No one likes visiting the dentist. Even the thought of a mere checkup can be dreadful. Nonetheless, dental care is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. The Czech Republic offers dental care plans and practices similar to countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. With both private and public insurance plans, teeth cleaning, and new developing trends and methods, the quality and affordability of dental care has been improving here in the Czech Republic.
In the US, dental hygiene is and has been a huge priority in the for decades. In 2010, 78.9% of children between the ages of 2-17 visited the dentist (US Department of Health and Services). “Thanks to fluoride, healthier lifestyles and quality dental care, more people than ever before are keeping their natural teeth throughout their lifetime” (American Dental Association). In general, Americans take great care and precaution when it comes to achieving the perfect smile, turning to orthodontia, regular cleaning and checkups, white strips, and more. This extra effort toward teeth is not only for health reasons—it’s also for cosmetic appeal.
Americans can turn to two different types of dental plans—public and private—in order to maintain those pearly whites. Medicaid is a joint program between the federal government and the states that provides health insurance coverage to the nation’s poor, disabled, and impoverished elderly people. It provides periodic screening, direct oral referral, dental care needed for relief of pain and infections, operative procedures, preventive services, and therapeutic services. Private dental care plans are usually provided through employers. However, most plans pay only a portion of dental expenses and thereby patients are often surprised to find insurance benefit gaps. In order to help ease the financial load, payment plans are available, including monthly financing programs.
The United Kingdom offers similar dental plans in terms of public vs. private. The National Health Service provides free dental care for those under 18 or under 19 receiving full-time education, pregnant women, and those staying in an NHS hospital. It’s also free for those who receive income support, income-related employment and support allowance, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, pension credit guarantee, or if you have a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate. For those that do not qualify, NHS charges three bands of prices that increase depending on the extent of care needed. Nonetheless, the NHS has been cut back to a basic standard care over the last few years. Similar to the US, patients can also opt for the private route, which usually results in more expensive, but better quality treatment.
The Czech Republic also offers both public and private insurance plans. Dr. Chalupa, head dentist at Canadian Medical Care, explained the ins and outs of public and private care. Public dental plans provide preventive treatment, checkups, silver fillings, simple extractions, and noncomplex endodontic treatments. Public insurance will not cover things that are considered “not standard,” to avoid paying for extra quality; therefore, many citizens put the extra money toward the private route. Dentists do the same because it is too much work to deal with the insurance and government. Nonetheless, there is still a 50/50 split between public and private dentists. While many dentists choose to work for private clinics, there are still many that practice in the public sector.
Private dental care is quite comprehensive and the prices are not too extravagant for the average citizen. Private clinics such as Canadian Medical Care offers services from cleaning to implantology, all with maximum care using state-of-the-art technology. The clinic provides anesthesiology, general dentistry, dental hygiene, children’s dentistry, endodontics, cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, paradeontology, dental surgery, sedation dentistry and more. Still, about 65% of patients choose the public route because it’s cheaper and many are used to free dental care.
The average Czech citizen visits the dentist every six months. However, Doctor Chalupa says, “if there is no pain, they don’t care.” It is a pretty big contrast to the American attitude towards perfect teeth. In fact, teeth cleaning and whitening are not included in checkups. In the states, a checkup usually will include scaling and cleaning. However, here, dental hygienists work completely independent of dentists. Local citizens tend to visit hygienists once or twice a year; for those with extreme cases such as inflammation caused by too much smoking or drinking, they go as often as once a month. Some of the middle class also utilizes teeth whitening procedures in order to have a better smile, particularly for the workplace.
There are still quite a few people who do put forth the extra effort required for cosmetic dentistry. Although orthodontia is not part of dental plans, public insurance funds it for up to 18 years of age. Whoever said that all Europeans do not care about straight, white teeth, was sorely misguided.
There are also many new trends and methods in Czech dentistry that have recently become popular. Private clinics have many new technologies and equipment designed to improve the quality of dental care. With special laser pens that can detect decay, digital intraoral cameras, digital panoramic radiography, diagnostic x-rays and lasers, HealOzone used for prevention, and more, dental care in the Czech Republic is quite advanced and comprehensive. Many dentists in the Czech Republic are internationally experienced professional doctors who are very qualified in their field. In fact, foreigners will often come to the Czech Republic for cheaper, yet still very professional dental services in what is referred to as “dental tourism.”
Even though it’s easy to ignore a minor toothache or forego a checkup—don’t, because it will only hurt you in the long run. The next time you experience tooth pain, don’t hesitate visiting the dentist for fear of ineptitude or cost. Dental upkeep is an important part of everyone’s daily regimen and should not be overlooked. The Czech Republic offers a multitude of options in terms of private or public care and there is no excuse not to take advantage of them. With great quality care similar to the States or the UK, a visit to the dentist is a simple act that will only lead to prettier smiles and less problems in the future.