- The Straits Times
Almost nine in 10 Singaporeans (89 per cent) are concerned about rising dental costs, and many would consider travelling overseas for treatment as an alternative, a survey has found.
Of the respondents who said that they were concerned about the cost of dental care, a third said that they would seek alternatives, such as heading to Johor Bahru or Bangkok for treatment.
Some respondents who visited private dental clinics and were concerned about dental costs also considered switching to public health institutions.
The independent public survey commissioned by the Singapore Dental Association (SDA) interviewed a total of 1,438 members of the public aged between 25 to 60 years old, of which 1,412 were Singaporeans and 26 were permanent residents (PR).
Out of those surveyed, 71 per cent said they visited private dental practitioners whilst 29 per cent sought treatment through public healthcare. Additionally, 17 per cent of the survey’s respondents said that they had not visited their dentists in three years.
According to the official SingHealth website, the charges for dental examination, diagnosis and review in a public polyclinic ranges from S$15.80 to S$27.00 for a Singaporean citizen. For a PR, the price range is around S$23.70 to S$41.90. In addition, charges per visit vary according to individual treatment.
In the statement, SDA said that the purpose of the survey was to study the level of confidence the public had in dentists. This was in response to a series of recent news articles on dentists convicted of offences, which might have put the dental profession in “a bad light”, it said.
On September 6, the Singapore Dental Council officially struck dentist Steven Ang Kiam Hau, who is in jail for defrauding the Central Provident Fund Board (CPF), off the Register. In June and July, three dentists were suspended in separate cases, while another dentist, Daniel Liew Yaoxiang, was jailed in May for his role in a Medisave scam.
All respondents who had visited a dentist at least once last year said their dentists were competent with their work. None of the respondents who visited a dentist over the last one year had filed any complaints against their dentists either.
“The public survey gave us an opportunity to get a glimpse into the thoughts of Singaporeans and permanent residents,” said Dr Tan Kok Weng, chairman of the SDA Standing Committee.
He added that the SDA “shares the public concern about the rising dental treatment fees,” and that they hope there are no “external factors” that might increase the cost of dental care in Singapore “in the near future”.
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