Home Money How much YOUR child’s braces could cost as one in five parents opt for private treatment

How much YOUR child’s braces could cost as one in five parents opt for private treatment

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Extensive treatment – ​​Waiting lists for NHS orthodontists are long and the cost of a full braces treatment with a private dentist means some parents may choose to apply for credit.

More parents are choosing to turn to private services when their children need braces, as patients in some areas face waits of around two years on the NHS.

New research has revealed how much treatment can cost: in some parts of the UK, parents have to shell out an average of almost £4,300.

Many are also turning to credit to spread the cost, rather than paying thousands of dollars up front.

Extensive treatment – ​​Waiting lists for NHS orthodontists are long and the cost of a full braces treatment with a private dentist means some parents may choose to apply for credit.

How much do braces cost privately?

A set of metal braces for your child will cost you up to £4,285 in the south-east of England, making it the most expensive region for orthodontic treatment, research from Intuit Credit Karma reveals.

According to the data, almost one in five parents (18 per cent) choose to pay for private dental treatment for their children, with a third of them requiring braces.

Prices will vary between different dental offices, so it is possible to compare prices.

The South West turns out to be the second most expensive region for braces, at £3,757, while Scotland is only slightly cheaper at £3,726.

Meanwhile, in the east of England and Wales, braces will cost between £3,415 and £3,246 on average.

Those living in some parts of London can expect to pay just £2,368 for brace treatment, which Intuit says reflects the number of options available in the city.

However, according to orthodontic specialist Emma Laing, the cost of braces in central London is more likely to be around £5,500.

According to the NHS, the bill for braces from a private dentist can range between £2,000 and £6,000.

Waiting lists for NHS treatment will not shorten any time soon, as some dentists are opting out of private treatment due to lower fees and high workloads.

Laing told This is Money: ‘Before Covid, I worked a combination of private shifts and in NHS orthodontics. In my days in the NHS, I saw between 25 and 35 patients a day.

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‘NHS Orthodontics was really affected by Covid as with social distancing these numbers were not feasible and waiting lists, which were already high at around 18 months, really increased.

‘You don’t get paid a huge amount for each NHS case, which is why you need to see so many patients in a day. Physically you cannot see more than this, not even operating two dental chairs at the same time.

“I had two prolapsed discs in my back after years of working like this and that was my turning point to stop working at this intensity.”

For Laing, like many others, going private meant prioritizing her health, as well as that of her patients. “I chose to see patients privately as by charging more than NHS rates you can lengthen appointments, spend more time with each patient and deliver your best work,” she said.

“If the NHS paid doctors more there would be less of a rush of doctors leaving the NHS, but in this economy I don’t see how this will ever happen.”

However, what this means for patients is that finding an NHS dentist or orthodontist is becoming more difficult.

A recent parliamentary report reveals that the number of NHS dental treatment courses completed in 2022/2023, 32.5 million, was 15 per cent below pre-pandemic figures, 38.4 million in 2019/2020.

On credit: Some parents are turning to credit cards or loans to pay for high upfront costs.

On credit: Some parents are turning to credit cards or loans to pay for high upfront costs.

Does your child qualify for NHS braces?

Orthodontic treatment is free for young people under 18 on the NHS, but only if a dentist deems they need it, and some do not qualify.

“You need something like an impacted tooth, missing teeth, protruding teeth, or very crowded teeth to qualify,” Laing explains.

“If, for example, the teeth are not as crowded or spaced apart, the NHS may not cover it.”

However, private dentistry and orthodontics has its benefits: the price you pay reflects the extent of care that private patients receive as a result of the higher fees charged.

‘Private fees may seem high, but this includes taking records of teeth, treatment planning time, fitting braces, fitting appointments every six weeks for 18 months, any emergency appointments, removing braces and providing fixed retainers and removable to use. at night,” Laing said.

“If as an adult you believe that your dentist gave you a list of 12 to 15 appointments in advance, you would expect a reasonable bill for this; however, when we schedule people for orthodontics for a similar situation for their child, they always think the charges sound high”. .’

However, the high cost of going private means many need to borrow money to fund treatment.

According to Intuit, 29 percent of parents are turning to credit to pay for their children’s braces, while 13 percent are using their savings to do so.

About 39 percent of families say they have delayed important plans, such as vacations, to pay for dental treatment.

Akansha Nath, CEO (international), Intuit Credit Karma, told This is Money: ‘Most dental treatment is considered an essential expense to keep teeth and gums healthy.

‘As part of this, many parents will also make it a priority to invest in orthodontic treatment for their children.

“As the NHS continues to deal with long waiting lists, many parents will fund this treatment themselves, meaning many will use credit to do so.”

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get credit

Consider your options

While a credit card may seem like the obvious choice, personal bank loans could offer a more competitive rate in some cases. Take some time to determine what is best for your needs.

You can do this by using This is Money’s loan and credit card calculators.

Check your score

Your credit score will determine what lines of credit are available to you. You can check your score without altering your credit report by using Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.

There are often simple ways to improve your score, such as signing up to vote.

Don’t ask for too much

Applying for too many lines of credit can affect your credit score. Each time you apply, your credit history will be thoroughly searched.

Too many of these rigorous checks could suggest to lenders that you are too reliant on credit.

Check the T’s and C’s

Be careful to read the terms and conditions of a credit offer. This will ensure you know what to pay back and when, and will help you choose the right credit for you.

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