SINGAPORE: Nearly nine in 10 people in Singapore are concerned about the cost of dental care in Singapore, according to the results of a survey released by the Singapore Dental Association (SDA) on Wednesday (Sep 11).

Of these, a third said they would try to seek “alternative routes” of getting dental care should there be further cost increases, such as going to Johor Bahru or Bangkok for treatment.

Some also said they may turn to public healthcare institutions, SDA added.

The survey, commissioned by an SDA committee last month, interviewed 1,438 members of the public aged between 25 and 60. Nearly all of the respondents were Singaporeans, except for 26 permanent residents.

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Most of them – 71 per cent – visited private dental practitioners. The 29 per cent who visited public healthcare institutions also voiced concern about long waiting periods.

Nearly a fifth of respondents – 17 per cent – had not visited their dentists for the past three years.

More generally, 76 per cent of respondents were also concerned about the rising cost of living in Singapore.

The survey was commissioned to study the public’s confidence in dentists and concerns about dental costs in Singapore, said SDA.

“The public study was also in response to a recent series of media articles on dentists who have been convicted by the court or disciplined by Singapore Dental Council, which might put the dental profession as a whole in bad light,” it added.

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All respondents who had visited a dentist at least once in the last year said their dentists were competent in their work.

None of these respondents had filed complaints against their dentist.

“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,” said chairman of the SDA standing committee Dr Tang Kok Weng. “We share the public concern about the rising dental treatment fees.”

SDA hopes there are no “external factors” that could increase the cost of dental care in Singapore, Dr Tang added.