Visiting the dentist is — for me at least — an experience I limit to a biannual affair. It’s not my fault I dislike having my teeth scrutinised and prodded at.
Then there’s the shocker of the bill, which isn’t always claimable by MediSave.
A recent visit to a dental specialist drained me of a painful $395, no thanks to high consultation fees and three x-rays…
…but that’s a story for another day.
Thankfully, there are affordable alternatives for those on a budget.
Here’s everything you need to know about subsidies and treatment costs at dental clinics in Singapore.
General Dental Practitioners (GDP) Versus Specialists
You may not be aware of the differences between a GDP and a specialist.
While all dentists receive basic general dentistry training, specialists undergo an additional two to four years of postdoctoral training, with a focus in one of these fields:
- Endodontics (For root canal treatment)
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (For disorders of the mouth, jaws, face and neck)
- Orthodontics (For braces)
- Paedodontics (For child dentistry)
- Periodontics (For gum disease treatment)
- Prosthodontics (For crowns, bridges and dentures)
If you’re urgently looking to treat specific oral problems — and money is no object — then a specialist would likely be able to address and treat your needs better.
Of course, be prepared to spend far more than you would at a public dental clinic. Which brings us to the next question:
Should I Go To A Public Or Private Dental Clinic?
Public healthcare in Singapore means longer waiting times, but also heavier subsidies that could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
If you’re simply looking for basic dental services like polishing and scaling, an appointment to a dental polyclinic can easily be made under the National Healthcare Group.
But for more severe dental problems that may require the help of a specialist, you’ll first need to get a referral letter from a dental polyclinic, MINDEF or the School Dental Service.
This referral letter would then allow you to enjoy subsidised rates at public institutions. At the National Dental Centre Singapore, for example, expect first-time consultation fees of between $44 and $61.
Conversely, patients referred by a private dental practitioner would expect to bear an unsubsidised consultation fee of $90 to $160.
So there’s no way, really, to skip the dental polyclinic and go straight to booking an appointment with a specialist at a public institution — not unless you’re prepared to pay the full sum of your treatment.
A Breakdown Of Dental Treatment Costs
This table offers a look at the cost of popular dental procedures in Singapore, including which ones are covered by MediSave.
|Dental Treatment||To Note||Average Cost: |
|Average Cost: |
|Polishing and Scaling||-||$46.90 to $89.50||$72 to $214.60||No|
|Braces||Double arch, |
|$3,000 to $4,870||$4,066 to $10,700||No|
|Impacted/Wisdom Tooth Surgery||Per tooth||$600 to $825||$468 to $2,500||Yes (Up to 80%)|
|Dental Implants||Per implant||$1,377 to $1,974||$700 to $5,350||Yes (Up to $1,250 claimable per tooth)|
|Crowns||Per crown||$650 - $786||$650 to $2,760||No|
|Root Canal Treatment||Per tooth||$258 to $1,200||$400 to $1,380.30||Yes (Only for surgical treatments)|
Note: All figures are estimates only, and gathered based on checks with various dental clinics in Singapore. We’ve also factored in consultation fees into these prices, so you don’t have to do the math.
Other Subsidies To Know: CHAS Card
Singapore citizens are entitled to additional subsidies under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS), which covers selected dental treatments at these clinics.
If you’re a CHAS Green cardholder, you, unfortunately, won’t enjoy subsidies for dental services.
Psst: We last detailed all the changes to the new CHAS card here.
While seeing the dentist in Singapore can be a wholly uncomfortable experience, it’s really not worth scrimping on your money for a couple of years — only to have to spend an exorbitant amount later on, upon the discovery of multiple dental health problems.
If you’re on a tight budget, always let your GDP or specialist know beforehand. Better yet, check in with the dental clinic for estimated fees before booking an appointment.