Dental Care in Sweden: Complete English Guide (2024)



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As an expat or foreign resident, Sweden offers a high standard of living, which extends to its healthcare system. Among the various aspects of healthcare, dental care is a crucial one that often gets overlooked until the need arises.

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This guide is designed to help with the process and provide you with the necessary information to access dental care confidently and efficiently.

In Sweden, dental health is given significant importance, with a strong emphasis on both preventive care and treatment.

Let’s dive in and explore the ins and outs of dental care in Sweden.


  • Sweden’s dental care system combines public and private options, ensuring quality and accessibility.
  • English-speaking dentists are available, and online resources aid in finding suitable clinics.
  • Dental costs vary, with subsidies available through public insurance and options for private coverage.
  • Preventive care is emphasized, with emergency services accessible for urgent needs.
  • Effective communication in dental settings can be managed with English services and key Swedish phrases.
  • Cultural awareness enhances interactions and respects Swedish dental care norms.

Understanding the Swedish Dental Care System

In Sweden, the dental care system is known for its efficiency and high standards of care. It operates on a dual model, comprising both public and private sectors. Understanding this system is key to accessing the right services for your needs.

Public vs. Private Dental Care

Public Dental Care

Run by the county councils, public dental care in Sweden is known as Folktandvården. It provides services to all age groups and is known for its accessibility and comprehensive care. Folktandvården is particularly focused on preventive care and general dentistry.

Private Dental Care

Alongside the public sector, there is a well-established private dental sector in Sweden. Private clinics often offer a wider range of specialized services and might have more flexible scheduling options. They cater to those who prefer a more personalized approach or require specific treatments not readily available in the public sector.

Eligibility and Access

As an expat or foreign resident in Sweden, your eligibility for dental care largely depends on your residency status. Here’s what you need to know:

Residents and Long-term Expats

If you are registered as a resident in Sweden and have a personal identity number (personnummer), you are eligible for both public and private dental care. This registration is crucial for accessing healthcare services smoothly.

Short-term Visitors and Non-Residents

For those in Sweden on a short-term basis or without a personal identity number, accessing dental care is primarily through private clinics. It’s advisable to check your travel or expat health insurance for dental coverage in these cases.

Role of the Swedish Social Insurance Agency

The Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) plays a significant role in the dental care system, especially in terms of cost subsidies. Here’s how it works:

Cost Subsidy for Dental Care: Residents registered with the Swedish Social Insurance Agency are eligible for a dental care subsidy, which helps in reducing the out-of-pocket costs for dental treatments. This subsidy varies based on age and specific dental needs.

High-Cost Protection: There is also a high-cost protection scheme in place, which limits the maximum amount one has to pay for dental care within a given period. This scheme ensures that dental care remains affordable for residents, including expats.

Finding a Dentist in Sweden

Finding a dentist in Sweden that suits your needs, especially as an expat or foreign resident, involves knowing where to look and what to consider. Here are some tips and strategies to help you find a dentist that meets your requirements.

Tips for Finding English-Speaking Dentists

  • Online Directories and Websites: Many dental clinics in Sweden have websites with information in English. Websites like Praktikertjänst and 1177 Vårdguiden offer directories of dental clinics, often indicating if services are offered in English.
  • Expatriate Forums and Communities: Expatriate communities, both online and in-person, can be valuable resources. Fellow expats often share their experiences and recommendations for English-speaking dentists.
  • Embassies and International Organizations: Embassies and international organizations in Sweden sometimes have lists of healthcare providers, including dentists, who offer services in English and other languages.

Scheduling Appointments: What to Know

  • Booking Appointments: Appointments can usually be booked online or over the phone. If you’re not confident in Swedish, look for clinics that offer the option to book appointments in English, either online or with English-speaking staff.
  • Lead Times: Depending on the city and the clinic, the waiting time for an appointment can vary. In larger cities or for specialized dental services, the wait times might be longer.
  • Emergency Appointments: For urgent dental issues, many clinics offer emergency appointments. It’s useful to know which clinics in your area provide these services and how to access them.

