From finding a dentist in Austria to arranging insurance and costs, here is everything you need to know about looking after your pearly whites.
Fortunately for expats, high-quality dentists are in vast supply in Austria, therefore you won’t have any trouble finding someone to take good care of your teeth. Furthermore, most Austrian people speak a good level of English. That said, if you need an English-speaking dentist, you may need to look more in the city centers rather than in more rural areas. You might also want to look into getting health insurance and shopping around for some quotes.
This helpful guide explains everything you need to know about dentists in Austria, including the following:
- The healthcare system in Austria
- Dental care in Austria
- State dental care in Austria
- Private dental care in Austria
- Accessing dental care in Austria
- Finding a dentist in Austria
- Visiting a dentist in Austria
- Costs of dental care in Austria
- Dental insurance in Austria
- Children’s dental care in Austria
- Emergency dental care in Austria
- Useful resources
The healthcare system in Austria
Luckily, everyone in Austria has access to medical care. You will receive your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when you become a resident. This is your health insurance card and, aside from your photo ID, is generally all you need to make medical appointments in Austria.
In essence, visitors also have access to medical care in Austria. Typically, a tourist will pay the clinic first then submit the receipt to their travel insurance company to claim the cost back. Insurance companies such as World Nomads offer travel insurance policies that provide coverage in case something happens while you are away.
All dentists in Austria must be registered with the Austrian Dental Chamber. While social insurance does cover some dental procedures, the rest is the responsibility of the patient. Around 75% of private-practice dentists have contracts with social services, and this will cover all E-card holders.
Dental care in Austria
Austria boasts a very high standard of dental care. As of 2020, there were 5,206 dentists working in various cities around Austria. The vast majority work directly through the social security system. Impressively, 99% of the Austrian population has access to basic dental care through social security. The E-card public insurance scheme costs just €10 per year and covers basic treatment. You can choose whichever dentist you prefer who displays a “Kassenarzt” (contracted doctor) or “Alle Kassen” (state dentists) sign.
However, procedures such as implants, bridges, and orthodontics are not covered by social security. That said, partial costs can be reimbursed by your health insurance (Krankenkasse). Despite this, dental tourism is popular among Austrians who seek out costly procedures in neighboring Hungary and Romania to reduce overall costs.
State dental care in Austria
The basic dental treatments covered by state care include check-ups, cleaning, and fillings. For most other things, you will have to pay. Each region in Austria organizes its own health and dental care which means that for more extensive treatments, you may need to visit bigger cities such as Vienna for specialized care.
Typically, public health dentists recommend annual visits to the dentist. Although there are more dentists in Austria than in say, the neighboring Netherlands, visits to the dentist are less frequent. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggests that this may be due to a comprehensive public campaign in the Netherlands on oral care.
Private dental care in Austria
As with healthcare, the decision to take out private dental care often rides on the speed of treatment. Private insurance provides the advantage of reduced waiting times and increased comfort. It can also grant access to more advanced forms of dental treatment. Therefore, if you anticipate needing these kinds of treatments, private dental insurance might be the way to go.
The cost of private dental plans will depend on whether you want coverage outside of Austria as well as inside; as well as the range of treatments you wish to cover. Of course, the pricier the procedure, the higher your rate of insurance. Your rate will also depend on whether you have any dependents on your policy.
Accessing dental care in Austria
When you visit a dentist in Austria, you need to take along your E-card and identification. You will be asked to fill in a form with any allergies and previous treatments as well as your contact details. Essentially, this is your registration. You are free to visit other dentists in Austria, however, you will have to fill in another form each time.
If you don’t have an E-card, you will need to pay for your treatment and claim it back with your insurance company afterward. And if you don’t have travel insurance, you will need to foot the bill yourself.
Finding a dentist in Austria
Each different region in Austria handles its own dentists. You can search for dentists in your local area using What Clinic, a handy listing of dental practitioners throughout Austria. Alternatively, you can consult the GCR, which lists the top-rated dentists in Austria.
