How dental care works in Norway, how to find an English speaking dentist in the amount you should expect to pay.
There are so many things to consider when moving to a new country. Health care is often a concern, but dental care can sometimes be forgotten, until it is needed.
It certainly was for me. I broke a tooth after living in Norway for just a few months. At the time, I hadn’t even thought of finding a dentist. It would be a very costly mistake.
So, looking back, it’s a good idea to find a dentist soon after your move.
Is dental care free in Norway?
There are many misconceptions about the Norwegian healthcare system. Most importantly, all health care is free.
This is not true and certainly not true when it comes to dental care and treatment. In short, everyone has to pay for basic dental check-ups and treatments in Norway.
Generally speaking, only children or the elderly who receive nursing care receive free dental care. Children receive free treatment with the exception of braces. For 19 and 20 year olds, the health service covers 75% of the treatment costs. The remaining 25% must be paid by the patient.
Financial assistance for dental care
There are a few exceptions for adults, including those with rare diseases and those in financial need. It is also possible to apply for financial assistance from NAV if your child (ren) needs braces.
For adults, some dental care is covered by the health exemption card. It is a system that caps the health expenditure paid by an individual annually.
In addition, there is a list of 15 conditions that allow the patient to be reimbursed by Helfo, the Norwegian administration of health economics, under the national insurance scheme. The list includes gum disease, dental developmental disorders, and cleft lip-jaw-palate.
If you are entitled to dental treatment because of the exemption card, you will not be reimbursed by Helfo either. Also keep in mind that it is unlikely that you will be fully reimbursed by Helfo, depending on the cost of the dental clinic.
How much does dental treatment cost in Norway?
As with most professional services in Norway, the cost of dental treatment is likely to be higher than what you are used to. Probably a lot more.
Usually a consultation / examination including x-rays costs around NOK 1000. The basic toppings range from NOK 1000 to 2000 depending on the size. Root canal work starts from NOK 4000. Mining starts from NOK 1,650, with crowns starting at NOK 7,500.
Note that these are very average prices. You can find it cheaper or more expensive in your city.
Do dentists in Norway speak English?
Like most Norwegians, most adults of working age in professional services understand English and speak it well. This is a generalization of course, but you should expect to be able to communicate in English in most dental centers.
There are dentists in Norway who were born abroad. They will all be fluent in Norwegian and will likely adapt to English as well, as much of the dental education is done in English. If in doubt, just ask when registering.
How to find a dentist in Norway
There is no better way to find a dentist in Norway. I would advise seeking recommendations from trusted friends. If you want an English speaking dentist, check with other recent arrivals.
Then there is always Google, of course! The Norwegian word for dentist is tanning, and it should be relatively easy to find a selection of dental clinics near you. For example, a Google search for “trondheim tannlege” brings up many options.
While most dentists speak English, the majority of websites will be in Norwegian only. Still, it should be relatively straightforward to make an appointment, and you can always call or email to confirm the details.
Once you are registered, most dental clinics will contact you annually (or more frequently) to make a new appointment.
Dental treatment abroad
Because dental treatment in Norway can be expensive, many Norwegians choose to travel abroad for in-depth treatment. A whole industry has sprung up in Eastern Europe serving Norwegians seeking dental care.
One of the main selling points is the possibility of combining dental treatment with a vacation. If you are in need of serious dental care and have always wanted to visit cities like Budapest, this could be for you!
Of course, keep in mind that only you will know how much you can enjoy a vacation while waiting and / or recovering from serious dental surgery.
Some dental clinics abroad employ Norwegian speaking staff, or even have sales and support offices in Norway.
I can’t recommend any here as I have no personal experience, but you should be able to find several options with a quick web search. Again, I recommend that you seek a reference from someone you know if possible.
Reimbursement of dental treatment abroad
Norway’s exceptions for the payment of dental treatment also apply in the EU / EEA. However, only certain groups are covered and the documentation requirements are extensive. Helse Norge has all the details.