Utilizing Digital Tools and Resources

  • Healthcare Apps and Platforms: Sweden’s digital healthcare infrastructure includes apps and platforms where you can find information about dental services, book appointments, and even receive remote consultations in some cases.
  • 1177 Vårdguiden: A central resource for health-related information in Sweden, including dental care. They offer a telephone service and online information, providing guidance on finding dentists and accessing dental care.

Costs and Insurance Coverage

Navigating the cost aspect of dental care in Sweden is crucial for expats and foreign residents. The Swedish dental care system offers various options for managing these expenses, ensuring that high-quality dental services are accessible and affordable.

Dental Care AspectPublic SectorPrivate Sector
Cost RangeStandardized ratesVariable, often higher
Age-Based SubsidiesAvailableNot applicable
Insurance CoveragePublic dental subsidyPrivate insurance plans
High-Cost ProtectionIncludedDepends on the plan
Specialized TreatmentsLimitedMore options available
Scheduling FlexibilityStandardMore flexible

Overview of Dental Care Costs

Public vs. Private Costs: The cost of dental care can vary significantly between public and private clinics. Public dental services (Folktandvården) typically have standardized rates, while private clinics set their own prices, which can be higher but may offer more specialized services.

Age-Based Subsidies: In Sweden, dental care is free for children and young people up to a certain age. Adults receive a dental care subsidy from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, which offsets a portion of the costs.

Public Dental Insurance

Automatic Enrollment: Residents in Sweden are automatically enrolled in the public dental insurance system. This insurance provides basic coverage and subsidies for dental care.

Subsidy Amounts: The amount of subsidy depends on your age and the type of dental treatment. Regular check-ups, preventive care, and basic dental treatments are partially subsidized.

Private Dental Insurance

Additional Coverage: For those seeking more comprehensive coverage, private dental insurance is an option. These plans often cover a higher percentage of treatment costs and may include services not covered by public insurance.

Choosing a Plan: When selecting a private dental insurance plan, consider factors like coverage limits, deductibles, and whether the plan includes access to specialized dental treatments.

Managing Dental Care Costs

Understanding Your Coverage: Familiarize yourself with what your insurance covers, whether public or private. Knowing the extent of your coverage can help you make informed decisions about treatments and budgeting.

High-Cost Protection: Sweden’s high-cost protection scheme caps the amount you pay for dental care over a 12-month period. Once you reach this cap, any additional necessary dental care is covered by the state.

Preventive Dental Care and Emergency Services

Sweden places a strong emphasis on preventive dental care, recognizing its importance in maintaining overall health. As an expat or foreign resident, understanding and accessing these services is key to ensuring your long-term dental well-being.

Importance of Preventive Care

Regular Check-ups: Regular dental check-ups are a cornerstone of preventive care in Sweden. These appointments typically include a thorough examination, cleaning, and, if necessary, X-rays. They are vital for early detection and prevention of dental issues.

Educational Resources: Many dental clinics in Sweden offer educational resources on maintaining good oral hygiene. These resources are often available in English and other languages, providing valuable guidance for your daily dental care routine.

How to Access Preventive Dental Services

Scheduling Appointments: You can schedule preventive care appointments through your chosen dental clinic, either online or by phone. It’s advisable to make these appointments well in advance due to high demand.

Subsidized Costs: Preventive dental care is often subsidized under the Swedish dental care system, especially for routine check-ups, making it more affordable.

Emergency Dental Services

In case of a dental emergency, Sweden offers several options to ensure you receive prompt and effective treatment.

Accessing Emergency Dental Care

Emergency Clinics: Many dental clinics in Sweden have provisions for emergency dental care. In case of an urgent issue, such as severe pain, injury, or infection, you can contact these clinics for immediate assistance.

