What are braces? / What is a retainer?
For most children, dentists nowadays reliably diagnose misalignments of teeth or jaws early on and manage to recommend braces in time to quickly coax crooked teeth into their proper positions. The same is possible for adults who seek to correct dental misalignments that they did not take care of in their...
For most children, dentists nowadays reliably diagnose misalignments of teeth or jaws early on and manage to recommend braces in time to quickly coax crooked teeth into their proper positions. The same is possible for adults who seek to correct dental misalignments that they did not take care of in their childhoods.
To help patients – children and adults – return to a bright and symmetrical smile, dentists can utilize a broad spectrum of orthodontic tools and equipment. These tools, which can be made out of metal, ceramic, or even out of transparent and almost invisible plastic, can fall into one of the following broad categories:
Removable Retainers – Made out of synthetic material and often used for children with transitional dentition as well as to prepare patients for longer-term dental correction measures via permanent braces / retainers
Permanent Braces – Come in the form of brackets (metal or ceramic) that are placed on individual teeth and connected via a wire in order to correct crooked teeth by regularly adjusting the tension level
Once a patient decides to get braces, he or she works closely with a dentist on developing a custom-tailored, individual treatment plan, which usually involves the following steps:
Diagnosis and Planning – Creation of a detailed treatment plan for a custom-made retainer via software support based on patient-specific photos and dental imprints
Brace / Retainer Delivery – A roughly hour-long appointment to place and adjust the finished retainer and, in cases of permanent braces, to carefully attach them to the patient’s teeth
Check-In Visits – Recommended every 6 to 8 weeks for removable retainers and every 4 to 6 weeks for permanent braces
Retention – To preserve the positive end result of the brace treatment, patients receive so-called “retention splints” for longer-term use
When do I need braces? / When do I need a retainer?
In general, orthodontic treatments for children happen between the ages of 10 and 13 after either a dentist or the parents notice clear signs of dental misalignment. In very heavy and obvious cases, early treatments may become necessary between the ages of 6 and 7. The exact timing of treatment start depends directly on the level of severity of a patient’s dental misalignment and has to happen sooner in cases where not just a patient’s teeth but also his or her jaws are misaligned. Whether a dentist prescribes a removable retainer or permanent braces to a patient depends entirely on the distance that the patient’s teeth need to move – in general, the longer the distance, the more likely permanent braces will be necessary. Treatment duration also heavily depends on the orthodontic measures taken and can range between a few months for slight dental misalignments up to 3 full years for very obvious and visible misalignments of the teeth and jaws.
How much do braces cost? / How much does a retainer cost?
The all-in costs of retainers / braces are dependent on treatment duration and the type of equipment used. Nevertheless, the following guidelines can provide useful information prior to an appointment:
* Initial Consultation and Situation Analysis: € 380
* Removable Retainer: € 1,100 – 1,500 per year
* Permanent Braces (metal brackets): € 3,100 – 3,400 per year
* Permanent Braces (ceramic brackets): € 3,500 – 3,800 per year
* Permanent Braces (inside brackets): € 5,500 – 6,000 per year
Dental insurance in Austria covers 100% of the costs of braces and retainers for children. Since 2015, insurers also cover 80% of the costs of braces and retainers (and the remaining 20% in cases with successful treatment outcomes) for adolescents up to the age of 18 and with severe dental misalignments. Adults can submit their individual medical cases for reimbursement approval with their respective insurers but usually have to pay out-of-pocket to the tune of € 2,000 to € 6,000, depending on treatment duration and type of braces / retainer used.
We hope that you found this primer helpful and invite you to take a look at our blog for more interesting and hopefully helpful information.