Why aren't dental subsidies given to schoolchildren?

PHOTO: Why aren't dental subsidies given to schoolchildren?

It is heartening to learn that the Ministry of Health is increasing the number of dentists to meet the dental needs of our ageing population.

It was reported that Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said the ministry will also improve how it supports dental training and research, and add more specialities recognised by the Singapore Dental Council.

Mr Gan gave the assurance that while the ministry raises the quality of dental care, charges will stay affordable.

For instance, under the expanded Primary Care Partnership Scheme, private general practitioners and dentists can provide eligible patients with common outpatient medical and dental treatment at subsidised charges.

The scheme, currently for Singaporeans aged 65 or older, will cover Singaporeans 40 years or older from early next year.

The list of dental treatments covered by the scheme has been expanded to include more simple tertiary dental procedures, such as crowns, bridges, dentures and root-canal treatment.

But what about the cost of dental treatments for schoolchildren?

The School Dental Service referred my daughter to one of the dental centres here, and I contacted the National University Hospital Dental Centre and Tan Tock Seng Hospital Dental Clinic.

I was shocked to learn that the centres do not offer government subsidies for treatments, even with a polyclinic or school referral.

Are we being short-sighted, providing subsidised rates for the elderly, while neglecting schoolchildren?

Dental problems worsen over time, if they are not fixed at an early age.

Mr Dave Yap (myp reader)

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