For adults in The Netherlands, very little dentistry is covered by basic health insurance policies and what exactly that may be can vary. For most dental care you will need to take out a supplementary policy (aanvullende pakket). You may think you don’t need that, you clean your teeth, like, really well. But stop and think for a second. Neither your hygienist visits or basic dental check-ups are covered by the basic policy. And should you chance to fall off your bike and break a tooth – ouch! You’re going to need treatment, and quickly, to prevent further problems arising. Ask your insurer for the exact details of what is covered under their basic and supplementary plans.
Basic insurance cover is compulsory in The Netherlands. It also covers children’s dental care up to the age of 18. And supplementary dental care doesn’t have to be too pricey. If you want to cover your regular dentist visits and hygienist then maybe just an extra €20 a month. If you are pregnant, you will need more check-ups than usual, so it is definitely worth having the supplement during that period at least.
Emergency Dental Care
Emergency Dental Care is available in The Netherlands but is by no means ubiquitous. And outside of the big cities walk-in clinics are a rarity. There are a few places though, like the Tandarts Bemiddelings Bureau (The Dentists Mediation Agency) in Amsterdam, who can help by putting you in touch with practices that are open for emergency dental care.
If you have found a good dentist with extended opening hours, like Tandarts Jordaan, or TP Batavia, then you won’t have a problem. Both provide emergency care too, and you can get an appointment at short notice should an emergency arise.
Trying to cover the cost of emergency dental treatment, or any emergency health care in fact, out of your own pocket can be extremely expensive for the uninsured.
You still think you may just try and go without and skip the additional cost of dental care insurance? Um, yeah. Not advisable.
If you don’t register for basic health insurance within 4 months of becoming resident in The Netherlands then the Nationaal Zorginstituut (the government’s health care institute) can issue steep fines, at regular intervals, to try and persuade you to do so. Up to and including registering for you and deducting the costs from your salary.
Also, let’s be serious for a second, the chances of something happening within the first months of your residency that mean you need to see a doctor, dentist or visit a hospital are reasonably high. If you need emergency care, dental surgery for instance, without insurance you could be looking at bills that run into the thousands of euros and you will be liable for all the costs yourself.
Another reason to make sure your dental health care is covered – Dutch dentists are really good. You get what you pay for. The costs are capped by the government so no practice can charge you extortionate prices – no matter how swanky their premises seem to be. The vast majority of Dutch people visit their dentist at least twice a year; which is why a healthy smile is very much the norm here.