Why has everything gone wrong and how should this change ? Ultimately it always hinges on money. In Holland, for example, dentists are not allowed to charge what they need to work properly. Since 1985 private dental fees have been imposed imposed by the government. The government did not want the total costs of dentistry to exceed 2.5 billion guilders. So that amount was divided by the total number of dental products as a basis for setting prices. If the total billed by all dentists exceeded 2.5 billion guilders, they were faced with a price-cut. These prices did and still do not have anything to do with substantiated calculations or quality.


Sterilizing turbines and handpieces requires huge investments (because you need lots of turbines and lots of handpieces and special autoclaves to treat them).

So a dentist who delivers quality and who is keeping up high hygienic standards will earn a lot less than his dirty colleague.

Prices of dental products and services should be based on real production costs. These calculations should be open to the public and quality of the dental services should be permanently monitored and protected. Talking about quality, safety and real production costs is not done in Holland. We would rather keep quiet and try to grasp our piece of that 2.5 billion-guilder cake.


How about inspection by our health authorities? Forget it.

Dental surgeries are not regularly inspected by governmental health inspectors.

They don't show up unexpectedly like they do in restaurants, drugstores or butcheries. In Holland inspection is only carried out after a patient has complained. Hygiene guidelines are guidelines only and not mandatory.

The Dutch Government employes only one ( nice ) man to checkout 7000 dentist, responsible for 16.000.000 patients. So as to the risk of cross-contamination, you are dependent on your dentist en your own attentiveness.

Patient's or consumer organizations don't seem to be aware and don't seem to protect you.

The writer of this horror-story has been working as a general dental practitioner in Amsterdam for nearly thirty years without ever seeing an inspector visiting his office.

So we hope that we opened your eyes before you open your mouth in a dental office next time.