The Dutch population tends to visit their dentist regularly, approximately twice a year. Moreover, in the Netherlands all dental practices are private. State practices do not exist. In small cities, the practices generally contain one dentist and an assistant. In bigger cities, larger practices can be found which often contain various dentists, assistants and sometimes even dental hygienists. The Netherlands cope with the problem that many dental practices cannot accept new patients because they have reached their full capacity. For that reason, it is best to apply for a place at different practices to spread your chances.
Other dental professionals
Besides dentist, you can make use of the services of dental hygienists or specialists, such as orthodontists, implantologists and endodontologists. Normally you are referred to these last-mentioned specialists by your dentist.
In the Netherlands, dentistry is privatized and therefore basic health care insurances do not offer extensive coverage. Children under the age of 18 years old receive full coverage through the insurance policy of their parents. Adults from 18 years old only receive coverage for approved and necessary dental surgery. Exceptions exist for people with severe development or growth disorders as well as non-congenital defects of serious nature affecting their teeth, mouth or jaw.
Most of the dental care that you will probably need is not covered by basic health care insurance. Therefore it is necessary to take out supplementary dental insurance. Usually, insurance companies offer a wide variety of dental insurances aiming to meet the specific needs of their clients. When selecting dental insurance, make sure to check the following details:
- Coverage percentage: not all insurances cover 100% of the costs. In some cases, you will see coverage of between 75%-100%. Furthermore, many insurance companies work with contracted health care providers. If you decide to choose a non-contracted health care provider, the coverage may be lower.
- Maximum coverage: dental insurances in most cases have maximum coverage. This varies from €250,- tot €1.500,- a year. Choose the coverage that best fits your needs.
- In the insurance policy of health care insurance companies you might find that only common treatments are fully covered. Special and more complex treatments can have a lower coverage percentage.
For an overview of the exact coverage, you will have to consult the policy terms of the dental insurance of your insurance company. It is up to you if you would like to apply for a supplementary insurance, you are not obliged to by law. Only basic health care insurance is mandatory. If you have a healthy set of teeth then it might be more favourable (and cheaper) to carry the risk yourself instead of paying for additional dental insurance. To give you an indication: the costs for a yearly check-up normally vary between €20 and €45.
Dental treatment rates
The NZa (Nederlandse Zorgautoriteit) determines the rates for all dental treatments by law each year. Dentists and other health care professionals are not allowed to set higher rates. The rates are described in uniform codes (the so-called UPT-codes). If a dental treatment surpasses €250,-, your dentist is obliged to give you an estimate. Checking the UPT-codes and the estimate, you can verify if your treatment is fully or partly covered by your dental insurance.
How to find a dentist?
In the Netherlands we often see dental practices reaching their full capacity. No need to worry, especially in the big cities there are still possibilities to find a reliable dentist. You can do research online to find out if the dentist in your neighbourhood still takes in new clients. The rates are regulated by the Dutch government (De Nederlandse Zorgautoriteit, NZa), however, technical costs can differ. Also, opening hours and their ‘specialities’ can differ. For that reason, it is wise to compare several practices before you opt for one in particular.