Dentistry in Belgium

Dentists in Belgium: A guide to Belgian dental care

Comments0 comments

Dentistry in Belgium partly falls under state healthcare, although many Belgian dentists are private. Find who can access Belgian dental care, costs and standards, and dentists in Brussels and around Belgium.

Dentistry in Belgium is considered high quality and partly funded by state healthcare in Belgium, although private dental insurance in Belgium typically offers higher reimbursements.

It's fair to say that Belgian dental care doesn’t top the list of things to arrange when moving to Belgium, however, there are certain requirements to maintain your Belgian dental coverage, such as annual checks. It's also helpful to have a list of Belgian dentists in case of a dental emergency in Brussels or Belgium. This guide explains what you need to access Belgian dental care and how to find a dentist in Brussels or around Belgium.

Belgian dental care: what is covered?

Dentistry in Belgium is partly covered by the state Belgian healthcare system, which is widely regarded as one of the best in Europe. All foreigners are typically covered by the state system if they live and work in Belgium and are registered with state Belgian health insurance. Once you are registerd to pay social security in Belgium you will be given an eID, which you need to take whenever you visit a Belgian dentist. If you are moving to Belgium to retire, you will typically need to take out private health insurance.

Under public healthcare you are free to choose any state Belgian dentist and place of treatment. You will pay for the dental service upfront, after which you will be reimbursed for a portion of the charges, up to around 75 per cent.

Your personal circumstances and the treatment type will determine the amount of reimbursement you receive. Some health insurers in Belgium may restrict reimbursement for dental treatment within the first six months of your plan, unless you can show evidence of social security contributions in your home country. Other state health typically exclude certain Belgian dental treatments from their coverage, such as cosmetic work, dentures for under 65s or teeth extractions for ages 15 to 60.

However, almost all dentists in Belgium are private. As such, many residents in Belgium top up their state insurance with private dental insurance to cover a higher percentage of their dental costs in Belgium.

Dental insurance in Belgium

Under compulsory state Belgian health insurance, there is an agreed scale of fees for dental treatments known as the ‘Convention’. Belgium's dental associations jointly agree on the scales. Recent statistics show that around two-thirds of dentists are signed up to provide care within the Convention.

However, these dentists are also able to provide care outside of the Convention, although they need to do so during published hours. As such, if you are visiting a dentist in Belgium that operates under both the state and private system, make sure you are clear which services you are seeking.

For better coverage, there are numerous options for private dental insurance in Belgium. In some cases, employers offer a group contract to lower premiums. Private dental cover varies greatly, as do the premiums charged, but prices typically start from around EUR 10–20 per month. In exchange, Belgian dental insurance typically covers costs such as 100 percent of cleanings, fillings and basic denistry in Belgium, and around 50–85 percent of orthodontic, cosmetic and curative procedures (eg. extractions), although you'll need to confirm final prices with your selected dental insurers in Belgium. Read more on choosing private health insurance.

Belgian dental standards

Approximately 3.1 percent of government healthcare spending in Belgium is allocated to dentistry. There are roughly 8,500 dentists in Belgium and three dental associations, catering to the different official languages (French, Dutch and German) in the country. Most of the population is reportedly within a 15-minute bus or car journey of a dentist in Belgium.

There are three dental schools in Belgium – two of which speak Flemish, with the other three speaking French. But, don’t fret; most dentists in Belgium do speak English. Aspiring dentists need to undergo five years of training in one of these schools, after which they receive the qualification of Licencie en Sciences Dentaires (French) or Tandarts (Dutch/Flemish). 

Once they have graduated, they need to undertake vocational training, which is supervised. All aspects of the profession are covered, including prosthodontics, orthodontics, conservative dentistry, practice management, prevention, radiology and general medicine. Belgium dentists are required to carry out 60 hours of vocational training over a six-year period.

As such, the standard of dental care in Belgium is very high. The country consistently ranks in the HSBC Expat Explorer surveys for having one of the best living standards in the world with exceptional healthcare. There are several ways in which the standards of dentistry in Belgium are monitored to ensure a level of quality is maintained:

  • The Institut – the Institut has an administrative body that regulates non-clinical administrative forms used in dentistry in Belgium. There is also an independent control department run by medical doctors who check that treatment codes correlate to the actual treatment given. The Institut has the right to examine any patient, and this often occurs if a complaint has been made. 
  • The Convention – there are some quality standards within the Convention, for example, there needs to be a minimum of four visits for a denture, which should include five construction stages.
  • Self-regulation – for dentists that are not part of the Convention, which is around 32 percent of all dentists in Belgium, they are eligible to self-regulate. 

Specialist dentistry in Belgium

There are three specialist dental titles recognised in Belgium – general practice, periodontics and orthodontics. Maxillo-facial surgery is also considered a medical speciality.

The specialist qualifications and types of specialist dentists in Belgium are as follows:

  • Dentiste Specialiste en Parodontologie/Tandards Specialist in de Parodontologie
  • Dentiste Specialiste en Orthodontie/Tandards Specialist in de Orthodontie,
  • Dentiste Generaliste/Algemeen Tandarts.


