Home Healthcare Healthcare Services Visiting the dentist in Portugal
Last update on June 09, 2021

Before you visit a dentist in Portugal, read this guide on the requirements, costs and how to find dentists in Portugal.

Treatment from dentists in Portugal is not freely available on the Portuguese healthcare system for most residents. However, some categories are exempt. If you need dental treatment, you’ll likely have to pay for it unless you have private dental insurance. However, Portuguese dental costs are not as expensive as in some other European countries. Certain vulnerable groups, such as children and the elderly, can get treatment for free.

This guide provided by Expatica explains the conditions for seeing a dentist in Portugal, such as:

Dentists in Portugal

Dental care in Portugal is of high quality by international standards. There are a number of dental clinics throughout Portugal, although Lisbon’s dental clinics offer better range and quality. The total number of dentists (dentistas) in Portugal is more than 9,000, which works out at around 0.88 per 1,000 of the population – higher than the EU average of 0.73 per 1,000. However, Portugal fares behind the European average in terms of oral hygiene; many residents neglect professional treatment due to the costs involved.

Treatment from dentists in Portugal is not free for most of the population. Check-ups and examinations are subsidized by the SNS; in fact, they are free to residents registered with state healthcare in Portugal. The SNS additionally offers free dental treatment to children, elderly, pregnant women and patients with HIV/AIDS through the National Oral Health Promotion Programme (Programa Nacional de Promocao de Saude Oral – PNPSO), which is available to all official residents.

Visitors to Portugal and those ineligible for treatment through PNPSO will need to pay for dentists in Portugal or take out dental health insurance that covers treatment costs. Visitors from the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland will not be able to use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to cover dentist costs in Portugal, unless they take out additional insurance to cover dental costs in Portugal.

If you are an expat living in Portugal and need dental treatment, you can find many English-speaking dentists in Portugal, particularly in popular tourist and expat areas; for example, dentists in Lisbon and Algarve are more likely to speak at least some English.

Conditions for seeing a dentist in Portugal

If you have residency in Portugal, you can make an appointment with a Portuguese dentist and receive an initial consultation and examination for free. However, if you require further treatment, you will need to pay the costs unless you are eligible under the PNPSO program. Non-residents will have to pay for all dental fees unless they have private dental insurance in Portugal.

Dentist Lisbon

Residents will need to show proof of eligibility to get a free check-up appointment with a dentist in Portugal. This can be done by showing your SNS healthcare card (cartao do utente).

If you are eligible for free dental treatment in Portugal under the PNPSO programme, you should visit your local health center (centros de saude) to see a doctor in Portugal who will subsequently refer you to a dentist.

Visiting the dentist in Portugal

Most dentists in Portugal require you to make an appointment, which can be done over the phone or in person. Not many dentists in Portugal have the capacity to take online appointment bookings, however, with the exception of some private dentists that deal in cosmetic treatment and dental implants in Portugal. In the case that you’re receiving PNPSO treatment, your initial dental appointment will normally be made for you by someone at your health center.

If you need to pay for dental treatment in Portugal, ask for a written quotation before agreeing to it. If you have private health insurance, you may have to pay for the costs upfront and get reimbursed if your insurer doesn’t have a prior arrangement with the dental clinic.

In the case that you need treatment as a PNPSO patient, you will be issued with vouchers from the SNS to cover the costs. Vouchers generally cover preventative treatment, restorations, extractions, reparations, and root canal treatment.

Specialist dental treatment in Portugal

There are a number of professional dentists that offer a range of specialist and cosmetic dental surgery.

Relatively affordable prices compared to some western countries, such as the US, attracts many visitors from abroad, slowly turning Portugal into a ‘dental tourism’ location, particularly in the Lisbon dental sector.

Specialist dentistry in Portugal includes procedures such as:

  • dental implants
  • veneers and aesthetic restorations
  • teeth whitening
  • acrylic and skeletal removal prostheses
  • orthodontics
  • oral hygiene
  • dental CBCT
  • piezosurgery

Popular dentists in Portugal offering specialist treatment include clinics such as the Vita Centre dental clinic in Lisbon and Cris Piessens Clinic in Algarve.

How to find a dentist in Portugal

All dentists in Portugal must be registered with the Ordem dos Medicos Dentistas (OMD). You can find recommended dentists through personal contacts or through your national embassy. Most embassies also post lists of recommended doctors and medical services in their native language. Details of UK embassies in Portugal can be found here. US embassies and consulates can be found here. You can also ask for recommendations on the Expatica Ask the Expert service, or see Expatica’s listings of dentists in Portugal.

Alternatively, you can search for dentists in Portugal on the SNS website and through the Portuguese Yellow Pages. If you want to compare dentists according to ratings as well as find information on costs, the WhatClinic website has information on 227 dental clinics in Portugal.

You can find many small private dentists clinics by doing an online search (with many websites in English and sometimes German or French), as well as clinics with English-speaking dentists with several office locations, for example, GSD dental clinics (in Lisbon and other locations) and Walk In Clinics (a Lisbon dental clinic plus other locations).

Some questions you might want to consider before choosing a dentist clinic in Portugal, especially if you are planning more complex treatments, such as dental implants:

  • What qualifications and accreditations do they have?
  • What treatments do they offer?
  • Do they speak English?
  • What are their costs?
  • Have they got good reviews, either from people you know or on review websites?

Portuguese dental care for children

Portugal dentist

Children aged up to 18 can receive free dental care in Portugal through the PNPSO program if they are residents and registered with the SNS state healthcare system. The initial screening and examinations for children is normally carried out by a school oral hygienist who will subsequently refer the child onto a dentist in Portugal for treatment if necessary.

Dental costs and dental insurance in Portugal

Everyone not covered by the PSPSO program will have to pay dental costs in Portugal, either directly or through private dental insurance. As most dentists in Portugal are private, dental costs vary widely but in general are reasonably inexpensive compared to western European countries and the US.

The below table compares average dental prices in Germany, the UK, and the US with one of the more expensive Portuguese dentists in the Algarve.



 Root canal work


 Dental implants





















There are various dental insurance plans available in Portugal, some as standalone plans and others as add-ons to general health insurance plans. Premiums vary between insurers and depend on your own circumstances. You can also choose international health insurance or from a provider in your home country that will insure you overseas. You can check with your Portuguese dentist or your insurance company whether you need to pay costs upfront and get reimbursed from the insurer or whether payment is sorted out by them directly.

Private dental insurance in Portugal

The following international health insurance companies provide dental coverage plans suitable for expats in Portugal:

You can compare costs of dental insurance in Portugal using websites such as TreatmentAbroad, or Chase Templeton if you’re from the UK. You can also read our guides to choosing between local and international health insurance and finding the best expat health insurance.

Emergency dentists in Portugal

Many of the dental clinics in Portugal provide emergency dental care services. You can also check here to find a list of emergency dentists in your area in Portugal.

The general emergency number in Portugal is 112.

Further information