I always question extra treatments that you have to pay for yourself

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Mona (Olivia's mother), 41 years old

“My daughter always wore her braces and took good care of her teeth, so the treatment was already finished after a year.”

Olivia’s dentist referred her to the after her milk teeth fell out and her permanent teeth came through. We had already known for a long time that she would need braces. And we didn't question that, we trusted our dentist. He had always advised us well in the past and never done any treatment that wasn’t needed. We didn’t get a second opinion from another or ask our health insurer if we should do that. It seemed clear to us that she needed braces.

My daughter was very good at wearing and cleaning her braces

She always took great care of everything – her teeth and the braces themselves. It was wonderful. I didn’t have to worry about that at all. Getting the fiddly elastics in the right place was a bit tricky. But she always managed to do that on her own too. And because she always did everything so well, she no longer needed the braces after a year.

We were really lucky that she did everything so well, and that she was so independent and responsible. Like one time when she forgot her removable braces when she was at a sleepover... then she asked us to bring them to her at eleven at night.

I think that will all be different with my son. I can imagine that we might pay for the odd additional service like dental cleaning.

In Germany, you get the money back from your statutory health insurer

We had to cover a small part of the costs, about 20% every three months. That wasn't that much, though. And once the treatment was finished, we just had to submit the invoices and everything was reimbursed.

We were also offered extra treatments that you have to pay for completely yourself. But we took a closer look at what exactly was being offered first.

We had to pay for dental cleaning and a lingual arch ourselves

For instance, we had to pay for special dental cleaning every six weeks so that the tooth didn't change color. And then there was the lingual arch which cost about 150 Euros.

We chose to have the lingual arch because we thought it was worthwhile. It stays in for a few years and makes sure the teeth don't become misaligned again. I had removable braces as a child, but afterwards my lower jaw shifted a bit again. That was a shame.

I always take a very close look at additional treatments

We wanted to wait with the dental cleaning because we knew that our daughter took good care of her teeth. If necessary, we would have booked it at a later stage. And then there was an option of having the brackets changed more often, but we didn’t go for that.

I would always try to make sure you don't let the dentists talk you into things. I trusted that our dentist would let us just choose what we thought was worthwhile.

The braces looked fine

We weren’t even offered those expensive, clear aligners. There were actually some brochures in the waiting room, and we could have had aligners if we had asked for them. But we didn’t have to.

There are lots of nice add-ons for young people now. And even though Olivia had visible metal brackets, she could choose a different color for the elastics at every check-up. She sometimes had turquoise ones, or purple ones. That was really nice.

Special wax protects the inner cheeks

Of course the wires were a bit annoying at first, they hurt. Olivia could have taken painkillers but she didn't want to. There was a special wax that she could use to pad the hard areas so that the wires didn’t scrape the inside of her cheeks. That was handy.

The elastics were hard to put in, and very tight

Attaching the elastics was a bit complicated...She had to put them in differently depending on which phase she was in. So either crossed over at the back, or crossed over at the front for a while. That was a bit tricky. I could often hear her swearing in the bathroom. But somehow it always worked out in the end.

Sometimes, Olivia couldn’t open her mouth properly anymore; the elastics held her mouth together so strongly at night that she couldn’t talk properly the next morning because she couldn’t open her mouth.

She struggled to eat hard things

We had to adjust her meals a bit. For instance, we had to cut apples up really small at first. And she couldn't eat raw carrots at all. But Olivia was able to eat everything else.


Our real-life stories summarize interviews with people who are affected by the medical condition. Our interview partners have given us permission to publish their stories. We would like to express our sincere thanks to them.

The real-life stories give an insight into how other people cope and live with a medical condition. Their opinions and comments are not recommendations by IQWiG.

Please note: The names of our interview partners have been changed to protect their identity. The photos are of models.

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Please note that we do not provide individual advice on matters of health. You can read about where to find help and support in Germany in our information “How can I find self-help groups and information centers?

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Created on February 13, 2023

Next planned update: 2026


Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany)

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