While I’ve written about dental tourism in Israel before, I had no idea how different dentistry in Israel was compared to the States. Israel has a highly professional dentistry sector, and while the national healthcare system is impressive, it doesn’t include dental care.
This is similar to the United States, where a lot of healthcare plans offer no or very little dental care coverage.
But this does have its own benefits. I can confidently choose my own dentist, and I am not limited to dentists that are only in an insurance plan’s “network.”
Private and public clinics exist, and everyone is highly trained. There are local and internationally trained dentists, and the public healthcare funds do operate their own for-profit clinics. These clinics are found all around Israel, and while they are “private,” they do offer a low-cost option because they have a large pool of patients.
Supplementary plans are offered by many of these clinics, and they may provide free annual checkups, discounted treatments and services. My kids, as long as they’re under the age of 12, are able to receive free treatment from these public health fund clinics.
This free option, while only up to the age of 12, is definitely a benefit to parents and will help save a lot of money in the early years of a child’s life.
Private dentists offer a range of services and have their own price lists, and it’s a great option for a non-Israeli native who may not speak Hebrew perfectly. These private dentists, many which have been trained internationally, speak English and other languages.
You’ll find that the private operations tend to have a service that is more personal than that of the public dental sector, which is very fast-paced.
Public dental care, through a Kupot Cholim dentist, is a bit different because the clinic will assign patients a dentist. This may mean that you don’t get to build that lasting relationship with a dentist because you’ll be going from one dentist to another, depending on which dentist is assigned to you.
Private dentists allow you to see the same dentist each time, and this means that you’ll be working with someone that has a relationship with you. These dentists may remember your last visit, ask you about issues that you have faced in the past and will work on ensuring that you receive a customized dental plan.
Private dentists also have much less restrictions, so they’re able to follow the best plan of treatment for you rather than deal with policies that may restrict the materials used or treatments performed. Dental tourism has been able to keep the dental industry in Israel robust, and it does indicate that prices are more affordable than the US and UK.
You may miss the friendly approach to dentistry in the public sector, but it seems to be different in the private sector, where dentists are a bit friendlier.
While Israel keeps proposing new laws for dentistry and amendments to the National Health Insurance Law, for the time-being, the private sector seems more familiar, with nicer dentists, than the public sector.