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, although some categories are exempt. If you need dental treatment, you will likely have to pay for it unless you have private dental insurance that covers costs. However, Portuguese dentist costs are not as expensive as in some other European countries and certain vulnerable groups, such as children and the elderly, can get treatment for free.
This guide explains the conditions for seeing a dentist in Portugal, including:
- Conditions for seeing a dentist in Portugal
- Visiting the dentist in Portugal
- Specialist dental treatment in Portugal
- How to find a dentist in Portugal
- Portuguese dental care for children
- Dental costs and dental insurance
- Emergency dentists in Portugal
Dental care in Portugal is of high quality by international standards and there are a number of dental clinics throughout Portugal, although as the capital Lisbon’s dental clinic typically 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 and many residents neglect professional treatment due to the costs involved.
Treatment from dentists in Portugal is not free for most of the population, although check-ups and examinations are subsidised by the SNS and 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 not eligible 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.
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 programme. Non-residents will have to pay for all dental fees unless they have private dental insurance in Portugal.
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 centre (centros de saude) to see a doctor in Portugal who will refer you to a dentist for a check-up.
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, with the exception of some private dentists that deal in cosmetic treatment and dental implants in Portugal. If you are receiving PNPSO treatment, your initial dental appointment will normally be made for you by someone at your health centre.
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.
If you need treatment as a PNPSO patient, you will be issued with vouchers from the SNS to cover the costs. Vouchers can cover preventative treatment, restorations, extractions, reparations and root canal treatment.
There are a number of professional dentists that offer a range of specialist and cosmetic dental surgery, for example, dental implants in Portugal.
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:
- dental implants
- veneers and aesthetic restorations
- teeth whitening
- acrylic and skeletal removal prostheses
- oral hygiene
- dental CBCT
Popular dentists in Portugal offering specialist treatment include the Vita Centre dental clinic in Lisbon and Cris Piessens Clinic in Algarve.
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 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?
Children aged up to 18 can receive free dental care in Portugal through the PNPSO programme 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 refer the child onto a dentist in Portugal for treatment if necessary.
Everyone not covered by the PSPSO programme 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
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.
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.
Many of the dental clinics in Portugal provide emergency dental care services. You can check here to find a list of emergency dentists in your area in Portugal.
The general emergency number in Portugal is 112.
- www.sns.gov.pt – website of the Portuguese National Health Service (SNS)
- www.apho.pt – website of the Association of Portuguese Oral Hygienists (APHO)
- www.omd.pt – website of the Portuguese Dental Association (Ordem dos Medicas Dentistas, OMD)
- Health insurance in Portugal
- Hospitals in Portugal
- Seeing a doctor or specialist in Portugal
Click to the top of our guide to dentists in Portugal.