treatment, we’ll liaise closely with your dentist to provide you with a seamless experience.
NHS braces for adults
Our NHS contract covers braces for under 18s who need treatment to improve their dental health.
Unfortunately, NHS braces aren’t usually available to adults. In rare circumstances, it can be provided if you need treatment for health reasons. In the first instance, contact your general dentist for advice.
To help make private treatment more affordable, we offer a range of payment plans to spread the cost of your braces. Our all-inclusive fees cover every step of your transformation, from your scans to your retainers.
1. Orthodontists have more than 8 years of training
In the UK, it takes eight years to qualify as a specialist orthodontist. First, budding orthodontists must train as general dentists, which involves at least five years of study.
Before starting their specialist training, dentists gain valuable work experience in maxillofacial surgery, paediatric and restorative dentistry. Spaces on specialist courses are highly sought after, so the standard of applicants is very high.
The training itself takes three years. Successful graduates can then register as specialist orthodontists with the General Dental Council (GDC).
2. Only a small percentage of dentists are orthodontists
A very small number of dentists train to be orthodontists. In June 2020, 41,770 dentists were registered with the GDC, compared to just 1,384 orthodontists.
Over time, there has been a gender shift in dentistry and orthodontics. In the 19th century, only men could qualify as dentists. Now, just over 50% of specialist orthodontists are women.
Because of their small numbers, orthodontists can be hard to find in some areas. Thankfully, that’s not the case in Brighton & Hove. Splash Orthodontics boasts two highly experienced specialist orthodontists: Dr Iain Hoeltschi and Dr Sarah Grieve (both picture below right).
3. Orthodontists created the first dental speciality
Teeth straightening isn’t the only speciality in dentistry. But it was the first! Edward H. Angle was the first member of the dental professional to limit their practice to a specific treatment in 1900.
Other dental specialities include periodontics (gums), endodontics (roots) and prosthodontics (prostheses) – ‘dontics’ is derived from the Greek word for teeth.
Even if you’re having treatment with a specialist, it’s essential to see your dentist for routine check-ups. This is especially true during orthodontic treatment when it’s extra important to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
4. Orthodontists do more than straighten teeth
Orthodontic treatment isn’t just about appearances. We’re also interested in how your teeth function. We want you to enjoy a healthy, confident smile for many years to come.
Using fixed or removable braces, we can reposition your teeth to make sure they bite together correctly, helping you to chew efficiently and avoid uneven wear. As specialists, we treat some of the most complicated orthodontic cases, including multiple missing teeth, jaw discrepancies and cleft lips and palates.
In the UK, we’re lucky to have NHS orthodontic treatment for children who need braces to improve their dental health. Anyone under the age of 18 can be referred to an orthodontist for a free NHS assessment.
5. Orthodontists are always learning
There’s a vast amount of innovation in dentistry, which is incredibly exciting to be a part of. We can now treat most cases using discreet Invisalign aligners just as efficiently as traditional fixed braces. And instead of taking impressions using gloopy alginate, we can use our quick and comfortable digital scanner.
We speak for most orthodontists when we say, we love learning. From conferences to study clubs, there’s always something new for us to digest. To maintain our membership with the GDC, we’re committed to 100 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) every five years. This helps to guarantee the highest standard of dental care in the UK.
Dentistry is a close-knit community, so we also enjoy teaching and sharing our knowledge with our referring dentists and specialists. We regularly work together to provide our patients with the best possible experience and results.
To learn more about orthodontists, why not come and meet us for a complimentary consultation. To arrange your appointment with a specialist, contact us today.
You can find out a lot about braces online, but nothing compares to a consultation with a specialist orthodontist.
Complimentary private consultations are available for all ages. Meet our friendly experts and ask us all your questions about orthodontic treatment.
Your consultation will last around 60 minutes, and it’s completely free. We do take a booking deposit of £49, but this is refunded in full when you attend your appointment.
What you can expect
You’ll receive a warm welcome when you arrive at our modern practice in Hove. Our receptionists will check you in and make sure that all the essential paperwork has been completed. We’ll send you a medical history and photo consent form to complete before your appointment if you can.
Dedicated treatment coordinator
Throughout your consultation, you’ll have your own knowledgeable treatment coordinator. They’ll be by your side during your appointment and your main point of contact.
If you’re feeling anxious, let them know. Your consultation will be relaxed and comfortable, but we’ll take things extra slowly if you’re nervous.
Photos of your teeth and smile
We’ll start by taking some photos of your teeth for our specialist orthodontist to review. These photos will form part of your orthodontic records and help us to review your progress during your treatment. It’s always great to see how far you’ve come when your braces are taken off.
You’ll meet one of our two specialist orthodontists at your consultation: Dr Iain Hoeltschi or Dr Sarah Grieve. Both Iain and Sarah have completed full-time specialist training in orthodontics, and they have decades of experience.
During your assessment, your specialist orthodontist will gently examine your teeth and bite. They’ll be looking at the positions of your teeth and how they bite together. They’ll also make sure your teeth and gums are in tip-top condition and suitable for braces.
Once they’ve assessed your smile, your orthodontist will go through all your treatment options, which may include fixed braces, clear braces and Invisalign. You can also discuss complementary treatments such as home teeth whitening, and of course, retainers.
We’ve transformed thousands of smiles, so we can show you some examples, including cases just like yours. You’ll have plenty of time to ask us all your questions.
Fees and finance
Your treatment coordinator will take you through the costs of your different treatment options, and the various ways you can pay for your new smile.
We’ll give you a quote to take away, so you can take some time to consider all your options. If you think of any questions at home, don’t hesitate to contact us.
When you’re ready to start your treatment, your treatment coordinator will talk you through the next steps. Within a few weeks, you’ll be on your way to a straighter, confident smile.
If you’re aged 17 or under, you’re eligible for a free assessment for NHS braces. To arrange an NHS consultation, you need to be referred to us by your dentist. You can contact us directly to arrange a private consultation. However, this won’t include an NHS evaluation.