Dental Care in the Netherlands
Find out how the dental health system works in the Netherlands, including specialists, referrals, and what to do when in need of emergency dental treatment...
Since 2006, there has been no distinction between private and public healthcare in the Netherlands. All practitioners are part of the public system, including dentists.
Dentists working in general practice provide almost all dentistry in the Netherlands. Approximately 69% of the Dutch population is registered with a dental practice and visits regularly.
Dutch patients will normally have a dental checkup every six months. Children join their parents' checkup from the age of 2-3. First to become familiar with the dentist and from the age of 3 to have their own checkup.
There is a national scale of maximum fees. Amounts are set each year by the government. Under the basic heath care insurance package, dental care is covered for all children up until their 18th birthday.
All preventive and curative dental care and all orthodontic care for grown ups (>18 year), can be additionally insured or paid for privately.
Quality of Care
The Individual Health Care Professions Act (BIG Act) was introduced for medical care and dentistry on December 1st 1997. Its purpose was to promote and monitor the quality of professional practice across all health care aspects and to protect the patient against inexpert and negligent treatment. Every dentist and dental hygienist has to have a BIG registration number to legally work in the field.
In 2007, the Stichting Kwaliteits Register Tandartsen, KRT (Institute of the Quality Register for Dentists) was established with the objective of creating transparency in dental treatment and clinic's practices, thereby contributing to patient safety.
Specialists usually orthodontists and oral/maxillofacial surgeons. Patients may attend specialists directly, but usually go via referral from their primary dentist.
Specialists apply a different scale of fees from general practitioners. The amount are set each year by the government.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons work mainly in hospital and universities while most orthodontists work in private practices.
Dentists with special interests
Some general practitioners specialise in endodontics, periodontics paedodontics and implantology, although they are not classified as true specialists. Patients may attend dentists with special interests directly, but usually go via referral from their primary dentist.
Dental hygienists are paramedicals with an independent status. Most are employees in dental practices, some work in hospitals and centres for paediatric dentistry and some have their own private practice.
Emergency and Trauma
According to the BIG Act every individual dental practice has to have an arrangement to offer after-hours emergency services. For details, check the website of the practice, or telephone the practice and an answering machine will tell you who to contact in an emergency ( most messages are in Dutch).
Treatment after opening hours, in the evening and after midnight will have additional costs.
Toothache and other discomfort can normally wait for the next day but teeth loss, luxation and complicated fractures need to be taken care of in the first 30-45 minutes after the accident.
Every dentist has to offer immediate emergency care within 45 minutes of being notified of the problem.
Yearly dental fee schedule for general practice and orthodontic treatment (in Dutch)