For members


The essential guide to going to the dentist in Spain

For Members: Average prices, useful vocab and other essential information you need before visiting the dentist in Spain.

The essential guide to going to the dentist in Spain
Photo: AFP/Deposit Photos

Whether you’ve had a tooth emergency while on holiday in Spain or want to find out if it’s worth waiting to see your dentist back home, we’ve got you covered in this feature (just not financially). 

After all, going to the dentist is rarely a pleasant experience so at least with this information you’ll be prepared.

The first thing to remember is that going to the dentist in Spain, as in most countries around the world, isn’t usually covered by the country’s public health system or social security.

Even if you’re from another EU country and hold an EHIC card that gives you access to Spain’s health care system in case of emergencies, chances are you won’t be covered.

What dental treatments are covered by Spain’s social security?

Spain’s public health system does offer primary care for dental problems of an infectious or inflammatory nature, such as the extraction of wisdom teeth, dental problems caused by injuries/accident to the mouth and, if required, biopsies.

In other words, most emergency dental problems that are out of your control rather than those relating to your personal care/neglect of hygiene or cosmetic improvements.

However, some of Spain’s autonomous communities offer discounted prices on other treatments, especially for children, so it’s worth checking at your local health centre if it’s the case where you live.

For example, under 18s in some Spanish regions can get braces for €500, a sixth of the average price if done privately in Spain. 

How much will it cost if I have to go to a private Spanish dentist for a one-off treatment?

According to Spanish comparison site, these are the average prices for the most common dental treatments in Spain:

Implant with crown: €1,344
Crown: €394
Filling: €59
LED whitening: €337
Teeth cleaning: €70
Orthodontics (braces): €3,005
Porcelain veneers: €239
LED whitening: €337
Root canal: €207
Double root canal: €227
Multiple root canals with nerve damage: €273

Bear in mind that dentists’ prices can vary depending on where their clinics are located (central ones will likely cost more than those on the outskirts).

Other factors such as the brand and quality of materials used can have an influence on the bill, or the age/experience of the dentist.

A 2014 study by Spanish public consumer body FACUA found that there was a price difference of more than 1000% for some treatments.

That’s not to say that opting for the cheapest dentist in Spain is the best choice, but it will be worth making a few calls before deciding.

By global standards, dental treatment prices in Spain are lower than in the US, UK, France or Holland.

But if you’re really looking to cut costs there are countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkey, Peru or Uruguay where seeing the dentist can work out to be half the price of what it is in Spain, which explains the global trend in dental tourism.

How do I choose a dentist in Spain?

There are more than 35,000 dentists in Spain and around 26,000 dental clinics so it really is a case of being spoiled for choice.

If you’re interested in checking credentials, look for dentists registered with the General Council of Colleges of Dentistry and Stomatology of Spain (Consejo Dentista de Colegios de Odontólogos y Estomatólogos) or General Dental Council (Consejo General de Dentistas).

And as with most matters in Spain, asking people in your circle can often be the most effective way of getting a suitable recommendation.

If the dentist in question knows your contact personally, they may be willing to offer you a better price or at the very least treat you fairly.

Is it worth looking for an English-speaking dentist?

This is of course dependent on personal preference and your level of Spanish but bear in mind that many Spanish dentists will have an understanding of medical English that’s practical to their job.

As highly qualified professionals there’s also a chance they will have carried out overseas studies in English and have a thorough grasp of the language, at least when it comes to dentistry matters.

If you would still prefer to have a native English-speaker, you’re much more likely to find one in areas with a high tourist or foreign population, especially along Spain’s costas. 

Visiting el/la dentista

As is the case anywhere else, you’ll need to make an appointment before visiting your dentist of choice.

You’ll have to show some form of ID on arrival at the clinic, even if you aren’t a resident of Spain.

Find out beforehand if initial consultations and examinations are free – they tend to be – and if aftercare check-ups are also at no cost.

If the dentist says you require treatment, make sure you get a quote before agreeing to it.

Payment for dental services in Spain is usually done upfront.

Is it worth taking out dental insurance in Spain?

