Braces: costs and treatment

How much do braces cost for young people and adults? What types of braces are available and how does treatment with braces work? Find out more about removable and fixed braces and how you can correct your teeth without conventional braces.

What are braces?

Every second child in Switzerland wears braces. Many adults also have their teeth corrected. Braces correct misalignments affecting  teeth and the jaw. Braces are used to treat various complaints, such as a crossbite. These treatments aim to improve the functionality, and usually also the appearance, of the teeth. There are different types of braces, such as fixed, removable and invisible braces. The orthodontist selects the appropriate type based on the patient’s individual needs.

How much do braces cost?

The question as to how much braces cost depends on how long the treatment lasts and how complex it is. The costs are higher in complex cases that require longer treatment or specific appliances. There is no general answer to the question “How much do braces cost in Switzerland?”, as various factors determine the costs. The total costs, however, usually come to between CHF 6,000 and CHF 12,000.

In Switzerland, the costs for braces are determined by the orthodontist’s tariff items. The tariff for dental and orthodontic treatment is based on the specifications of the Swiss social insurance institutions and the Swiss Dental Association SSO. The costs comprise the number of tax points and the tax point value.

Will my insurance cover the cost of my braces?

Specific Helsana supplementary insurance policies contribute to the costs of various dental and orthodontic services like braces or dentures – both in Switzerland and abroad. If you have TOP or COMPLETA cover, you receive 75% of the costs, up to a maximum of CHF 10,000 per calendar year, for the correction of a misaligned jaw or teeth up to the age of 20. With the dental insurance DENTAplus, you can choose from a range of benefit packages to suit your specific needs.

Important: remember to take out supplementary insurance for your child as early on as possible, ideally before misaligned teeth are diagnosed. This allows you to avoid benefits being excluded.

What types of braces are there?

There are many different types of braces available. The suitable type for you depends on your personal situation. After a thorough examination and consultation session, your orthodontist will decide which braces are particularly suitable. The various types differ in terms of how they work, how long you need to wear them for, and in terms of price. However, your dental health should always be the top priority.

Bracket braces

Bracket braces are a conventional way of correcting misaligned teeth. These are one of the types of fixed braces and are usually worn for several years. Equipped with brackets and elastics, the braces move the teeth effectively into the desired position. The brace elastics exert additional pressure on the teeth. These braces can be worn either inside (lingual braces) or outside.

If you prefer a discreet model that goes unnoticed, opt for lingual braces. Some orthodontists also offer the option of choosing from different colours for the elastics used in outside braces. This is particularly popular with younger patients. There are also various options available for brackets, for example metal brackets, mini metal brackets and ceramic brackets. The latter are tooth-coloured or transparent, making them less noticeable.

How much do bracket braces cost?

Compared to other types of braces, bracket braces fall in the mid-range price segment. The costs for one jaw start at approx. CHF 5,000, with braces for both jaws starting at around CHF 8,000. Lingual braces are more expensive than outside braces.

Aligner braces

Aligner braces are removable, virtually invisible braces that should be worn for at least 22 hours a day. If you want to eat during the day, you should take the braces out and then put them back in after you have finished. Your teeth should, however, be brushed thoroughly beforehand. Clear braces are particularly popular with adults and young people who want to correct their teeth without having to resort to fixed braces.

How much do aligner braces cost?

The cost of aligner braces is usually between CHF 2,000 and CHF 10,000, depending on how complex the misalignment is. So while they are a bit more expensive, they offer a high level of comfort and discreet correction.

Palate expanders

This fixed brace is used to expand the upper jaw. Palate expanders are often used in children and adolescents to create space for the teeth that will come in later.

Active plates

Active plates are removable braces and can be used flexibly. Nevertheless, they should be worn for approx. 22 hours a day to ensure they are effective.

How much do active plates cost?

These braces are made available either alone or as an add-on to fixed braces. They can be used before or after fixed treatment and are available from around CHF 4,000.

Functional orthodontic appliances

Functional orthodontic appliances are a special type of removable braces used to correct the upper and lower jaw. Unlike active plates, the forces exerted come from your body’s own muscles. This type of brace can also be used in combination with other braces.

How much do functional orthodontic appliances cost?

The costs for these braces are in the mid to higher range at a minimum of CHF 2,100, as they often have to be worn for a prolonged period and require regular adjustments.

Bite splints

Grinding your teeth can wear down the tooth surface, cause temporomandibular joint problems and tooth damage. Bite splints are an effective solution. They are similar to removable braces and are worn overnight so that your teeth are well protected while you sleep. In the morning, you can simply remove the splint and store it in a box.

How much do bite splints cost?

Bite splints are available from around CHF 700 and are usually covered by supplementary health insurance.

Braces: what does the course of treatment look like?

First, your orthodontist collects all of the important data about your jaw. This involves taking photos and X-rays and making study models. Based on this data, a treatment plan is drawn up and the braces are made. Once this step is complete, your braces are carefully fitted.

Pain may occur after your braces have been fitted. This is due to the unaccustomed pressure in your mouth and usually subsides after a while. Pain can sometimes also occur if the brackets of your fixed braces irritate your tongue or the inside of your cheeks. To avoid this, you should use special wax for braces.

During treatment, your orthodontist will explain how to clean your braces. They will also explain that your braces and teeth need to be checked at regular intervals to ensure the braces are working properly. The before and after result is also checked continually and compared with the desired final result.

Once your treatment with braces has been completed successfully, an internal retainer is often used. This wire helps to stabilise the result achieved after your braces and to keep your teeth in the corrected position.

How long do braces need to be worn for?

The duration of treatment varies depending on the type of misalignment and the braces selected. For example, treatment with fixed braces can take between one and three years. Patience is particularly important when treating adults with braces, as the treatment time is often longer than when braces are used in children and adolescents. During the consultation session with your orthodontist, you will receive a personalised treatment plan that shows the expected duration of, and steps involved in, the treatment.

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