To: Department Of Health UK
Lower NHS Orthodontic Treatment to Grade 3
I think that NHS Orthodontic Treatment should be available without charge for Grade 3 patients and above.
Why is this important?
Many people in the UK suffer from dental issues. A large percentage of these people are able to get free orthodontic treatment from the NHS. However, there are many people who aren't able to receive free treatment because their teeth are 'not bad enough'. I suffer from a 5.5mm overbite and to qualify for braces on the NHS, it has to be 6.5mm. This may seem irrational and silly, but it's a problem that many people face.
When I look in the mirror, or when people look at me, a defining feature is my teeth. Not because they are good, but because of the wonkiness. Every person I have spoken to about my teeth has told me that they aren't good and I need a brace. However, because my teeth aren't 'bad enough' for a brace, I need to pay for a brace. For my 'severity', it costs £3800. My family, along with many others, struggle to pay this amount, especially since there is more money according to the 'severity' of your teeth. There are people who definitely can't pay this sort of money. This means some people have to live with terrible teeth.
Malcolm Gladwell highlights the inequality of people with good teeth and bad teeth. He says "Those with bad teeth are also given a lower chance of success - because they are denied certain entry-level jobs."
(source http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2625094/How-good-TEETH-new-sign-social-status-ticket-better-job.html )
There have also been studies on how good teeth and bad teeth affect people's confidence and how that affects their success in life. A study carried out by Bupa revealed that almost half of the surveyed population found people with healthy looking teeth to be more authoritative. Further studies also noted that people with better teeth seemed to be ideal employees because they appear meticulous and diligent. An outstanding 42% of employees also felt that working with bad teeth was distracting. (source https://www.dawoodandtanner.co.uk/teeth-say-teeth-hindering-chance-better-career/ )
If I am denied free braces as a teenager and this affects my future career or success in life, what does this say about the UK? There are always talks about working hard to achieve success which is all fair, but if my bad teeth affect how successful I am or halt me from getting my dream job then I can only blame the NHS and the ludicrously high prices to pay for braces that should be free. If someone can get breast implants or sex reassignment surgery on the NHS, to feel more confident or comfortable in the body they're born in, why can I not get free braces? I would feel more confident in my body if I had straight teeth, but yet I don't receive that free?