Visiting a dentist can be an unpleasant experience. Besides lack of time and a fear of pain and discomfort, 89% cited cost as a concern. This could be why 17% of Singaporeans have not visited their dentists for the past three years even though it has been drilled into us that we should go for dental check-ups at least twice yearly.
Ironically, regular visits to dentists can keep dental costs low. Complex dental procedures like implants and dental crowns can cost upwards of thousands of dollars, but regular dental visits can prevent or reverse oral problems early, reducing pain, discomfort and cost of treatment. Most importantly, maintaining good oral hygiene is key for overall health and quality of life, and is an often-overlooked aspect of diabetes care.
Read on to learn more about the common types of dental procedures and their costs, clinics that offer affordable dental services, and the dental subsidies available in Singapore.
Cost of dental care in Singapore
Before any dental procedures can be performed, your dentist will first examine your oral health. The cost of consultation and dental examination is approximately $16 to $29 at public institutions and between $40 and $150 at private clinics.
After the dental examination, your dentist may recommend any of the following dental procedures if required:
Scaling & polishing
Scaling and polishing are commonly part of your routine dental check-up. Scaling removes the buildup of tartar and any stubborn remains on your teeth while polishing smoothens the surface of your teeth to protect them from plaque build-up and keep them bright and shiny.
Typically, scaling and polishing at public institutions cost approximately $46.90 to $89.50, while private clinics start from $72 and may charge up to $214.60.
Dental filling may be used to repair tooth decay, cracked or broken teeth, and surfaces damaged by misuse (e.g. tooth grinding).
Depending on the type of filling, number of surfaces to be filled, size of cavity and various other factors, the cost of a dental filling procedure can range from $50 to $500.
There are various reasons for tooth discolouration. Teeth stains can result from smoking, poor dental hygiene, and/or frequent consumption of coffee, tea, cola or red wine. Thankfully, teeth whitening procedures can help to lighten the colour of your teeth.
While at-home teeth whitening kits are easily available online or from retail stores at affordable prices, they are not always safe to use without first undergoing a professional dental examination and diagnosis. Beauty clinics that offer teeth whitening services also carry higher risks as the therapists and beauticians are not medically trained. These options could also be less effective since the root cause of tooth discolouration has not been determined by a professional prior, and may even result in the development or worsening of oral problems.
While it costs between $778 and $1,300 to have your teeth whitening procedure done at a dental clinic, it is still the safest and most effective option.
As we grow older, we may start to lose our teeth. In fact, only 9% of Singaporeans aged 80 and above have at least 20 teeth left. Besides poor oral function, tooth loss can have a profound impact on a person’s overall health and quality of life as it affects our ability to speak and chew, as well as our nutritional intake.
The good news is, a good pair of dentures can alleviate the issues caused by tooth loss. However, they can be pricey. The cost of dentures ranges from $150 to $2,000 per arch. Public institutions usually charge between $521 to $676 per arch, while private clinics vary greatly from $400 to over $2,000. Merdeka Generation, Pioneer Generation, and CHAS Blue or Orange cardholders can make use of subsidies to offset some of the costs.
A veneer is a thin, tooth-coloured shell that is adhered to the front surface of a tooth to improve its appearance and replicate its natural look. Common materials used for a veneer are composite or porcelain. Porcelain veneers are more pricey but tend to be more durable and aesthetic.
Depending on the material, a veneer can range from $200 to $2,500 per tooth.
Wisdom tooth removal
Wisdom teeth are molars that typically appear at the back of the mouth between 16 and 25 years old. Most people will have up to four wisdom teeth, but it is also possible to have more or none at all.
Intervention may or may not be required depending on the way the wisdom tooth grows out. For some, the wisdom tooth erupts painlessly. For others, the tooth ends up growing sideways or doesn’t erupt fully, which can cause pain, inflammation, and tooth decay. These are called impacted wisdom teeth and will need to be extracted via surgery.
