5 Things to Know About Braces Cost in Europe

If you want straight teeth then you will need to use some type of brace or clear aligners, and before we buy anything in life we always like to know the cost upfront. This helps prevent any nasty surprises. Braces cost can be quite staggering and quotes can be very different depending on the dentist or orthodontist you get them from and the type of braces you opt for.
The reason it can vary so much is different dentists and orthodontists have different expenses in their clinic such as rent and staff, and they also use different labs and materials for the braces, and some charge extra per appointment as well. That’s why braces cost can be quite confusing.
Here you’ll find a clear plan on what to do and what to look for when shopping around for the ideal teeth straightening solution, and tips that will satisfy all money conscious shoppers.

1# How to find out braces cost in your country

Unpredictable braces cost 
In most countries braces cost will depend on the position of your teeth and the fees applied in your local area and almost always be presented to you on a “from” price list. You’ll then need to schedule a physical consultation to receive a proper quote after having discussed your options with a local dentist or orthodontist. The price will also be more expensive if you seek orthodontic treatment from a specialist orthodontist or from a dentist who provides cosmetic orthodontics.

Fixed braces cost
There are some exceptions where the braces cost is fixed like in the Netherlands where the price of dental treatments reimbursed by insurance is fixed by the government and all dentists have to charge according to a set fee schedule depending on the type of brace.
Another example of that is Straight Teeth Direct™ where the price of invisible aligners is fixed to 1,500€ so you know exactly what to expect upfront, before ordering anything.

2# Braces cost you can recover or claim back

Cosmetic VS traditional braces for kids under 18.
In orthodontics for adults it is usually never covered by insurance, there are some exceptions however but these tend to be very severe cases of jaw/bite abnormalities which cause breathing or eating complications that are severe. Some examples of criteria which vary by country are:

  1. Angle Class II division 1 in case of an overjet more than 9mm
  2. Angle Class III
  3. Retained incisors or canines
  4. Missing incisor or canine or missing more than 1 premolar or molar on each side of the jaw
  5. In case of cleft lip and/or palate or additional malformations
  6. Open bite with contacts only in molars

For children / teenagers more countries actually offer coverage but this is for comprehensive treatment which is focused on achieving a perfect bite and often involves teeth extractions and 2 years of treatment. If someone just wants to improve their smile with a cosmetic orthodontic approach, often this type of treatment is not covered and needs to be privately paid for by the family.

In some countries some parts of dental treatment are claimable through tax refunds but it is important to check the criteria as usually it is for health based treatments and not primarily cosmetic treatments. The way to know this is to enquire with your accountant or tax authority.
If you are getting braces for medical reasons such as one of the 6 reasons listed above then your insurance/tax refund may also then only apply to certain types of braces or even treatment locations such as a dental hospital. If the full treatment is not claimable, you may still be able to get some partial refund for your dental exams, x-rays or other health based treatments.

The European Federation of Orthodontic Specialists Associations and Committee of European Health Insurances have written a comprehensive report about insurance coverage and braces cost in different countries in Europe.

#3 Braces cost from the cheapest to the most expensive option:

Fixed metal
The lab fee for a full set of fixed metal brackets used in orthodontics is around 55€ (this is all the brackets for upper and lower treatment). This means that there is just the wire cost which is about 5-10€. This means if you need upper and lower treatment the lab cost is around 65€. So the dentist just needs to charge for their time, all the monthly adjustment appointments over 2-3 years, staff and machines on top of that so in general these fixed braces cost between 1,500-2,000€ to the patient.
Clear aligners with Straight Teeth Direct™
At Straight Teeth Direct we have invested heavily in high tech manufacturing and design to lower the costs of the aligners so we can offer them directly at a transparent price too.
The price is fixed and it’s 1,500€ for both top and bottom arches, with a number of guarantees.
With this solution the dentist will supervise you remotely so that you can save on the cost of the visits thanks to the app that is a tool that makes the orthodontist’s work more flexible and scalable.
Accelerated fixed or removable braces
These are 6 months braces type or spring aligners. They are used to straighten the teeth visible in the smile – with the 6 month braces type this usually means your front 10 teeth, (premolar to premolar) with the spring aligners these usually can only move your front 4 teeth. The dentist here will usually gave a lab fee of about 500 – 800€, so the dentist usually charges 1800 – 3500€ as they then they have to factor in the costs of the review appointments as with these treatments you will need IPR (interproximal reduction) smoothing of the teeth to make space for the teeth to move. The other thing to be aware of is with these treatments you often will need some clear aligners to finish and detail the tooth movement as accelerated braces don’t give detailed finishing. An important question to ask is if you will also need aligners to finish your case, will you be charged extra or would this be included in your treatment.
Clear aligners with other brands of aligners likes Invisalign® cost in average between 2,500€ and 5,000€
With this solution the dentist has to pay a lab fee of around 1500€ for the manufacturing of the custom made devices. This is one reason why fixed braces are more popular and recommended by dentists too.
Lingual braces
Lingual braces are even more expensive as the lab fee for dentist to pay can be between 1000 – 2000€, so this makes the cost of these braces usually between 3500€ and 9000€.

