30% rise in demand for basic dental services at polyclinics

SINGAPORE - In a written answer to a Parliamentary question, the Health Minister said today that polyclinics here have seen an approximate 30 per cent hike in the demand for basic dental services over the past two to three years.

Despite this, patients with polyclinics are typically able to schedule patients with dental emergencies such as severe pain, swelling and bleeding on the same day, and those requiring simple dental services such as dental fillings are seen within one and a half months.

As for routine services such as scaling and polishing, they are usually planned in advance and performed during the routine yearly dental check-ups, he said.

Mr Gan Kim Yong was responding to a question by Tampines Member of Parliament (MP) Mr Baey Yam Keng on whether the Health Ministry has measures in place to reduce waiting times for patients seeking dental services.

Mr Gan said Singapore polyclinics have implemented measures such as having a phone triaging system managed by trained personnel so that patients needing more urgent treatments receive priority.

He added that besides the polyclinics, Singaporeans can access subsidised services at 504 general practitioners and 272 private dental clinics through the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS).

Under CHAS, lower and middle income Singaporeans aged 40 and above can receive subsidised dental services such as crowns, bridges, dentures and root canal treatments at participating private dental clinics near their homes.

He said his ministry will continue to review the services in the primary care sector to ensure that Singaporeans from all walks of life, especially those who are less privileged and the elderly, will have access to good and affordable medical and dental care.

yamadak@sph.com.sg

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