Dental visit “should only cost 200 kronor”

Four out of ten Swedish adults do not visit a dentist regularly.

An official inquiry into Swedish dentistry recommended on Monday that the government should pay the majority of the cost for a check-up.

Curt Malmborg, who headed the inquiry, said there were no statistics that proved that Swedes’ teeth have become worse over recent years. But, he added, there was evidence that more and more people are not going for check ups due to fear of how much treatment can cost.

The inquiry will make recommendations later this year about capping total costs for dental treatment.

“Before, people used to avoid going to the dentist because they were worried it would hurt. Now people are avoiding it because they are worried it will hurt them in the wallet,” commented Malmborg as he presented some of the inquiry’s preliminary findings on Monday.

Only 60 percent of adults in Sweden regularly visit their dentists. Most of those who do not are in the 20-44 age group.

Malmborg says that to change this trend, the state should subsidise a dental check-up once every 18 months. This check-up would include an x-ray, diagnosis of caries and loose teeth and an evaluation of the risk of other disorders. Tartar would be removed and patients would get advice about oral hygiene. They would also be given advice about the cost of further treatment.

A check-up of this kind costs around 700 kronor today. Malmborg suggests that the state could pay for 500 kronor of this. He says that this would increase dental visits by 25 percent, meaning a further 1.7 million Swedes would get their teeth checked. The total cost to the state would be 1.9 billion kronor per year.