Finding an English-speaking dentist in Austria
Although many dentists in Austria speak English, some are known for their excellent command of the language. All are located in Vienna, as follows:
- Dr. Stephen Weinländer, restorative and esthetic dentistry, and endodontics
- Dr. Mario Castro DMD, US-trained endodontist and root canal specialist
- Prim. Dr. Philip Jesch, BA, focus on oral implants and aesthetic dentistry
- Prof. DDr. Christian Ulm, specializes in oral surgery and dental implants
- Dr. Walter Wadsak, oral surgery and implantology
- Dr. Miona Jovanovic, specialized in preventive and esthetic dentistry
Visiting a dentist in Austria
After you have found a Zahnarzt (dentist), you should make sure that they are contracted to the Österreichische Gesundheitskasse (Austrian Health Insurance Fund). Then, after you have made your appointment, you need to take your E-card and ID along with you on the day.
If you are having a check-up, you will typically see a hygienist first. They will check your teeth and gums before a dentist examines you. If follow-up procedures are necessary, the dentist will usually make an appointment with you on the day. If not, they generally won’t contact you again until your next check-up. Ordinarily, this will either be annually or after six months.
Costs of dental care in Austria
In Austria, the advertising regulations of the Austrian Dental Association prohibit dentists from publishing prices for services. This means that you will only know your exact dental costs after a preliminary examination by your dentist. Essentially, this is because every treatment and patient is individual.
As with many other countries, advanced dental treatments such as braces and bridges can be very expensive. With this in mind, here are some low-cost alternatives.
Low-cost dental care in Austria
As mentioned above, Hungary is a popular destination for dental tourists from Austria. Over the last two decades, increasing prices in Western Europe have created the market for good-quality dental care at an affordable price. Even when you include accommodation and travel expenses, Hungary tends to work out as a cheaper alternative for some procedures. The city of Sopron, which lies just across the border, has become a dental center and serves many Austrian residents. The freedom of movement between EU countries has only helped this market flourish.
Romania is another affordable alternative, and some of the most common treatments that Austrian citizens travel for are dental implants. In Romania, these typically start at €450 while they typically cost at least €1,500 in Austria. Teeth whitening is also said to be much cheaper in Romania.
Dental insurance in Austria
In Austria, you can either buy stand-alone private dental insurance or add it to your public health insurance. Generally speaking, it is not the norm in Austria to have private dental insurance. If you choose to add additional insurance coverage, you will be covered for high-cost services such as children’s braces and bridges, and implants. Some of the larger international insurance companies that operate in Austria include Allianz Care and Cigna Global.
Children’s dental care in Austria
Fortunately, almost all children have access to free basic dental care in Austria. This is covered by the country’s extensive social security system, and as long as a child’s parents are registered, the child will be covered as a dependent. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, orthodontics is not covered, and this includes braces and retainers.
That said, you should check this with your employer as your company may have extended policies that provide some coverage. You can find more in-depth information about children’s healthcare in Austria in our handy guide.
Emergency dental care in Austria
It is important to keep in mind that you can’t always schedule a dental appointment when pain suddenly strikes, or when a tooth pops out unexpectedly. Therefore, you may find yourself in need of some emergency dental assistance. In Vienna, the Emergency Clinic of the University Clinic of Dentistry Vienna is open every day from 08:00 to 13:00. This includes weekends and holidays. It has an agreement with all major insurers in Austria, so should be covered by your Austrian social security insurance.
Dental Aesthetics also provides emergency dentist services. They deal with toothache, tooth fracture, broken tooth, loss of dental crowns, lost fillings, and more. They are open until 22:00 on weekends and carry contracts with SVA and KFA health insurance companies. Alternatively, you can try Meinzahn which operates on weekdays and weekends as well as holidays between 08:00 and midnight every day of the year.
- Austrian Dental Chamber – the professional representation of all dental practitioners in Austria
- What Clinic – a handy listing of dental practitioners in Austria
- GCR – a site listing the top-rated dentists in Austria
- Österreichische Gesundheitskasse – the largest social health insurance company in Austria