One in 10 avoid visiting the dentist for fear of pain or a big bill

One in 10 people in the Netherlands have not seen a dentist in the last two years because they are worried about pain or high bills, patients organisation Patiëntenfederatie has found.

The problem intensified during the coronavirus restrictions when many people were afraid of catching the virus, the organisation said.

However, many people have scrapped or delayed visits to the dentist since dental care for adults was removed from the basic insurance package in 2006, leaving them with no option but to pay for care themselves or take out additional cover.

Dental problems often lead to self medication with painkillers which, doctors warn, can cause kidney damage and thrombosis. According to research by the Radboudumc teaching hospital, treating illnesses resulting from tooth decay costs an average of €3 billion each year.

The Patiëntenfederatie is calling on dentists to be more transparent about pricing. People are often shocked when they see the bill, director Dianda Veldman said. ‘People have to know what they can expect. It is surely not that hard to come up with a reasonable estimate of the cost. This is a very big expense for many people, after all.’

Dentist are bound by maximum rates for different elements of a treatment but may decide to include more procedures, such as an extra x-ray. This means the bill for treatment can vary between practices.

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