Estonia has provision for both dental treatment and eye care in the public heathcare sector and via private health insurance. Treatment in the country is described as modern and high-tech.If you are registered with the national insurance scheme, then you will be entitled to some basic dental care, but you might want to consider taking out private insurance to cover any out-of-pocket payments. With eye care, you will be largely dependent on the private sector for basic optometric treatment such as eye tests.
How to register with a dentist
The majority of dentists in Estonia are self-employed. You may have difficulty in accessing dental care in more rural areas but should have no trouble in urban centres such as Tallinn. In order to register with a dentist, you will have to take along proof of your registration with the Haigekassa, and you will need to pay a €5 fee for each appointment.
To what extent does national insurance cover dentistry?
Some emergency dental care is free but in general you will need to pay for your dental treatment and much of this is non-refundable. Basic treatment will cost you around €30, and you will usually have to pay half: the state insurance will cover the rest. So if you have a filling for €60, you will need to pay the full fee upfront, but your insurance will then reimburse you for €30.
The reimbursement will increase up to €85 per year if you are a pensioner, are pregnant or are the mother of a child up to the age of three, or are considered vulnerable (for example, if you are on incapacity benefit). However, you will have to pay 15% of the cost of your treatment. Once every three years, the Health Insurance Fund compensates old-age and disability pensioners, health insured persons over the age of 63 and persons with partial or no ability to work, for dentures to the amount of €260.
Some estimated costs are as follows:
• root canal surgery: €50
• visit to the dental hygienist: €25
• teeth cleaning: €65
• prosthetic consultancy: €25
• plastic crown: €125
• full ceramic crown: €415
Dental care for children and young adults up to the age of 19 is free, but there is a €5 appointment fee in some clinics per visit by a child.
However, this does not apply to all private clinics: it is only applicable to those dental practices that are covered by EHIF. In practice, though, most private dentists have an arrangement with EHIF.
Accessing private dental treatment
Estonia has a wide range of private dental clinics, offering treatment such as
• dental examination
• teeth whitening
• dental anaesthesia
• oral surgery
• root canal treatment
• gum treatment
• prosthetic dentistry
Prices obviously vary from clinic to clinic and fees are not subject to regulation, but as a rough guide you will be looking at the following costs:
• tooth spa: €85
• ceramic crown: €425
• implant surgery first stage: €750
• implant crown: €775 – €1100
• set of braces from: €2500
The quality of dental treatment in the country is generally considered to be of a high standard.
How to register with an optometrist in Estonia
There are many optometrists practicing in Estonia and you should have no trouble finding eye care treatment that suits you. The East-Tallinn Central Hospital’s eye clinic is said to be one of the best in the Nordic regions, so remember that you may be able to take your sight test within the hospital system rather than at an optometrist.
There has been a scandal with one eye wear store prescribing un-needed glasses, as revealed by an Estonian investigative journalist. Overall, however, his findings were reassuring, as four out of five of Tallinn’s optometrists declared, correctly, that he did not need glasses.
To what extent does national insurance cover optical care?
Optical care will only be covered under the Haigekassa in cases of emergency, such as accidents to the eye or eye infections, which should be taken either to the emergency room or to your GP, depending on the severity of your particular case. East-Tallinn Central Hospital is a centre for the treatment of eye tumours, for instance, and most cases of eye cancer in the country are treated here.
Accessing private eye treatment
Estonia is a centre for optical tourism and there are a number of private clinics which provide eye care services, such as cataract surgery, corneal transplants, eyelid surgery and laser surgery for sight correction.
Prices are competitively priced in relation to elsewhere in Europe. Consultations start at around €35; a glaucoma operation will cost in the region of €550. Cataract surgery will cost around €500. Lasik surgery starts around €1,300.
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