1177 Vårdguiden: In an emergency, you can also call 1177 for guidance on where to find emergency dental services. This service can direct you to the nearest clinic that can handle dental emergencies.

Emergency Services for Non-Swedish Speakers

Language Assistance: If you are not fluent in Swedish, many emergency dental clinics provide services in English. It’s always useful to ask about language assistance when you call for an emergency appointment.

Translation Services: In some cases, translation services can be arranged if you require assistance in a language other than English or Swedish.

Navigating Language Barriers

For expats and foreign residents in Sweden, language barriers can present a significant challenge, especially when it comes to healthcare. Effective communication with your dentist is crucial for receiving appropriate care. Here’s how you can navigate these barriers in the Swedish dental care system.

Communicating with Dental Professionals

English-Speaking Staff: Many dental clinics in Sweden, particularly in larger cities, have English-speaking staff. When scheduling an appointment, inquire if the dentist or a staff member speaks English to ensure smooth communication.

Language Support Services: Some clinics offer language support services or have staff members who can speak languages other than Swedish and English. It’s worth asking about this when you book your appointment.

Resources for Non-Swedish Speakers

Translation Services: If you require assistance in a language other than English, some dental clinics may provide access to translation services. Alternatively, you can bring a friend or a family member who speaks Swedish to help with translation.

Healthcare Apps and Websites: Digital healthcare platforms in Sweden often have multilingual options. These can be invaluable for booking appointments, asking questions, and understanding your dental care plan.

Tips for Effective Communication

  • Prepare in Advance: Before your appointment, it might be helpful to prepare a list of questions or concerns in English. This ensures that you don’t forget to address any important points during your visit.
  • Use Simple Language: When communicating, use simple and clear language. Avoid medical jargon or complicated phrases that might lead to misunderstandings.
  • Confirm Understanding: Always confirm your understanding of the treatment plan, costs, and any other instructions. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification if something is not clear.

Cultural Considerations in Dental Care

Adapting to a new country’s healthcare practices includes understanding and respecting its cultural norms. In Sweden, there are certain cultural considerations in dental care that expats and foreign residents should be aware of to ensure a smooth and respectful experience.

Understanding Swedish Norms in Dental Settings

  • Punctuality: Swedish culture places a high value on punctuality. It’s important to arrive on time for your dental appointments. If you are running late, make sure to inform the clinic as soon as possible.
  • Communication Style: Swedes typically appreciate a direct and straightforward communication style. Feel free to ask questions and discuss your concerns openly with your dentist.
  • Privacy and Consent: Privacy is highly regarded in Sweden, and your dental care will be handled with confidentiality. Ensure that you understand and provide informed consent for any treatments or procedures.

Respecting Cultural Differences

  • Patient Autonomy: In Sweden, there is a strong emphasis on patient autonomy. You are encouraged to be an active participant in your dental care decisions. Feel free to express your preferences or concerns.
  • Feedback and Queries: It’s acceptable and often appreciated to provide feedback or ask queries about your treatment. Swedish healthcare providers typically value patient input and strive to ensure your comfort and understanding.

Navigating Cultural Nuances

  • Building Trust: Developing a good relationship with your dentist can be beneficial. Trust and mutual respect are key components of the patient-dentist relationship in Sweden.
  • Understanding the Holistic Approach: Swedish dental care often takes a holistic approach, considering your overall health and well-being, not just your dental issues. Be prepared to discuss broader health aspects if they are relevant to your dental care.

Useful Phrases and Terminology

As an expat or foreign resident in Sweden, familiarizing yourself with some basic Swedish dental care phrases and terminology can greatly aid in your interactions with healthcare professionals. Here is a list of useful phrases and terms that can help you communicate more effectively during your dental visits.

