Dental care in adulthood
Everyone receives basic public oral health care and, if necessary, further guidance. Private dental clinics and dentists provide both basic services and specialised treatment.
All adults have the right to oral and dental health advice and check-ups in their home municipality. Similarly, citizens have the right to preventive oral health care and examinations and treatment in the event of mouth diseases. Your local authority will provide you with all basic treatment, such as fillings, extractions, removal of plaque and gum care.
If you need special support, examinations or continued treatment, the municipal oral health care unit will look into the situation and, if necessary, refer you elsewhere. Your local authority’s oral health care unit will also provide you with information on private practices in the area.
If your mouth and teeth are healthy, a dental check-up every two or three years should be sufficient for adults. The local authority dental treatment unit will not send you a reminder for a check-up: you need to organise this yourself. Book an appointment for a check-up with the dental care unit. If you have toothache, you can ask for urgent treatment.
If you have sudden serious toothache, contact the local authority dental unit emergency service. Access to private dental treatment is normally faster than obtaining public dental care.
If your tooth starts to ache in the evening, at the weekend or on a public holiday and painkillers are not working, contact the local joint emergency services. They will tell you what to do.
In an emergency, urgent and sudden cases of toothache and accidents are treated. In the case of accidents, emergency treatment can be requested immediately without contacting the dental unit. If you have difficulties breathing or swallowing, or opening or closing your mouth, or there is bleeding in the area of your mouth and it cannot be stopped at home, always go to the emergency services. There are night-time emergency services at the hospitals in all big cities and towns, and they are mainly there in the event of all kinds of accidents.
Orthodontic treatment is available for adults too. You can receive orthodontic treatment as a public service if there is a serious functional impediment, in which case surgery is also frequently required. Orthodontic treatment for adults is generally only available at private clinics. Orthodontic treatment may also be undertaken for cosmetic reasons and to correct occlusal errors.
Waiting times for oral health care vary from one municipality to the next. If the need for treatment is urgent, the local authority must provide treatment promptly. Emergency dental treatment will be given, for example, in serious cases of toothache and for all accidents, even outside normal surgery hours.
The need for treatment is assessed within three working days of contact, and often over the telephone. Legally, a patient has the right to non-urgent treatment using public services within three months of registration. The time limit for dental treatment can be extended to six months if there are good reasons for postponing the treatment and the patient’s health is not at risk.
Access to private treatment is generally prompt. An emergency appointment can be obtained even on the same day or the next working day.
All public dental care for adults has to be paid for. A charge is made for the visit and another for treatment, examinations and preventive dentistry. The charge for a visit for dental care is around EUR 10 to 20. The charge varies depending on whether the treatment is provided by an oral hygienist, a dentist or a specialist. The charges made for dental examinations and treatment depend on the kind of work involved and can vary from around EUR 9 to over EUR 200.
If you have not cancelled your appointment or if you fail to appear at the surgery at the appointed time, you will have to pay a charge for the unused appointment. No charge is payable if you have an acceptable reason for not cancelling the appointment.
The dental treatment provided by a company or a private dentist on average costs more than public dental care, although Kela will reimburse some of the costs. All private dentists or dental practices set their own charges. A private company may deduct a Kela refund of charges from its bill to the patient, or the patient him/herself can apply to Kela for a refund afterwards.