Will going to the dentist in Norway ever be cheaper?
Going to the dentist can be painful in more ways than one.
New figures from Statistics Norway’s Living Conditions Survey revealed that 17% of people have avoided having their teeth examined because they think it will cost too much.
“It is very difficult and painful to see people with major health problems who, due to financial constraints, do not receive the necessary health care,” said Hallgeir Ulsaker, dentist at Drammen. NRK.
He added that he had asked a few patients to withdraw from treatment due to the costs involved.
Dentistry is not included in Norway‘s subsidized health system. Those under 18 receive free dental care and those between 18 and 20 have their treatment subsidized. Anyone over 20 pays the full price, although it is possible to apply to the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV) for financial assistance for specific treatments.
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“I was shocked when I saw the numbers,” newly elected Left Socialist Party MP Kathy Lie told NRK.
Lie’s party, which will most likely be part of the next Norwegian coalition government, has made dental health a vital issue and wants to impose a maximum cost for trips to the dentist.
“We have this belief because teeth are part of the body. Therefore, you shouldn’t pay more to go to the dentist than to the general practitioner, ”Lie told the broadcaster.
Dentists have welcomed the possibility that care will become cheaper. However, they said, in reality it would be very difficult to achieve.
“A dental system similar to the general scheme would be good on a professional level. However, the downside is that there can be a lot of bureaucracy involved, ”explained dentist Ulsaker.
Others said cheaper dentistry would be difficult to put into practice.
“It is time for politicians to take a look at this. But before you start tinkering, you need to take a look at the entire system, ”Morten Harry Rolstad, general secretary of the Norwegian Dental Association, told NRK.
He added that when dentists set up practices, they do so without any funding from the public sector. He explained that for dentists to enter the public sector, all private investments made by practitioners would have to be reimbursed.
Rolstad said it would cost somewhere in the region of 12 billion crowns.
“If the authorities have the 12 billion to put on the table, then we will help to find out where the funds can be used in the best possible way,” said the secretary general.