The Dentist Magazine.

Number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment in the UK continues to rise

Published: 10/05/2018

New figures released by The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) to coincide with National Smile Month, which kicks-off on 14 May 2018, reveals the number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment in the UK continues to rise.

  • ? 80 per cent of orthodontists in new survey report increase in adult private patients

  • ? Clear aligners are on the increase but fixed braces still most widely recommended option

  • ? More men appear to be seeking treatment

  • ? More than 10 per cent of orthodontists say their adult patients are influenced by celebrities and bloggers

This survey, conducted in March 2018 among BOS members, was designed to gather new data about orthodontics and patient choices in the UK compared to two years ago. Asked if they were seeing an increase in private adult treatment, 80 per cent said yes. This figure compares to 75 per cent in 2016. When asked what kind of braces they provide to their patients, orthodontists revealed a cross section of approaches:

  • ? Over 75 per cent supply fixed braces with clear aesthetic brackets

  • ? Over 35 per cent supply lingual braces (fixed behind the teeth)

  • ? Over 75 per cent supply clear aligners

The survey showed that adult patients are most likely to be female and in the 26 to 40 age bracket. However, the number of men seeking treatment appears to be on the rise. 19 per cent of the respondents to the survey estimate that half of their adult patients are male. This compares to 13 per cent in 2016.

The most popular system, provided by more than 98 per cent of orthodontists, is fixed braces on the front of the teeth, often referred to as train tracks. This figure reflects the high number of young people treated as NHS patients for whom fixed braces are the most appropriate option. 

A quarter of BOS members responded to the survey. Of those who answered the survey, 27 per cent see only NHS patients while 67 per cent see both private and NHS patients. 

Richard George, BOS director of external relations, commented, “It’s gratifying to see the number of adults interested in orthodontic treatment continuing to rise. If you are interested in treatment for yourself, it’s important to seek an opinion from a professional who has the training and skill to diagnose and treat a variety of orthodontic issues. Our members, specialists and dentists with a special interest, offer a range of options for adults, enabling them to provide a solution to any kind of orthodontic problem. The value of choice cannot be over-estimated.”