If you foresee that you’ll need regular treatment it probably is worth taking out a dental health plan.

There are plenty to choose from, with big names such as Sanitas, Santalucía and Adeslas all having plans.  Plans are cheaper than regular health insurance, but can vary depending on your premiums.

You can find decent plans for €10 to €15 a month, although they are likely to involve copayment on big treatments and free services for dental cleans and check-ups.

You will be limited to seeing dentists that are affiliated to your dental plan insurer however, so if there’s a dentist in particular that you want to be treated by it may be worth checking who they are partnered up with before committing to a plan.

If you’re dissatisfied with the English-language customer service of your insurer, Aetna International, Allianz Care, Globality Health and Cigna Global all offer expat-friendly services.

What useful Spanish vocab do I need for going to the dentist?

Symptoms and appointment

Quiero pedir cita para: I want to book an appointment for

Quiero hacerme una revision/una limpieza: I want to have a check-up/clean

Tengo una caries: I have a cavity

Tengo los dientes sensibles: My teeth are sensitive

Se me cayó el empaste: My filling fell out

Tengo dolor de muela: I’ve got toothache

Me sangran las encías: My gums are bleeding:

Me duele al masticar/morder: It hurts when I chew/bite

Tengo sarro: I’ve got plaque/tartar

Gingivitis: gingivitis

Diente de leche: Milk tooth

La muela: Molar tooth

La muela de juicio: wisdom tooth

Tengo alergia a/Soy alérgico a: I’m allergic to

Tengo un dolor punzante/sordo: I’ve got a sharp/dull pain


El empaste: filling

Los aparatos: braces

La corona: crown

Endodoncia (un/dos conducto/s): Root (single or double) canal

El Puente: bridge

El esmalte: enamel

Sacar/Extraer un diente: extract/pull out a tooth

Dentadura postiza: dentures

Radiografía: X-ray

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Rampant branch closures and job cuts help Spain’s banks post huge earnings

Spain’s biggest banks this week reported huge profits in 2021 and cheered their return to recovery post-Covid, but ruthless cost-cutting in the form of thousands of layoffs, hundreds of branch closures and the removal of many ATMs have left customers in Spain suffering, in this latest example of ‘Capitalismo 2.0’. 

A man withdraws cash from a Santander branch in Madrid.
More than 3,500 Santander workers lost their jobs in Spain in 2021 and a further 2,000 more employees working for Santander across Europe were also laid off. Photo: PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP

Spanish banking giant Santander on Wednesday said it has bounced back from the pandemic as it returned to profit last year, beating analyst expectations and exceeding its pre-COVID earnings.

Likewise, Spain’s second-largest bank BBVA said on Thursday that it saw a strong rebound in 2021 following the Covid crisis, tripling its net profits thanks to a recovery in business activity.

It’s a similar story for Unicaja (€137 million profit in 2021), Caixabank (€5.2 billion profit thanks to merge with Bankia), Sabadell (€530 million profit last year), Abanca (€323 million profit) and all of Spain’s other main banks.

This may be promising news for Spain’s banking sector, but their profits have come at a cost for many of their employees and customers. 

In 2021, 19,000 bank employees lost their jobs, almost all through state-approved ERE layoffs, meant for companies struggling financially.

BBVA employees protest against layoffs in May 2021 in Madrid. Spain’s second-largest bank BBVA is looking to shed 3,800 jobs, affecting 16 percent of its staff, in a move denounced by unions as “scandalous”. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

Around 11 percent of bank branches in Spain have also been closed down in 2021 as part of Spanish banks’ attempts to cut costs, even though they’ve agreed to pay just under €5 billion in compensation.

Rampant branch closures have in turn resulted in 2,200 ATMs being removed since the Covid-19 pandemic began, even though the use of cajeros automáticos went up by 20 percent in 2021.

There are now 48,300 ATMs in Spain, levels not seen since 2001.


Apart from losses caused by the coronavirus crisis, Spain’s financial institutions have justified the lay-offs, branch closures and ATM removals under the premise that there was already a shift to online banking taking place among customers. 

