Guide to Dental Care in Singapore

Information on dentistry in Singapore: the dental services available, dental training and specialist training...

Singapore is considered as one of the world's top medical travel destinations; it was ranked the best healthcare system in Asia and the World Health Organization ranked Singapore as the sixth best in the world in its World Health Report 2000.

This reputation also extends to its dental care. The city's dental clinics, particularly, those in the Orchard Road shopping belt, have attracted dental tourists from neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia for several decades. Information available on the Internet, budget air travel and a greater awareness of medical tourism has led to increased interest from potential patients in Australia, USA, Canada, Bangladesh, Russia, and the UK in combining dental services with a vacation in Singapore.

Singapore Medical Council is a statutory board under the Ministry of Health. Singapore as a medical hub and world class provider of healthcare in Asia. Patients Beyond Borders: Singapore showcases healthcare providers and dental clinics serving international patients.

You will find information below on the specialised dental services available, the fees charged for dental services and the services offered.

Specialised Dental Services

As of 31 December 2006, there were 1,376 registered dentists in Singapore. Approximately 25 percent of dentists in Singapore have undergone some form of specialist training, but until recently, there was no formal method of assessing those who had the qualifications and expertise to be recognised as dental specialists.

After public consultation in 2004, the Singapore Ministry of Health established a Dental Specialists Register as of 1 January 2008 and set up the Dental Specialists Accreditation Board (DSAB) to administer the criteria for dental specialist registration. This move upgrades the overall level of dentistry in Singapore and also protects the public such that only dentists who are properly qualified can operate as specialists in a particular discipline.

There are currently six dental specialty areas recognised by the Dental Specialists Accreditation Board:

  • endodontics (root canal treatment)
  • oral and maxillofacial surgery (oral and jaw surgery)
  • paediatric dentistry (children's dentistry)
  • periodontics (gum treatment and surgery)
  • prosthodontics (teeth replacement)

Specialist dentists are those who have undergone additional academic and clinical training in a specific specialty area at an accredited dental institution, either locally or abroad. Some specialists also take additional professional examinations on completion of their specialty training (such as specialty board examinations) or apply for fellowships conferred by the relevant professional specialty body to achieve peer recognition for their area of specialisation.

Prospective patients, especially those who are considering major dental procedures such as dental implants, can find out about the qualifications of their dentist on the Singapore Dental Council website. This website lists information on the qualifications of the dentist, their area of specialty (if any), practice name and contact information.

A referral from a dental general practitioner is not necessary in Singapore, and patients may contact specialist clinics directly to arrange for an appointment.

Dental Fees

The fees for dental care at the government hospitals are available on the Ministry of Health website.

Note: the fees listed on the website are fees paid by private patients, defined as those who are referred by private doctors, have requested to see a specific dentist, or are self-referred. There are several exclusions from the fees listed on the Ministry of Health website, such as consultation fees, consumables and x-rays. This should be considered when checking on fees - ensure that the information gives a complete picture of the fees involved.

There is no fee guide where private dental clinics are concerned, but prices usually fall within a certain range, depending on various factors. It is important to clarify whether the fee quoted includes both the surgical procedure and other procedures, or whether they may form an additional cost.

For those who are Singaporeans or permanent residents of Singapore, Medisave may be used for certain surgical procedures such as wisdom tooth surgery and implant surgery. Medisave claims are only available at Medisave accredited dental clinics. The coverage ranges in price depending on the procedure and the complexity.

Dental Services

Common dental services provided by most dental clinics in Singapore include the following:

  • Routine scaling and polishing
  • Routine check-up and consultation
  • Fillings and extractions
  • Root canal treatment
  • Orthodontics (braces)
  • Dentures, crowns and bridges

Some clinics also provide cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening and veneers. Dental implants, although more of a functional procedure, have also been increasingly added to the cosmetic dentistry menu.

Several things that should be noted

Teeth whitening or bleaching, which is offered by many dentists as a chairside procedure is also currently offered by certain aesthetic salons that specialise in hair removal, slimming and tanning. The whitening procedures at these salons may be performed by individuals who have not received dental or medical training. Dentists counsel caution as a patients' existing dental condition may not be taken into consideration.

Dental implants are provided by both general dental practitioners and specialists. Patients are recommended to investigate the dentist's training and experience with implants as well as the success rate of the procedures performed by the clinic.

Information provided by Specialist Dental Group Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, 3 Mount Elizabeth, #08-03/08-08/08-10, Singapore 228510 Tel: (65) 6733 7883. www.specialistdentalgroup.com Copyright © 2009 Specialist Dental Group. All Rights Reserved