In the Netherlands, dental care is provided by qualified dentists, all of whom are government-registered. The quality of care provided, compared to other countries, in general, is excellent.
The Dutch visit their dentist on a regular basis — approximately 85% of the population go once or twice a year. Expat dental care provider Lassus Tandartsen discusses dental care in the Netherlands and how the Dutch keep their teeth in pretty good shape.
Lassus Tandartsen is an attractive and modern dental practice with three offices located in the center of Amsterdam. They offer a wide range of dental treatments, such as dental hygiene, restorative and esthetic dentistry, implantology, braces, endodontology and more. Open 7 days a week including evening hours, they are a multilingual practice where staff speak fluent English but also French, German, Spanish and Portuguese.
Types of dental practices in the Netherlands
Almost all dental practices in the Netherlands are private, there are no state practices. Most of them are modest undertakings comprising one dentist (tandarts in Dutch) and an assistant. Practices are usually larger in major cities and include several dentists, assistants, and dental hygienists — allowing the practice to diversify its services. Most Dutch practices are full and it can sometimes be difficult to find one able to take on new patients.
Dutch dental care rates
The government, through De Nederlandse Zorgautoriteit (NZa), regulates the rates for services rendered, which makes these rates, generally speaking, lower than in most wealthy countries. Anything a dentist might carry out is described in uniform (so-called UPT) codes that allow the insurance company to determine the related costs. All dentists working in the Netherlands must adhere to these codes.
Technical costs between dental care providers, however, can vary and could significantly affect patients’ decision to opt for a particular practice. Dentists are obliged to list their prices on their websites to allow clients to choose a dentist that balances the prices they can afford with the quality they seek. As a guide, yearly dental check-ups in the Netherlands usually cost between €20–45.
Is dental care covered by Dutch state insurance?
Dentistry is mostly privatised in the Netherlands, meaning that you are responsible for paying for the related costs and not your insurance company. It is rare to find state practices. If you are covered by a Dutch basic health insurance policy (basisverzekering), your insurance company will bear the costs of all dentistry for your children up to the age of 18 as well as dental surgery for all adults.
Private dental insurance
All other dental care, which makes up the majority of the care you receive, can only be insured by taking out an additional healthcare insurance. This supplementary insurance can cover up to 100% of the cost. For the exact coverage, check the policy terms or contact your insurer.
Insurers are obliged to list on their websites up to how much they reimburse for various consultations and procedures. This helps the public calculate how much they will receive back for treatments, which will vary considerably per dentist, and may even stimulate them to change between dental practices.
Several large international health insurance companies provide dental coverage tailored to meet the needs of expats in the Netherlands, including:
In the Netherlands, you can find all regular dental specialist care. The best-known are dental surgeons, who are usually affiliated with a hospital, and orthodontists, who usually have a private practice. The Netherlands is also seeing a growing number of paradontologists (who specialise in gums), endodontologists (root canal specialists), implantologists and children’s dentists. You can only visit one of these specialists upon referral by a regular dentist.
Increasingly, Dutch dentists are employing the services of dental hygienists. Particularly, you’ll find independent dental hygienist practices in larger cities. You can visit these without a referral from your dentist.
Standards of dental care
All dentists in the Netherlands must comply by the rules set by the Dutch government on hygiene. Most dentists will give you a local anaesthetic before a painful treatment. Laughing gas is seldom used and, if so, only by a limited number of specialised dentists.
Finding a dentist
New practices with room to take on new patients often have a website. Make sure to compare services before you decide on one. Issues to take into consideration are: philosophy of the dentist/practice, opening hours, is there a dental hygienist, do they follow relevant new courses, what they specialise in, and does the staff speak English?
You can use this website to find a dentist in your region through entering your postcode: www.tandarts.nl.
In Amsterdam, Lassus Tandarts provides service in three different locations; in Nijmegen, expat-friendly Villa Westhof welcomes the entire family and offers same-day appointments for when that toothache gets too shrill.
In short, Dutch dentists follow a thorough training, make use of modern equipment and comply with official regulations. In other words, if the Netherlands turns out to be your new location, dental care should be the least of your worries.