Work in Sweden 

A dentist from Strömsund answers the questions (he moved to Sweden in 2005, therefore prices and earnings mentioned in the text changed):


Why did you choose Sweden although you had to study a new language?

  • I always get the same salary no matter how many patients I see. In other countries you often work on a commission which depends on the number of patients and procedures performed.
  • Work takes 8 hours a day having 10-12 patients, while in other countries it may be even30 30.
  • Work comfort: Swedes care a lot about ergonomics of working conditions; I work in cooperation with a hygienist and a nurse. In other countries it may be different - sometimes you have to work on your own, especially in small cities.
  • Materials used in treatment. In Sweden You use only composites.
  • Swedish social insurance for family, including great children care, which no other country provides.
  • And language is not as bad as it seems – all of Medena course attendants can tell that. Having basis of other foreign language like English or German enables you to learn Swedish.

How many hours per week do you have to work?

It’s 40 hours a week. During that time you have 1 hour of so called ‘friskvård’, which is for physical activities. There are also two 15-minutes coffee breaks, called ‘fika’ during the day.


How much do you earn, what about remuneration for overtime? (current prices in brackets)

For the first 6 months standard gross salary was 26000 SEK (29-30 k), which gives about 18500 (20-21 k) SEK net. Then you earn about 35-37 000 (42 k) SEK. Then you are entitled to a child benefit (barnbidrag) – about 980 (1050) SEK and if your spouse or partner is unemployed you get so called ‘föräldrar penning’ – 180 SEK daily (depends on the individual situation).

Dentists don’t have duties so there are no extra hours to take. But if there’s a necessity to stay longer after working hours then it is counted in your working time and later you can take it back as a day off or extra money. Employer pays professional liability insurance. All materials, equipment, tools, even the eye - glasses if you need them for work are paid by the employer.


How many holidays have you got per year?

Number of free days depends on your age: < 39 years old - 25 days; 40 - 49 years old - 31 days; 50 years old > 32 days. And you can also take off the overtime - altogether about 7-10 days.


Nurses – how helpful are they?

Dentists work with a dental hygienist and a nurse. Hygienists are graduates and are highly qualified. Nurses usually carry out medical tests for children between 1- 4, they inform about brushing, diet, etc., which means they mostly take care of prophylaxis. Apart from that, altogether with hygienists they can: seal teeth, remove tartar, fill the cavities with material, administer anesthetics, do impressions for permanent and removable dentures, take X-ray pictures. They are always helpful. In Sweden this is called ‘delegering’, which means that a dentist assigns work to the personnel. They are just crazy about the teamwork and ergonomics.


How the introduction period does for a new doctor looks like?

In a clinic you have a mentor, who acquaint you to your workplace dental chair, computer system and the special software that contains patients’ database. Mentor also explains the difficult matters related with paperwork. It’s someone who is supposed to help you when you need that, not to control your professional qualifications. I’ve been just watching what others did on my first days. After some time you get your own patients, but firstly you do only examinations and simple fillings. Everything is planned to be easygoing and proceeded gradually.


What are the opportunities for development?

There is an access to new techniques and trainings. Every year (or every 6 moths) a catalogue is published which includes all trainings organized in Sweden. You can choose those that suit you and in consultation with the employer decide on details. Everything, including a trip and accommodation is sponsored by the employer. I had four trainings during one month since my arrival to Sweden.


Did the employer help you with covering the costs of moving to Sweden?

Employer helped financially with the cost of moving. You can be granted with so called ‘flyttbidrag’ (grant on removal). It is between 15 and 25 thousand SEK net. Besides I was given a lot of blinds, stools, lamps even a phone by my colleges.