There is no pain quite like that of a tooth ache which is why, if you decide to move to Spain, one of the first things you should do is register with a dentist. That way, you’ll never have to suffer the pain of a tooth ache again! With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about finding and visiting a dentist in Spain, as well as emergency dental treatment, Spanish dental vocabulary and whether your health insurance will cover your treatment.
Free Dental Services in Spain
The first thing you should know is that going to the dentist in Spain generally isn’t free, except in the case of children or adults in need of emergency care. The Spanish healthcare system doesn’t currently have provision for dental care.
Whilst the national healthcare system doesn’t cover dental treatment, it is possible to secure private dental health insurance, so you won’t have a large an unexpected bill if a dental issue arises. Without private insurance, you will be expected to pay for any dental treatment you receive. Being a European Citizen or in possession of an EHIC card does not exempt you from this policy: this will not entitle you to free dental treatment in Spain.
Free dental services are, however, offered to children aged between 6 and 15 years old, provided these children are registered with the national healthcare provision. Eligible children will need to show their Spanish health card to get free services: in some parts of the country they may be send vouchers to cover the cost of the dental care they need.
Experiencing a Dental Emergency
Dental treatment is also free if you are experiencing a dental emergency, but not in a traditional dental office. Instead you should go to the emergency department in your nearest hospital who will be able to examine you and send you for the treatment you need: most emergency departments will have an in house dentist available to provide emergency dental treatment. If you are a Spanish resident you should take your health coverage card with you when you visit the emergency department. If you are an EU citizen then you should take your EHIC card.
Finding a Dentist in Spain
The good news is that you’ll find plenty of dental offices available in Spain and, as they are almost all private businesses, they compete against each other to offer the most attractive and modern services, as well as the most competitive prices. Dental treatment tends to be more affordable in Spain than in other European countries, so if you do have a tight budget it’s worth shopping around. However, we recommend that, whichever dentist you choose, you ensure that they are registered with the Consejo Dentista de Colegios de Odontólogos y Estomatólogos (General Council of Colleges of Dentistry and Stomatology of Spain or General Dental Council) in Madrid. This means that they meet the basic criteria of registration, which includes holding a dental degree from a recognised Spanish university, as well as ensuring their facilities meet certain hygiene and quality criteria. It is worth noting, however, that the organisation doesn’t regulate the dentists who are registered with them , so it’s still worth doing your own research before you agree to any dental care. Some questions you should ask your dentist before any treatment pan begins include:
-What are their qualifications? Do all of the dentists in their practice have the same qualification level? Are the accredited and with whom?
- What treatment do they offer and will they be the dentist carrying out the treatment?
-Do they speak English? Could they provide an interpreter or would you have to provide your own?
- What fees do they charge? Can they fix the price for your treatment plan?
Dental Health Insurance
Whilst dental treatment is more affordable in Spain than in many other countries (including the UK) you may still prefer not to face an unexpected bill every time you go to the dentist. And more dentists in Spain will expect payment in full on completion of any treatment. As a result, you may wish to consider securing a dental insurance policy. Premiums vary but expect to pay between €10–15 per month which should enable you to receive dental check-ups, cleaning, fluoridation and sometimes x-rays for no extra charge. Treatments such as fillings, root canal work and wisdom teeth will be offered at a discount of around 40 percent.
You should be aware that when you choose your dental insurer, they will expect you to use one of their pre-approved dentists for your treatments. Therefore if you have a particular dentist in mind it is worth asking them which insurers they work with before you secure your policy. Once you are part of a plan, all you do is present your insurance card and ID at reception and pay any fees to the dentist directly once your treatment plan has been mutually agreed.
The following companies are worth exploration as they are expat friendly and all offer dental services in Spain either as party of their packages or as a stand alone offering:
Some Handy Spanish Dental Vocab
Finally, if you’re visiting the dentist without a translator, you may find that the following words and phrases prove very helpful:
- I want/would like a check-up / cleaning / to make an appointment: Quiero/Quisiera un examen/una limpieza/hacer una cita
- I have…a cavity / toothache / sensitive teeth: Tengo una cari/dolor de muelas/los dientes sensibles
- The filling fell out: Se me cayó el relleno
- My gums are bleeding: Mis encías están sangrando
- It hurts to chew: Le duele al masticar
- Tooth/milk or primary teeth: el diente/el diente de leche/primario
- Molar: la muela
- Wisdom tooth: el diente de juicio
- Gingivitis: El gingivitis
- Inflammation: Inflamacion
- Filling: empaste
- A crown: una corona
- A bridge: un Puente
- Enamel: el esmalte
- Braces: frenillos
- Root canal: el tratamiento del nervio
- Extraction / pull a tooth out: la extracción / sacar un diente.
- Anesthesia: anesthesia
- Numb: entumecida
- X-ray: radiografía / rayo
- Dentures: dentaduras postizas
- Plaque: placa
- Dental floss: hilo dental
Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Why not get in touch with our team of local property specialists to help you turn that dream into a reality today.