What do I do if my child doesn’t qualify for HSE braces?

The Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) is the international standard used by HSE specialist orthodontists to determine whether or not your child qualifies for HSE orthodontic treatment. The Dental Health component grades the need for Orthodontic treatment on a 1 – 5 scale, with Grade 5 indicating extreme dental health problems and therefore greatest need. Crowding is judged by severity of the crowding in conjunction with the “dental attractiveness” of the teeth using the scale Aesthetic Component (AC) with 10 indicating the “worst” category. The IOTN standard is an objective and reliable way to select those children who will benefit most from treatment and is a fair way to prioritise limited resources.

A beautiful smile increases confidence and self- esteem. If your child is unhappy with the appearance of their teeth, it is advisable to seek a consultation appointment with a specialist orthodontist in private practice for treatment advice. Only a dentist that has completed a further 3–5 years of specialist training in orthodontics can call themselves an orthodontist.

The Dental Council of Ireland has a register of specialist orthodontists which can be accessed online at www.dentalcouncil.ie

Many specialist orthodontists are also members of the Orthodontic Society of Ireland and this list can be accessed at www.orthodontics.ie

If you are considering seeking private orthodontic treatment, please ensure that your treatment provider is a qualified specialist orthodontist by checking that they are on the specialist register.

Before any orthodontic treatment can be considered, it is extremely important that the teeth are healthy, and the cleaning is very good. Diet, toothbrushing and regular visits to the dentist are essential and thumb sucking habits should also have stopped.