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Healthcare in Singapore
Dentists in Singapore
If you are in need of dental care during your expat life in Singapore, there’s no need for concern. Local dentistry has a good reputation, and there is no shortage of dental clinics. Our guide to dentists in Singapore provides info on how to find one, available forms of dental care, and emergency cases.
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- You can choose between private clinics and polyclinics depending on your budget and insurance.
- You can also choose between general or specialized practices depending on your needs.
- Finding out-of-hours care can be a bit trickier as the A&E and out-of-hours practices will only treat true emergencies.
Just like general doctors, dentists in Singapore are plentiful, and most of them have good qualifications. There are around 2,000 registered dentists in Singapore that are well regarded by locals and expats alike; you will have many choices when you come to finding a regular or specialist dentist. To keep your smile attractive and healthy, you should have a dental check-up once, or even better, twice a year.
How to Choose a Dentist in Singapore
Polyclinics are a popular and affordable choice in the city-state. For serious cases and specialist care, staff at polyclinics and private general practices will refer patients to a government hospital or the National Dental Centre of Singapore (NDC). If you are referred to the NDC from a private practice, the fees will still have to be paid at the private rate.
If you don’t know of any other dentists in Singapore, the NDC is good for emergencies. You can phone the NDCS call center on +65 6324 8802 to make an appointment. The call center is only open on weekdays between 08:30 and 17:15/17:30 depending on the day. Please be aware that if you make an appointment at the NDC without referral, you will be registered as a private patient and will have to pay accordingly. As payment, cash, Visa and Mastercard credit cards, local checks, and online payments (NETS — Network for Electronic Transfers) are all accepted. However, waiting times at the NDC can be long since they have more than 600 dental patients every day.
Finding private dental clinics in Singapore is not very difficult, though. There are plenty at larger medical centers, in the Central Business District, in the touristy neighborhood of Orchard Road, and even in local shopping malls. One thing you definitely shouldn’t do, though, is go for aesthetic dental treatment at beauty parlors. These frequently offer teeth-whitening procedures that cannot replace oral hygiene and professional bleaching done by licensed dentists in Singapore.
The usual word-of-mouth recommendations also apply to dentists in Singapore: ask your insurance provider, your HR department, your colleagues, your new neighbors, or expat friends for advice. They can tell you if a dentist is friendly and relaxed, if he or she cares about your well-being more than about expensive treatments, if they are good with kids, etc.
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Basic vs. Specialist Dentistry in Singapore
Most dentists in Singapore provide basic services such as routine check-ups and dental hygiene, cavity fillings and tooth extractions, bridges, crowns, and dentures, as well as orthodontic braces. As implied above, dental aesthetics are very common, too. For complicated kinds of treatment, however, you should make sure to look for a specialist with additional qualifications in this area.
The Ministry of Health provides an internet search engine for dentists in Singapore, helping you to find general or specialist dentists in your area. The Ministry of Health also lists the dentist’s fees for selected major procedures online.
For example, a single-unit crown capping costs between 650 and 786 SGD at a public clinic and between 400 and 2,140 SGD at a private practice. Due to the wide range of fees in the private sector, you might want to “shop around” for a dentist and compare prices for major dental care. Always check with your insurance company beforehand which clinics and procedures they will cover.
Emergency Dental Care
In emergencies, you can go to the A&E section of any hospital. Please be aware, though, that public-sector clinics (like the NDC) only treat truly urgent or painful cases. For example, they will look after you at any time if you have a serious infection, a broken jaw, major bleeding in the mouth, etc. In any other case, they simply hand you painkillers and set up a follow-up appointment during regular office hours.
For 24/7 dental care in non-emergencies, you have to attend a private after-hours practice. If nearby regular dentists in Singapore do not provide this kind of service, ask them which walk-in clinic they would recommend.