We have been caring for the international community in Singapore for over 25 years.
New to Singapore and looking for a Dentist?
When moving to a new country, it is normal to have a mixture of feelings.
You obviously feel excited at the thought of all the new experiences you will have. But you may also have concerns about some of the practical issues, such as finding yourself a good dentist.
You may require greater assistance in order to be able to understand the way the healthcare system works there.
This may be of particular concern for those living in Asia for the first time or for people with chronic dental problems, in the midst of an Orthodontic Treatment or for families with young children who want to inculcate good oral hygiene habits right from the get go. Also, people who are nervous about Dental visits and have left their trusted Dentist back home feel a lot more anxiety about visiting a new Dentist in a new country.
The good news is that Dental practice in Singapore is of a very high standard. It is generally modelled on the British system, and dentists who practice here have standard compulsory university degrees from highly recognized universities from across the globe. At Smilefocus, we have a lot of Dentists who have had their training in the United Kingdom, North America, Australia or New Zealand.
We have listed a few simple approaches to finding a dentist suited to your dental health needs, should you need one, far from home. A good dentist is the key to a good dental health.
It is best to be a part of a Dental clinic that can offer a wide variety of services from General Dentistry to Orthodontics, from Paediatric Dentistry to Oral Surgery. A clinic that can cater to your entire family’s need. In any place of residence to have a large variety of services under one roof is a bonus but specially in a new country, one should try and avoid the added pressure of having to run from specialist to specialist.
While there is nothing wrong with brand new dentists, you probably want to go to those who have had a long-standing experience in treating expats as they will understand your expectations better, based on their extensive experience in treating others from your home country. They may likely belong to the same country or have studied in a similar healthcare set up. Smilefocus has been around for more than 25 years serving the international community in Singapore with Dentists trained from around the world.
Location - Find a local Dentist
It’s better to choose a dental office which is close to your home, or one that is on your way to or back from work. Choosing a dentist who is conveniently located becomes very important for dental emergencies or when you finally commit to going for checkups and cleanings on a regular basis.
Also, before scheduling an appointment it is better to check the office hours.
Good oral care does not only imply professional training, but also the use of the best technology available. Nowadays, it is paramount that local dentists use the most state-of-the-art technology in preventive, restorative and cosmetic care, such as: digital X-rays, intraoral cameras, laser for gum therapy, Intra Oral Scan, Cosmetic Imagining, to name a few.
However, using state-of-the-art technology without understanding and evaluating your needs or concerns, or without providing complete personalized care, defeats the purpose of having the best technology available.
The advantage of scheduling an appointment, getting treatment done and walking out without having to pay or going through the hassle of chasing your insurance companies to submit your claims cannot be emphasized enough! So, if you have Dental coverage as part of your insurance scheme, then choose a dental clinic, that can do Direct Billing with your dental insurance providers. At Smilefocus, we are direct billing partners with top rated insurance companies like Cigna, Allianz to name a few amongst others.
Compatibility & Needs
Some dentists are specialists in treating patients who are fearful of dental procedures, whether it’s filling a cavity or performing a root canal. So, if you tend to be a nervous dental patient, ask your friends and colleagues to recommend a dentist that they like because he or she puts patients at ease. And ask a potential dentist whether he or she offers sedation dentistry, which involves treating you with a sedative via a pill, inhaled gas, or intravenous drug therapy prior to a dental procedure to help you relax.
Dentists good with Children
If you have children, you may want to look for a dentist who has extra training in pediatric dentistry, although most general dentists manage a family practice and can treat patients of all ages.
At Smilefocus, we have doctors who have received extensive training in pediatric dentistry but at the same time, almost all our doctors are comfortable in treating children of all ages because most of their patients usually request them to treat their entire family.
It may be worth asking other parents to help you find a child-friendly dentist, because positive experiences with dental care in early childhood can help encourage children to develop and follow consistent oral health care routines as they grow up.
In the modern world of the Internet, it is so easy to gather information and reviews on different professionals. If you have found a dentist that looks promising, make sure to check them out online and perform research before actually going in. See if they have been awarded or accredited for their expertise by other trustworthy organizations that understand the needs of an expat.
It cannot be stressed enough- the importance of having a friendly dentist and team. A kind and friendly atmosphere encourages you to keep up with your oral health. You want a dental office that treats patients as “honored guests”, not just patients, and does not see you as another number.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, they can. Foreign-trained dental graduates with dentistry degrees listed in the Schedule of the Dental Registration Act (DRA) available on the Singapore Dental Council website, can apply for conditional registration to practice in Singapore as long as they fulfill the requirement of securing employment with a local dental clinic or healthcare institution, subject to other requirements under the DRA.
Pricing for dental treatments across Singapore is generally predictable and transparent. Costs will vary according to whether you are going to a private clinic or a public one, seeing a general dental practitioner or a specialist, the type of procedure, its complexity, and your chosen dentist’s experience and training. All clinics start with an initial consultation fee, which is on average between SGD $40 and $65 for public clinics, and more like $90 – $160 for private specialist consultants. Costs for treatments can also vary according to the quality and associated cost of materials used.
Dental care in any country is not cheap, especially if you choose a private clinic and need ongoing specialist care, so it would be prudent to get some insurance to assist should you need it.
Generally, most expats’ health insurance doesn’t automatically cover dental care. It might cover you for emergency dental treatment for accidental damage caused (as might your travel insurance when an accident occurs on an overseas trip), but not much beyond that.
At the same time, dental insurance can be challenging to secure as a stand-alone policy in Singapore. The solution is to ‘upgrade’ your existing health insurance to include a fully comprehensive plan with dental care. It is generally straightforward to add dental benefits to your medical insurance; the majority share the same features—coverage for routine cleaning through to dental surgery and orthodontics.
Coverage limits up to SGD $8,000 / year. If you have insurance, it is worth checking with your dental clinic whether billing can be managed directly between your insurer and the clinic.
Please ensure that you have all the necessary dental and orthodontic records when you move from one country to another amid an active Dental Treatment. Most commonly, these will be Orthodontic treatments because they usually last longer. However, you can also request the dentist you choose here in Singapore to contact the Orthodontist where you started the treatment to get all your records transferred on your behalf. At Smilefocus, we are familiar and comfortable with the continuation of care started elsewhere.
Keep in mind what is most important for you when looking for a dentist. Is it the Dentist’s online reviews, their work experience, your budget, the proximity of the clinic to your office/residence, the Dentist’s qualification, all or a combination of any of these factors? We have helped you with some pointers above on how to go about looking for a Dentist in Singapore. But please remember the primary resources at your disposal are “word of mouth” recommendations from your friends, online search results & reviews and the list of preferred dental practitioners endorsed by your insurance providers. Either one or a combination of these will help you choose the right Dentist for yourself. All the best!