Basic Dental Care Terms in Swedish

  • Dentist: Tandläkare
  • Dental Clinic: Tandläkarmottagning
  • Appointment: Tid / Bokning
  • Teeth: Tänder
  • Toothache: Tandvärk
  • Check-up: Kontrollbesök
  • Cleaning: Tandrensning
  • Fillings: Lagningar
  • X-ray: Röntgen

Useful Phrases for Dental Appointments

  • “I have an appointment.”: “Jag har en tid.”
  • “I need an emergency appointment.”: “Jag behöver en akuttid.”
  • “Do you speak English?”: “Talar du engelska?”
  • “I have toothache.”: “Jag har tandvärk.”
  • “Where is the dental clinic?”: “Var ligger tandläkarmottagningen?”

Communicating Symptoms and Concerns

  • “My tooth hurts here.”: “Min tand gör ont här.”
  • “I am allergic to…”: “Jag är allergisk mot…”
  • “How much will this cost?”: “Hur mycket kommer detta att kosta?”
  • “Can you explain this to me?”: “Kan du förklara detta för mig?”

Discussing Treatment

  • “Will this be painful?”: “Kommer detta att göra ont?”
  • “Do I need a filling?”: “Behöver jag en lagning?”
  • “How long will the treatment take?”: “Hur lång tid tar behandlingen?”

Final Tips and Advice

As you navigate the dental care system in Sweden, a few final pieces of advice can help ensure a smooth and stress-free experience. Whether you are a short-term visitor or planning a longer stay, these tips will assist you in maintaining good dental health and making the most of the services available to you.

Stay Proactive About Your Dental Health

  • Regular Check-Ups: Don’t wait for a dental issue to arise. Schedule regular check-ups to maintain your dental health and catch any potential problems early.
  • Preventive Care: Embrace preventive care practices such as regular cleanings and follow the oral hygiene advice provided by your dentist.

Keep Informed and Plan Ahead

  • Stay Updated: Keep yourself informed about any changes in the Swedish dental care system, especially those that might affect your eligibility or the costs of services.
  • Insurance Coverage: Regularly review your dental insurance coverage, be it public or private, to ensure it meets your needs and understand what is covered.

Build a Good Relationship with Your Dentist

  • Communication: Establish clear and open communication with your dentist. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or express concerns about treatments or procedures.
  • Feedback: Provide feedback about your experiences. Constructive feedback can help improve the services and your overall experience.
Be Aware of Cultural Aspects
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Be mindful of the cultural nuances in the Swedish healthcare system. Understanding and respecting these can enhance your interactions with healthcare providers.
  • Language Skills: If you plan to stay in Sweden long-term, consider improving your Swedish language skills. Even basic proficiency can significantly ease your healthcare experiences.

Utilize Available Resources

  • Useful Resources: Make use of the various resources listed in the previous section. They can provide valuable assistance and information, making your healthcare journey smoother.
  • Expatriate Community: Stay connected with the expatriate community. Sharing experiences and tips with fellow expats can be incredibly helpful.

Related: New to Sweden: Your Guide To Thriving As A Newcomer in 2024

Additional Resources

  • 1177 Vårdguiden: This is the go-to online resource for health-related information in Sweden, including dental care. It offers comprehensive guides, contact information for healthcare providers, and advice on navigating the Swedish healthcare system.
  • The Local: An English-language news site in Sweden that often features helpful articles and forums for expats, including topics related to healthcare and dental services.
  • Expats in Sweden Forums: Platforms like Internations and Facebook groups for expats in Sweden can be invaluable for sharing experiences and getting recommendations from others who have been in your shoes.
  • Digital Healthcare Apps: Apps like Kry and can be helpful for booking appointments and even for online consultations. Some of these apps offer services in multiple languages.
  • Google Translate: While not always perfect, Google Translate can be a handy tool for translating medical terms or instructions that you might receive in Swedish.


Sofia is our Relocation Expert, who brings first-hand experience in moving to Sweden from abroad. She moved to Sweden over a decade ago and navigated the complexities of relocation herself.

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