High demand for dental services; priority for emergency cases

PHOTO: High demand for dental services; priority for emergency cases

SINGAPORE - We refer to Mr Lee Yong Se's letter ("Nine-month wait to see dentist"; June 23) concerning dental appointments for routine check-ups and cleaning.

Subsidised dental care is available at polyclinics. It is also available to Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) cardholders at more than 400 participating private dental clinics islandwide.

At SingHealth Polyclinics, dental clinics operate on an appointment system for routine non-urgent dental treatment.

The demand for dental services is generally high and appointment slots are usually fully booked months in advance. However, patients with emergencies such as bleeding, facial swelling, dental infections and trauma are prioritised and will be attended to within the same day.

We have introduced measures such as SMS reminders to allow patients to keep to their appointments or cancel/re-schedule them in advance, so their appointment slots can be given to others who need them more, should they be unable to make it.

At Chas clinics, referrals for subsidised care at specialist centres for the necessary treatments can be made.

With the removal of the Chas qualifying age from January, more Singaporeans are now able to receive subsidies for dental care at these clinics. From Sept 1, all pioneers will also benefit from special Chas subsidies at participating clinics. More information on Chas can be found at www.chas.sg

The well-being of our patients is of utmost importance to us. We will continue to work on improving the overall patient experience.

Ms Lim Bee Khim, Director, Corporate Communications, Ministry of Health

Dr Stephanie Neo, Dental Surgeon, SingHealth Polyclinics

This article was first published on July 02, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.