Comparing traditional and modern dentistry in the Netherlands

Comparing traditional and modern dentistry in the Netherlands

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Going to the dentist has never been considered the most pleasurable experience, but that long-held sentiment may be due to outdated practices that you’ll now only find in traditional dentist offices in the Netherlands.

With modern dentistry, great advancements have been made to reduce the discomfort that was once associated with dentist visits and keep teeth healthier longer — and more recently, to recreate beautiful smiles. Lassus Tandartsen, a dental practice in Amsterdam, explains the difference between traditional and modern dentistry, and how to find these modern dental offices in the Netherlands.

Advanced preventive dental care

A majority of people visit the dentist in the Netherlands on a yearly basis, a figure that is slowly but steadily growing. In fact, the Netherlands boasts the highest number of dentist visits per inhabitant than any other EU country, with the average Dutch citizen visiting the dentist 2.5 times in 2015; residents in Germany, the second highest, went 1.5 times per year. It’s clear that the Dutch take dental care seriously — which may be attributed to better, more modern dental practices.

More visits also often mean more preventive care. Years ago, a single cavity could spell disaster; now, with more regular and thorough cleanings, cavities and other previously common tooth problems never arise. It’s not just better at-home care as instructed by the dentists, either — digital X-rays also allows dentists to see problems long before any symptoms occur, thanks to the advanced image processing capabilities and immediate availability of the images.

New materials and tech at the modern dentist

The modern dentist now has an arsenal of technology, one of which actually combines the power of multiple technologies to create a single dental solution. Digital smile design, which utilises photo, video, software and other technology as well as a creative eye, can show patients what their teeth can and will look like after veneers, braces or other aesthetic dentistry treatments. This process is a more holistic approach to dentistry, allowing the patient to be more involved in the design of their teeth and understand the outcomes of any treatments.

Digital scanning techniques also allow dentists to skip creating physical impressions — in which patients must bite down on an often uncomfortable tray of dental moulding material — and instantly scan the entire mouth and teeth to design crown, veneers and aligners, for both braces and whitening treatments.

CAD/CAM dentistry, in which computers are used to design and manufacture crowns, veneers, bridges and other dental implants and parts, is a feature of many modern dental practices. With more advanced CAD/CAM technology, patients do not need to have temporary restorations and wait days for permanent replacements. In addition, the ceramic materials used are considered safer and more durable than the previously used materials, namely metals. 

Other new techniques and materials have paved the way for less painful, more successful procedures such as root canals — the number of which is also steadily dropping. Root canals were (and sometimes still are) considered frightening procedures, but new methods sedation and techniques have greatly reduced discomfort: modern dental instruments such as electronic apex locators, which determine the length of the root canal space, have increased precision, reducing the chances that follow-up care will be needed.

Digital X-rays have become standard in many dental practices, having replaced the standard that featured uncomfortable plastic mouthpieces and less clear results. Digital dental X-rays allow for the immediate processing of the images, resulting in less time spent in the office for the patients, as well as much less exposure to radiation.

Just like any other medical field, research is still underway to improve not just the outcomes of procedures but the experience at the dentist: one study looked into delivering anaesthesia via electric current rather than needles, one of the main reasons patients may avoid the dentist.

Aesthetic dentistry: combining art with science

Although people have always been aware or self-conscious of their teeth, it is only in the past few years that advancements have truly been made to improve their appearance beyond simple whitening. With newer, less conspicuous techniques in orthodontics, more adults are looking to straighten out teeth — about 10 percent of orthodontic patients are adults, according to Rabobank figures. 

Advancements in veneers have also improved their outcome as well as their cost. CAD/CAM technology has also improved the design of veneers, making the result more uniform and durable; according to one study, 98.8 percent of patients said their experience with CAD/CAM-made veneers was successful. 

Finding a modern dentist in the Netherlands

Dental offices have always tried to make children more comfortable, but not much was done for the adults. With new technology, materials and other advancements in the field of modern dentistry, however, patients feel more comfortable than ever visiting the dentist.


Lassus Tandartsen / Expatica


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