Dentists undergo specialist training at a university, and the courses can take anywhere from one to four years. 

If you are looking for a dentist in Belgium that specialises in oral maxilla-facial surgery, you will need a professional who has undergone six years of basic training and qualification in medicine. They will have then underwent dental training for two years, after which specialising in oral maxilla-facial surgery for a further four years. 

Not all specialist dentistry in Belgium is covered by state healthcare, so it's important to ask for a quote and get approval from your health insurer first.

Costs of dentistry in Belgium

For basic treatment, dentists in Belgium typically work to an agreed fee, and some will accept part payment under a health insurance agreement. However, you must visit your dentist in Belgium once each year to be eligible for reimbursement from your health insurance scheme. Costs for basic state dentistry in Belgium are around EUR 20–25 for consultations, EUR 60–65 for extensive oral examinations, EUR 30–75 for cavity fillings (depending on the extent of decay) and EUR 35–40 for extractions, with around 75 percent of costs typically reimbursed.

For major dental work, for example bridges or crowns, you will need approval from your insurance company first. Your Belgian dentist will take care of this by submitting a schedule for the proposed work. No matter which dentist you choose you will need to pay them first, after which you will receive a green treatment certificate – basically a receipt – which will be sent to your insurer for reimbursement. 

Private dentistry in Belgium is typically cheaper than in the US but generally on the expensive side when compared with other European countries, for example: 

  • The average price for porcelain veneers in Belgium is GBP 338, similar to Spain and Portugal, whereas the average cost is GBP 280 in Germany (similar to Poland), GBP 255 in Greece, GBP 232 in Bulgaria and GBP 163 in Turkey.
  • For porcelain crowns, the average price is GBP 413 in Belgium, compared to GBP 338 in Spain, GBP 297 in Germany, GBP 230 in Greece and GBP 118 in Turkey.
  • Full acrylic dentures cost roughly GBP 751 in Belgium, with costs averaging GBP 780 in Spain (similar to Romania and Turkey), GBP 400 in Portugal (similar to Bulgaria and Hungary) and GBP 200 in Poland.


However, prices vary greatly depending on the dentist you choose. 

If you're looking to study dentristy in Belgium, there are several universities offering courses. Read more in our guide to studying in Belgium.

Finding a family dentist in Belgium

Dentists in Belgium are known as dentistes/tandartsen. You shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a Belgian family dentist that speaks English. Expatriate organisations, embassies and consulates can typically offer a list of dentists in Belgium that speak English. You are free to choose your own dentist although, as mentioned, most dentists are private, so it is advisable to check with your health insurer first to make sure a Belgian dentist you are considering is approved. 

You can also look for dentists in Belgium that are a members of a professional association to ensure a certain standard, although membership of a dental association is not compulsory. There are four national Belgian dental associations that are recognised by the social security system:

  • The Vlaamse Beroepsvereniging voor Tandheelkunde (VBT) for Flemish-speaking Belgian dentists
  • The Verbond der Vlaamse Tandartsen (VVT) for Flemish-speaking Belgian dentists
  • The Societe de Medecine Dentaire (SMD) for French-speaking Belgian dentists
  • The Chambres Syndicales Dentaires (CSD) for French-speaking Belgian dentists.

Dentists in Brussels

EU statistics show there are more than 8,000 dentists in Belgium, averaging around 72 for every 100,000 inhabitants, somewhat more than seen in neighbouring Netherlands. Generally speaking, there is a better choice of dentists in Brussels than in smaller towns, including more international dental clinics in Brussels and a higher concentration of English-speaking dentists in Brussels. You can look for dentists and dental clinics in Brussels by looking up the Golden Pages. To locate a dental clinic in Brussels or an English-speaking dentist in Brussels, see Expatica's listings here.

If you're looking for an emergency dentist in Brussels, you can call the dental emergency call service at 02 426 1026 (fees can apply) to find the closest dentistes de garde. For an orthodontic dental emergency in Brussels, call 070 22 2088.

The US Embassy in Belgium also provides a list of English-speaking dentists in Brussels and around Belgium.

Belgian dental information

  • Online website listing dentists in Brussels and around Belgium.
  • list of accredited dentists in Belgium (in French).

 


Expatica

Expatica ask the expert
Need advice? Post your question on Expatica's free Ask the Expert service to see if we can help.

Comment here on the article, or if you have a suggestion to improve this article, please click here.

If you believe any of the information on this page is incorrect or out-of-date, please let us know. Expatica makes every effort to ensure its articles are as comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date as possible, but we're also grateful for any help! (If you want to contact Expatica for any other reason, please follow the instructions on this website's contact page.)


Captcha Note: Characters are case sensitive
The details you provide on this page will not be used to send any unsolicited e-mail, and will not be sold to a third party. Privacy policy .

0 Comments To This Article