Orthodontic treatments are not only aesthetically pleasing. For example, teeth that are crooked or too close together are also less effective at protecting against tooth decay than straight teeth. Apart from this, they often make it difficult for the patient to make sounds such as S and T. Even on the rest of the body, malocclusions of the dentition can have major effects. If, for example, you chew incorrectly in the long run due to a malposition of your teeth, you may suffer from fatigue and difficulty concentrating.
Malpositions of the teeth are more than cosmetic defects
That’s why: Only when the teeth meet at a certain point are the loads distributed in such a way that the body can handle the forces. For all these reasons, many young people wear braces to correct their jaw positions.
Only one percent of people have perfect teeth.
Only about a single percent of people are born with “perfect teeth”. Thus about 99 percent of all people could benefit from braces. About one third even suffers from a severe malposition, which should be corrected at all costs.
Free braces for children in summer 2015
In Austria this concerns around 30000 children per year. The earlier orthodontic treatment is started in life, the more promising it is. However, the costs for braces amount to several thousand Euros.
Fortunately, especially young patients don’t have to bring them up themselves. As of July, the health insurance company will cover all treatment costs for Austrian patients under the age of 18.
Classifications (IOTN 1-5)
- IOTN 1: no need for treatment
- IOTN 2: low anomaly, no need for treatment
- IOTN 3: borderline treatment necessity
- IOTN 4: Need for treatment
- IOTN 5: Need for treatment
Free braces for children
Austrian health insurances pay orthodontists for minors from IOTN 4 from July onwards
Of course, health insurance companies only pay if the need for treatment is actually justified. This is particularly the case with severe malpositioning of the jaw or teeth.
In order to find out whether such a malposition is present, the first visit leads to the dentist. After this initial orthodontic consultation with a dentist, the patient is referred to an orthodontist. The first appointment with the orthodontist serves to determine the deformity using internationally defined standard values.
Both the initial consultation with the dentist and the assessment by the orthodontist are covered by health insurance for each underage person from July. If the orthodontist finds a serious malposition of the IOTN 4 and 5 standard values, health insurance companies will also pay for the full amount of braces.
Up to now, orthodontic treatments have been subject to a high deductible
The new regulations mainly concern early childhood orthodontic treatment by dentists and orthodontists. As a rule, this treatment begins at the age of 6, at least in the case of severe malocclusions. Previously, a deductible of at least 400 euros was required for this treatment. With the promise of cost coverage, this deductible rate will no longer apply from July. Parents will also no longer have to pay for fixed braces for children between the ages of 12 and 18.
In the case of IOTN 4 and 5 malpositions, these will also be available from July onwards at cash costs. Previously, the health insurance company had to approve the treatment by the orthodontist in advance. With the new regulation, this authorisation is no longer required in the case of more serious malpositions, and patients are allowed to start treatment free of charge on their own responsibility after informing the health insurance company.
For children with malpositioning grade 1 to 3 braces remain liable to pay costs
For children and adolescents with IOTN 1 to IOTN 3 indications, everything remains the same even after the new regulations come into force. Braces and orthodontic treatments will therefore not be free of charge for them in the near future, as their degree of malpositioning is not severe enough. The rates with which the health insurance company participates in their treatment depend on the insurance company.
For BVA, SVA, the company health insurance funds and VAEB, for example, removable braces are part of the contractual services, whereby the company health insurance funds and the SVA and BVA only pay if the request for correction is not a purely cosmetic matter. Fixed braces are only treated as contractual services by the company health insurance funds and the SVA. In this case, both only want to take over if the treatment is not the correction of a purely cosmetic problem. Most other health insurances will pay a maximum of 30 percent for a fixed brace.
In order to find out what deductible rates parents should expect in the case of children with indications 1 to 3, they should therefore not only talk to the orthodontist but also to their own health insurance company.