Depending on whether a simple or surgical extraction is required, the cost of wisdom tooth removal can vary from $200 to $2,200 per tooth, so it’s a good thing that this procedure is MediSave-claimable (up to 80%).
Root canal treatment
A root canal involves the removal of the pulp—the soft centre of a tooth containing the nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels that help a tooth grow. This procedure is usually required when the pulp becomes inflamed, infected, or injured due to severe decay, a chip or crack in the tooth, or tooth injury.
Root canal treatments vary in complexity depending on the affected tooth. Incisors and canines are simpler to treat, while molars tend to be more complex. As a result, the cost of root canal treatments varies greatly, from $270 to $1,600 per tooth.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over your tooth to protect, cover, and restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance. There are many reasons why people require dental crowns, including decay, injuries, or wear and tear.
At public institutions, a dental crown costs approximately $700 to $1,300, while private clinics may charge up to $3,000 per unit.
Made up of a screw, connector, and an implant tooth, dental implants are a permanent replacement for lost teeth. Compared to bridges and dentures, implants are generally more comfortable, durable, and convenient. The improved strength and fit also allows for better oral functions like speech and chewing. With proper care, implants can last a lifetime.
However, not everyone can get dental implants. An individual must have healthy gums and enough bones to hold the implant in place. Heavy smokers, those who have undergone radiation therapy to the head and neck area, and people with chronic conditions will have to be evaluated by their dentist on a case-by-case basis.
An all-inclusive dental implant costs anywhere between $1,200 to $15,000 and typically requires multiple visits to the dentist over several months, but is MediSave-claimable.
Braces are a common dental procedure that corrects misalignment such as under or overbites, tooth gaps, and incorrect jaw positions. Besides aesthetics, braces can make it easier to maintain oral health and improve overall quality of life.
Typically, it takes 18 to 24 months for the teeth to be properly aligned. Different types of braces are available depending on the issue you are looking to correct and aesthetic concerns. Common types include metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, self-ligating braces and clear aligners.
Braces range from $2,000 to $15,000. Metal braces are the most economical at $2,000 to $7,000, but those concerned about aesthetics may consider tooth-coloured ceramic braces or lingual braces which are attached to the back of the teeth rather than the front. Clear aligners are also available for those who only require minimal realignment but not bite correction.
10 best dental clinics in Singapore (that are affordable)
Different dental clinics may have different charges and expertise. Since cost is a concern for many Singaporeans, we have compiled a list of 10 affordable dental clinics in Singapore:
For those looking for a simple dental check-up and scaling and polishing services, polyclinics can do the job. SingHealth, National Healthcare Group (NHG) and National University Polyclinics (NUP) all provide dental services. Simply give them a call or make an appointment online, but do take note that the next available appointment may be in a few months’ time due to high demand.
- SingHealth Polyclinics: Bedok, Punggol and Tampines
- National Healthcare Group (NHG) Polyclinics: Ang Mo Kio, Geylang, Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Hougang
- National University Polyclinics (NUP): Jurong East and Queenstown
- Contact: 6643 6969 (SingHealth); 6355 3000 (NHG); 6663 6847 (NUP)
- Opening Hours: Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 1:00pm and 2:00pm to 4:30pm; Saturday from 8:00am to 12:30pm
2. NTUC Health Denticare
Previously known as Unity Denticare, NTUC Health Denticare has been offering a comprehensive suite of dental services at affordable rates since 1971. With 18 dental clinics and 2 mobile dental clinics, convenience is definitely not an issue.
- Central: Harbourfront, Tanjong Pagar, Raffles Place, Marine Parade, Orchard, Toa Payoh, Bishan and Thomson
- East: Bedok and Tampines
- West: Clementi, Jurong West and Choa Chu Kang
- North: Woodlands and Yishun
- North-East: Serangoon, Ang Mo Kio and Hougang
- Contact: 6336 6222 (for appointment booking)
- Opening Hours: Varies depending on the outlet
- Promotion: NTUC Plus! members can earn 1 LinkPoint for every $2 spent at NTUC Health Denticare clinics. T&Cs apply.
