Home Health ‘No proof’ dental braces work, German government report finds – The Telegraph

‘No proof’ dental braces work, German government report finds – The Telegraph

‘No proof’ dental braces work, German government report finds – The Telegraph

Health insurance companies in Germany may no longer pay for dental braces after a remarkable government report found that there is no proof that they work.

“We can’t say whether orthodontic treatment has any of the middle or long-term benefits that are expected of it,” Ann Marini, spokeswoman for the federation of public health insurers, told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

Ms Marini went on to say that her federation was now considering taking the necessary steps that would allow insurers to change their policies on financing dental braces, for which they currently pay out €1.1 billion annually.

The announcement comes in the wake of the publication of a government-commissioned report into orthodontic treatment last week.

The meta-study by the IGES Institute reached the damning conclusion that there was no evidence to back claims that braces provide long-term dental health benefits.

“As whole the studies into diagnostic and therapeutic orthodontic measures allow no conclusion to be be drawn about a patient-relevant benefit,” the report found. It also stated that it was “noticeable” that no long-term studies had collected data on the impact of braces on tooth loss or secondary diseases.

The German Health Ministry attempted to play down the findings, saying that while the report found no evidence that braces have health benefits “it also does not rule them out.” Health Minister Jens Spahn meanwhile said he had “no doubts” about the necessity of orthodontic treatment.

But Ms Marini said that further investigation of the value of braces was now necessary, pointing out that braces cost Germans “around a billion euros every year in health insurance contributions as well as placing considerable strain on the people who have to undergo the treatment.”

She confirmed that the health insurers’ federation was deliberating whether to request an examination of the evidence by the Federal Joint Committee, the public body responsible for regulating medication and health treatments.

If the committee, made up of both insurers and medical professionals, was to conclude that there was limited evidence of a health benefit, it would likely cut or scrap the amount insurers are obliged to fund for orthodontic treatment.

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