Dental care in the Netherlands
The Dutch visit their dentist on a regular basis, and as a result, only a relatively small part of the population has badly cared-for teeth. In the Netherlands, dental care is provided by university-educated dentists, all of whom are government-registered.
The quality of the care, also in comparison with other countries, is excellent. The Dutch visit their dentist on a regular basis – approximately 85% go once or twice a year.
Types of practices
Almost all dental practices in the Netherlands are private, there are no state practices. Most of them are modest undertakings, with one dentist and one assistant. In the larger cities there are larger practices, consisting of several dentists, a number of assistants and dental hygienists. Such a structure allows the practice to diversify its services. Many practices in the Netherlands are full and consequently cannot take on any new patients.
Dentistry is privatised in the Netherlands, i.e. the patient is responsible for the payment of the costs of the treatment, not the insurance company. However, under Dutch basic health insurance, the insurance company will fully cover all costs of dentistry for children through to the age of 18 as well as dental surgery for all adults.
All other dental care, which constitutes the majority of care given, can only be insured by taking out an additional insurance. This supplementary insurance can cover up to 75% of the costs. For the exact coverage, check the policy terms or contact the insurer.
In the Netherlands, all regular dental specialisations can be found. The best-known are oral surgeons, who are usually affiliated with a hospital, and orthodontists, who usually have a private practice. Moreover the number of periodontologists (who specialise in gums), endodontologists (root canal specialists), implantologists and children’s dentists is steadily growing.
Patients are referred to these specialists by regular dentists. A growing number of Dutch dentists employ the services of a dental hygienist, but in the larger cities particularly, there are also separate dental hygienist practices. Patients can visit these practices without a referral from their dentists.
Other issues of interest
All dentists in the Netherlands must comply with the rules on hygiene set by the Dutch government. Most dentists will give a local anesthetic before a painful treatment. Laughing gas is seldom used and if it is, only by a limited number of specialised dentists.
Dental fees have been determined by the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa), under the authority of the Dutch government.
Finding a dentist
New practices, which still take on new patients, often have websites. It is advisable to do some comparative shopping before deciding on a practice. Issues to take into consideration are: philosophy of the dentist/practice, opening hours, is there a dental hygienist, are refresher courses taken on a regular basis, what does the practice specialise in, does the staff speak English, and so on.
Dutch dentists follow a thorough training, make use of modern equipment and run a clean shop. In other words, if the Netherlands turns out to be your new location, dental care should be the least of your worries.
Thomas Rietrae runs an international high-end dental clinic in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw neighborhood and on the Keizersgracht, Jordaan area. His practice is focused on expats and among his clients are many employees of multinational businesses. For more information, visit: www.lassustandartsen.nl/en
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