While mounting salary and operating costs are making dental work more expensive, more people than previously visit dentists in Estonia. Services providers offer similar prices.
Ragnar Abel, member of the board of AS Maxilla that runs dental clinics in Elva, Tallinn and Tartu, told ERR that the high price of dental services is mostly down to salary expenses, while material and rental costs also factor in. "But labor costs are definitely number one," he said.
He said that growing salaries, the looming VAT hike and higher buying in prices are sure to make services more expensive next year.
AS Maxilla's annual report reveals that the company spent €4.3 million of its €11.5 million turnover on salaries in 2022. The company had an equivalent of 92 full-time employees whose average salary came to €3,926.
Despite growing prices, the Estonian Health Insurance Fund is seeing a steady uptick in the number of both children and adults who visit the dentist.
Dr. Marjo Sinijärv, head of dental services at the fund, said that if in 2018 a total of 394,000 people went to the dentist and the Health Insurance Fund's benefits amounted to €48 million, these figures are 530,000 and €77 million for 2023 so far.
Data from the National Institute for Health Development (TAI) suggests Estonian households' medical cost-sharing grew by 11 percent to 23 percent last year, whereas expenses on dental work have grown the most (30 percent).
Sinijärv said that the list of dental services the Health Insurance Fund helps cover is regularly complemented in cooperation with service providers.
The fund currently pays adults an annual dental benefit of €60 on top of denture and other special benefits. The fund also pays for strictly necessary dental work for people with no health insurance. The fund covers the dental expenses for children and young people up to the age of 19.
Dr. Marjo Sinijärv added that Estonian dentistry sports a high quality and there is currently no debate for adding adults' dental services to the list of state-funded medical procedures.
Example of dental services prices in Estonia (Maxella). The prices are similar in most clinics:
Examination of the patient/identification of the status €40
Specialist consultation €60
Appointment fee €7
Injection anesthesia €16
Temporary filling €28
Light-cured composite filling (depends on the size of the filler) €55-95
Opening and extending one root canal (depending on the severity) €55-70
Implant (if necessary, bone transplant costs will be added) €1,600-1,900
Editor: Marcus Turovski