But the problem has been around for longer in a country with stark population differences between the cities and so-called ‘Empty Spain’, with rural communities and elderly people bearing the brunt of it. 


Caixabank laid off almost 6,500 workers in the first sixth months of 2021. Photo: ANDER GILLENEA/AFP

Just this month, a 78-year-old Valencian man has than collected 400,000+ signatures in an online petition calling for Spanish banks to offer face-to-face customer service that’s “humane” to elderly people, spurring the Bank of Spain and even Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to publicly say they would address the problem.

READ MORE: ‘I’m old, not stupid’ – How one Spanish senior is demanding face-to-face bank service

It’s worth noting that between 2008 and 2019, Spain had the highest number of branch closures and bank job cuts in Europe, with 48 percent of its branches shuttered compared with a bloc-wide average of 31 percent.

Below is more detailed information on how Santander and BBVA, Spain’s two biggest banks, have reported their huge profits in 2021.


Driven by a strong performance in the United States and Britain, the bank booked a net profit of €8.1 billion in 2021, close to a 12-year high. 

It was a huge improvement from 2020 when the pandemic hit and the bank suffered a net loss of €8.7 billion after it was forced to write down the value of several of its branches, particularly in the UK. It was also higher than 2019, when the bank posted a net profit of €6.5 billion.

Analysts from FactSet were expecting profits of €7.9 billion. 

“Our 2021 results demonstrate once again the value of our scale and presence across both developed and developing markets, with attributable profit 25 per cent higher than pre-COVID levels in 2019,” said chief executive Ana Botin in a statement.

Net banking income, the equivalent to turnover, also increased, reaching €33.4 billion, compared to €31.9 billion in 2020. This dynamic was made possible by a strong increase in customer numbers, with the group now counting almost 153 million customers worldwide. 

“We have added five million new customers in the last 12 months alone,” said Botin.

Santander performed particularly well in Europe and North America, with profits doubling in constant euros compared to 2020. In the UK, where Santander has a strong presence, current profit even “quadrupled” over the same period to €1.6 billion.

Last year’s net loss was the first in Banco Santander’s history, after having to revise downwards the value of several of its subsidiaries, notably in the UK, because of COVID.

The banking giant, which cut nearly 3,500 jobs at the end of 2020, in September announced an interim shareholder payout of €1.7 billion for its 2021 results. “In the coming weeks, we will announce additional compensation linked to the 2021 results,” it said.


The group, which mainly operates in Spain but also in Latin America, Mexico and Turkey, posted profits of €4.65 billion ($5.25 billion), up from €1.3 billion a year earlier.

The result, which followed a solid fourth quarter with profits of €1.34 billion, was higher than expected, with FactSet analysts expecting a figure of €4.32 billion .

Excluding non-recurring items, such as the outcome of a restructuring plan launched last year, it generated profits of 5.07 billion euros in what was the highest figure “in 10 years”, the bank said in a statement.

In 2020, the Spanish bank saw its net profit tumble 63 percent as a result of asset depreciation and provisions taken against an increase in bad loans due to the economic fallout of the virus crisis.

“The economic recovery over the past year has brought with it a marked upturn in banking activity, mainly in the loan portfolio,” the bank explained, pointing to a reduction of the provisions put in place because of Covid.

In 2021, BBVA added a “record” 8.7 million new customers, largely due to the growth of its online activities. It now has 81.7 million customers worldwide.

The group’s net interest margins also rose 6.1 percent year-on-year to €14.7 billion, said the bank, which is undergoing a cost-cutting drive.

So far, it has axed 2,935 jobs and closed down 480 branches as the banking sector undergoes increasing digitalisation and fewer and fewer transactions are carried out over the counter.

At the end of 2020, BBVA sold its US unit to PNC Financial Services for nearly 10 billion euros and decided to reinvest some of the funds in the Turkish market.

In November, it launched a bid to take full control of its Turkish lending subsidiary Garanti, offering €2.25 billion ($2.6 billion) to buy the 50.15 percent stake it does not yet own.

The deal should be finalised in the first quarter of 2022.