More foreign dentists are filling the gap as dentist shortage grows

More foreign dentists are setting up in business in the Netherlands, partly due to the shortage of home grown graduates, Trouw said on Monday.

Currently 17% of the country’s 8,670 registered dentists are foreign, mainly from Germany, Belgium, Spain and Portugal, the paper said, quoting figures from Dutch dentistry association KNMT.  Zeeland has the most foreign dentists – 35% of the total.

Every year, some 300 dentists retire but only 240 graduate from dental school, the KNMT says.

The organisation wants the government to increase the number of places at dental school from 259 to 311, arguing that without action, the percentage of foreign dentists will increase to around 25%.

Foreign dentists provide a far from ideal stop gap, KNMT chairman Wolter Brands told the paper. ‘It is idiotic that the government is filling the gap with foreigners, he said. ‘Most of them leave the country within five years but patients want a long term relationship with their dentist.’

The health ministry told Trouw it does not consider the number of foreign dentists to be a problem, pointing out that they have to meet the same standards as Dutch ones.

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