Why Johor dentists can expect even more Singapore patients than ever before

Published date12 September 2019
Publication titleMalay Mail Online

Nearly nine in 10 people in Singapore are worried about rising dental care costs, according to a survey commissioned by a committee appointed by the Singapore Dental Association (SDA).

And one-third of people in that category would try to seek alternatives, such as getting dental work done in Johor Baru or Bangkok, or at public health institutions here - though they were concerned at the long waiting time.

The survey was commissioned by the SDA's standing committee and was published yesterday. It sought the views of 1,438 people aged between 25 and 60, mostly Singaporeans, in August. The SDA is the professional body for dentists.

In a media statement on the survey, the SDA said that aside from seeking to understand the public's concerns on dental costs, it wanted to 'gauge the public confidence' of practising dentists in Singapore in relation to safety and performance.

The statement said it was concerned that a series of media articles on dentists being convicted in court, or by the Singapore Dental Council (SDC), the profession's self-regulatory body, might have put the 'dental profession as a whole in a bad light'.

It did not specify the cases, however in recent years, several dentists have been dealt with for various offences. In 2017, one dentist was fined S$50,000 (RM150,000) for failing to supervise two foreign-trained dentists under his charge. And in May last year, another dentist admitted making fake claims to the Central Provident Fund.

The statement noted that none of the respondents in its survey had filed a complaint against their dental practitioners, and that they felt their dentists are 'competent with their work'.

The survey also found that, of the respondents:

76 per cent of them were concerned about the rising cost of living in Singapore.

71 per cent visit private dental practitioners. The remaining 29 per cent visit public healthcare institutions, with some voicing concern about the long waiting periods.

17 per cent have not visited their dentists in the last three years.

Dr Tang Kok Weng, the chairman of the SDA standing committee, said: 'We are glad to find out that despite the 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.'

He added that the standing committee shares the public's concern about rising dental treatment fees.

'We hope that there are no external factors in the near future that may potentially increase the cost of...

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