3. NUS Faculty of Dentistry
If you do not mind having dentistry students perform your dental procedures (under the supervision of qualified orthodontists), the NUS Faculty of Dentistry offers a comprehensive suite of dental services at a cost that’s lower than the market rate.
- Location: National University Centre for Oral Health, 9 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 119085
- Contact: 6772 4909/6772 6846 or [email protected]
- Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday from 8:00am to 12:30pm and 2:00pm to 5:00pm; Friday from 8:00am to 12:30pm
- Website: https://www.dentistry.nus.edu.sg/Clinic/clinical_services.html
4. Teeth Q Dental Surgeons
Teeth Q Dental Surgeons is a clinic that strives to provide cost-effective general and specialist dental treatment in a friendly and approachable environment.
Their services range from scaling & polishing, teeth whitening and dental braces, to wisdom teeth surgery, dental implants and Invisalign.
- Locations: Hougang (Hougang Green), Punggol, Sengkang, Kovan (Hougang Rivercourt), Geylang
- Contact: 6385 5745 (Hougang Green), 6538 2260 (Punggol), 6513 0611 (Sengkang), 6970 5715 (Kovan – Hougang Rivercourt), 6592 0733 (Geylang), 8522 5374 (WhatsApp)
- Opening Hours: 9:00am to 9:00pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 9:00am to 6:00pm on Wednesday and Saturday;
Geylang – 9:00am to 6:00pm (Mon to Sat);
Hougang Green – 9:00am to 6:00pm (Sunday)
Book an appointment
5. Advanced Dental Group
Since the first clinic was established in 1986, Advanced Dental Group has expanded to over 16 clinics islandwide. With consultation fees starting at $20 and scaling and polishing from $70, Advanced Dental Group is among the more affordable private dental clinics in Singapore. Credit card installment plans are also available.
- East: Bedok, Pasir Ris, Tampines East, Tampines North
- Northeast: Hougang, Punggol Northshore, Punggol Plaza, Punggol Waterway, Sengkang
- Central: Ang Mo Kio, Boon Keng (Century), Serangoon, Toa Payoh
- West: Bukit Batok (Thong Hoe), Bukit Panjang, Buona Vista, Jurong West
- Contact: 8684 1000
- Opening Hours: Varies depending on the outlet, but most clinics open from 9:00am to 9:00pm on Monday to Friday and 9:00am to 5:00pm on weekends
6. Greenlife Dental
With 8 clinics situated within the heartlands, Greenlife Dental is a convenient and affordable option when it comes to dental care. A routine check-up visit inclusive of consultation, scaling, and polishing costs approximately $90 to $190.
- Location: Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Eunos, Toa Payoh, Beach Road, Clementi, Tiong Bahru, Yew Tee
- Contact: 6452 4222 (AMK), 6241 0123 (Bedok), 6749 3400 (Eunos), 6250 0630 (Toa Payoh), 6299 3556 (Beach Road), 6777 1712 (Clementi), 6261 1161 (Tiong Bahru), 6765 5759 (Yew Tee)
- Opening Hours: Varies depending on the outlet
7. Azure Dental
Bringing a child to the dentist can be a difficult task, but Azure Dental is committed to making it a stress-free experience for both you and the little ones. Equipped with child-friendly facilities such as booster seats for the children, you can relax while sipping on free-flow coffee and tea in the waiting area, knowing that your child is in good hands.
- Location: 781 Bukit Timah Road Singapore 269759
- Contact: 6463 6318 or [email protected]
- Opening Hours: Monday and Thursday from 9am to 9pm; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9am to 5pm
8. B9 Dental Centre
B9 Dental Centre offers a full suite of dental services and has a total of 5 clinics across Singapore. For basic routine dental check-ups, consultation is free while scaling and polishing costs between $60 and $85, which is highly affordable for a private clinic.