#4 The truth behind clear braces offers online:

There are many offers advertised on deal sites such as Groupon or LivingSocial where you’ll see a number of local dental clinics advertising treatments that are 50 to 70% cheaper than the regular cost. The biggest problem with these offer sites is that they take 40-50% of the voucher price paid so the dentist gets even less. This straight away means the dentist is losing money on the treatment unless they can get extra charges out of you. This makes for a less than transparent and slightly adversarial relationship, as if you come and just pay the voucher price they have usually lost money.
So be careful not to be dubbed when looking at those, do your homework, read everything and contact the clinic if you have any doubts to clarify anything before purchasing a deal.

Read the disclaimer at the bottom
That’s often where you can see straight away if it’s a genuine offer or not.
Sometimes from the photo used on the advert and the generic term “clear braces offer” or “invisible braces offer” it’s not clear whether you will be getting clear fixed braces or invisible removable aligners.
Also sometimes in the T&C at the bottom of the advert you’ll find out that this offer applies for a maximum of trays if it’s for aligners and more severe case will be charged extra.
For example these are the types of T&C you can find:
“Consultation required; full refund if found unsuitable. Same day appointments accepted.
Retainer is not included for the aftercare. If teeth are deemed too severe a surcharge will be offered for a more in depth treatment”.
This one is even more unclear:
“Number of sessions required depends on the individual. Max. 6 sessions included. £90 surcharge per additional appointment if required. Please allow up to 60 minutes per session.“ This probably means that the offer advertised covers 6 appointments only, considering you’ll need an impression and diagnosis appointment, one to pick up your aligners, so that leaves you only 4 more, so maybe this is for a cases that require aligners for 4 months only.
And another says: “Suitable for only mild and some moderate cases of crowding.” clearly showing the deal only applies if you need no more than 8 to 12 aligners or so, anything more than that will be added on top.

What’s included in the package
Is the price advertised for both top and bottom teeth or both.
And as per the example you can see the retainers are not included, so that will be an additional 200€ if not more at the end, and retainers are an essential part of the process if you don’t want you teeth to moved back after the effort and money you’ve been into this.

Bait & Switch technique
What dentists won’t tell you is that they often use these flash sale offers to attract you into the practice, and after examining you they will try and sell you the option that is most profitable to them.
Generally aligners are the most expensive option for them as they have the pay a high lab fee for having the case programmed (3D design and 3D plan) and the aligners made using 3D printing technology and to give you an idea they could be paying at least 1,500€ just to the lab to get your aligners made; then on top of that they’ll have to charge for their time, expertise and the fixed overheads of running the clinic (rent, monthly bills, staff etc).
So once you get your initial consultation they’ll either try and recommend you fixed accelerated braces and tell you that you’ll get much better results or that your case isn’t suitable for invisible aligners. Or if they give you the option for teeth aligners you’re a more advanced case and it’ll cost an additional 500€ to 2,000€ on top of what was advertised.

#5 Your checklist when comparing braces cost

Here are 5 things that you need to look out for when comparing braces quotes:

First check what you’ve been offered is actually invisible aligners (not fixed braces); sometimes you’ll find adverts or offers that say clear braces with a picture of Invisalign but then when you look further you actually find that they are clear fixed braces. So it’s always a good idea to contact the practice and ask about pricing or even better book a free consultation to get a personalised quote
Then make sure the price includes both top and bottom arches and all aligners needed to achieve your smile goals.
The package includes a set of retainers to keep your teeth straight at the end (most places charge another 200€ for that)
Check if you’re covered by a guarantee (for lost and broken aligners during treatment or if you need refinement), most places charge another 99€ for each new aligner needed.
Check the price in your currency.
For example with Straight Teeth Direct™ the orders are processed in Euros so it’ll be the equivalent in your currency on the day of the transaction; you can use the currency guide on the pricing page to check today’s rate.

In this video you’ll get answers to the 7 questions we get asked about Straight Teeth Direct™ aligner cost all the time.

So all in all you can see braces cost is not always straightforward and if you want to save a good deal make sure to do your homework and compare quotes properly.
The same is valid when looking at options online for clear aligners delivered to you, do your homework and check what’s covered, if corners are cut to save cost, for example check if you have the option to share your records with your virtual dentist, if there’s ongoing supervision from an orthodontist during the entire process and if the aligners are sent all in one go or in stages like they would in a clinic.

Not sure if this is for you? Read this first to learn more