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89% of Singaporeans concerned about dental care costs, one third looking for alternative options

About 89% of Singaporeans concerned about the cost of dental care in the country. In an independent survey conducted by a Standing Committee appointed by the Singapore Dental Association (SDA) in August 2019, it was found that rising cost of living and dental care was a cause of concern for a majority of people.

Of the 1438 people surveyed, 76% said they were concerned about the rising cost of living while almost 89% said they were concerned about the cost of dental care. Of the 89%, one third says they would try seeking alternative routes for dental care such as crossing the border to Johor or even Bangkok if costs were to rise further. Some added that they might turn to public healthcare institutions.

Currently, about 71% of the respondents said they visit private dental practitioners while the other 29% visit public institutions, though they voiced concerns about long waiting periods.

Chairman of the SDA Standing Committee Dr Tang Kok Weng said in a statement, “We share the public concern about rising dental fees. We hope there are no external factors in the near future that may potentially increase the cost of delivery of dental care in Singapore.”

SDA also revealed that respondents who had seen a dentist in the past year didn’t have any complaints about their dentists, adding that their dentists are “competent”. Even so, about 17% of respondents have not seen a dentist in three years.

Dr Tang said, “The public survey gave us an opportunity to get a glimpse into the thoughts of Singaporeans and permanent residents. We are glad to find out that despite media reports on dentists recently, the survey reveals a very high confidence level in our dentists with regard to safety and competency in the delivery of dental care.”

Though specific incidents were not mentioned, several dentists were charged with various offences in recent years. In May 2018, a dentist admitted to making fake claims to the CPF. Earlier in 2017, a different dentist found to have failed to supervise two foreign-trained dentists under his charge and was fined S$50,000.