- Location: Tanjong Pagar, Buona Vista, Clementi, Toa Payoh, and Woodlands
- Contact: 6251 8988
- Opening Hours: 9:00am to 9:00pm daily (except Public Holidays); 9:00am to 1:00pm on Public Holidays
9. Q&M Dental Group Singapore
Q&M Dental Group is the largest private dental healthcare group in Singapore with over 70 MediSave-accredited dental clinics islandwide. A basic consultation starts from $21.40 and scaling and polishing may cost anywhere between $74.90 and $100.
- Location: Full list of clinics available here
- Contact: Book an appointment online
- Opening Hours: Varies depending on the outlet
10. TS Dental Care
With only one clinic, TS Dental Care may not be the most convenient for everyone, but it definitely deserves a spot on this list with its transparent and affordable pricing—routine scaling and polishing ranges from $65 to $95 before subsidies.
- Location: 809 French Road 02-52 , Kitchener Complex, Singapore 200809
- Contact: 6298 4863/8577 7266(WhatsApp)
- Opening Hours: 9:30am to 8:30pm on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; 9:30am to 5:00pm on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday
Subsidies for dental procedures in Singapore
There are various subsidies available for Singaporeans to keep the cost of dental care affordable for all. Here are some ways to save on dental procedures.
CHAS, Pioneer or Merdeka Generation Cards
Singaporeans who are holding the following cards can enjoy subsidies for selected dental procedures:
Do take note that these subsidies may not be applicable to all clinics. Look out for the relevant decal on the clinic’s website or storefront to check if the subsidies apply to the clinic you are visiting.
CHAS Blue and Orange cardholders can refer to this list of CHAS dental clinics before heading down for treatment.
MediShield Life, a basic medical insurance that covers all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, unfortunately does not cover dental procedures unless it was sustained due to accidental injuries, even if you have upgraded it to an Integrated Shield Plan (IP).
While it is hard to find a dental-only insurance plan, there are health insurances with dental cover that you can consider. Some workplaces also offer dental benefits under their group insurance policy so you can reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
For certain dental procedures, MediSave can be used for co-payment. These are usually dental treatments that involve surgery and includes:
- Dental implants
- Wisdom tooth surgery
- Surgical removal of retained roots or fractured teeth
- Gum surgery
Do take note that for you to be able to use MediSave for co-payment, the clinic has to be MediSave-accredited. Check out this list of MediSave-accredited dental clinics before heading down to the clinic.
While having dental procedures done at public health institutions may be cheaper, many Singaporeans are concerned about the long wait times. This may be a consideration factor when deciding on your choice of dental clinic. However, the slew of dental subsidies available have made private clinics more accessible, so you shouldn’t rule them out altogether when looking for affordable dental clinics. Ultimately, you should find a clinic and dentist that you are comfortable with, hopefully with a good balance of cost, wait time, and convenience.
Visiting the dentist routinely can be daunting, but is important for both your health and wealth. We hope that this article has helped you find more ways to access affordable dental care.
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- Singapore Dental Association. (2019). Public Survey reveals the public has confidence in Dentists practising in Singapore. Retrieved from http://www.sda.org.sg/sda_content/pressrelease/SDA_Press_Release_11Sep2019.pdf
- Baker, J. (2021). HSA, dentists warn against popular DIY teeth whitening kit. Retrieved 27 December 2021, from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/hsa-dentists-warn-against-popular-diy-teeth-whitening-kit-995671
- National Dental Centre Singapore. (2021). Retaining at least 20 teeth at 80 years and beyond. Retrieved 27 December 2021, from https://www.singhealth.com.sg/rhs/news/regional-health-system/retaining-at-least-20-teeth-at-80-years-and-beyond
- Chiu, C., Malhotra, R., Tan, S., Lim, J., Chan, A., & Teoh, K. et al. (2016). Dental health status of community-dwelling older Singaporeans: findings from a nationally representative survey. Gerodontology, 34(1), 57-67. doi: 10.1111/ger.12218