In Denmark dental care is free for children up to the age of 18 years and you will find school dental care systems in all Danish municipalities. These systems ensure that all children are called in for dental-checks twice a year, and secures that treatment (if necessary) can be carried out in time. These dental checks normally take place during school hours, where the entire class goes to the dental center together.
Once the Danes turn 18, they do need to pay for their own dental care. However, the government still offers various subsidies, and in some cases, covers up to 65% of the cost.
Even though there are offered subsides, Danish dentists face problems with patients not attending check-ups often enough or taking too little responsibility for their own oral health. Therefore, the Danish Dentist Association, Tandlægeforeningen, last year implemented a colour code system. Using this system, the dentists appoint patients either a green, yellow or red status. The colour code system serves the purpose of making the patients’ dental health situation more transparent and easier for them to understand, as well as motivating the patients to take responsibility of their own oral health.
Green, yellow or red?
Green status, is given to the patient who has no active decease, and only need check-ups once or twice a year. Yellow is for the patient who has minor ailments, which the dentist estimate can be impacted positively by behavioural changes by the patient. This could be drinking less soft drinks or using dental flush. The patient appointed red status has dental deceases that the dentist asses cannot be bettered by the patient him- or herself. For the red status patient, the dentist will start treatment as well as take preventive health measures. Patients in this last group need to attend dental appointments more often than patients in the two other groups, and consequently they will have more expenses.
In Denmark, we believe that everybody should be able to afford dental health care. Therefor the Danish Health Authorities have decided to use the colour code system when allocating subsidies. Patients belonging to the red groups thus receives more subsidies than patients with green or yellow status, consequently giving most support to those in greatest need.