Dental Care is an aspect of Health Care you should not be ignored. The shocking fact is that majority of the adult population (80-90%) in Hong Kong is prevalent to tooth decay and cavities. Commonly, these dental problems are left untreated. Children in Hong Kong struggle with oral health; most children are found to have gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), and in a Hong Kong Oral Health Survey, only 6% of 12 year olds had healthy gums (The Surgeon 153-157). How do you make sure you are financially covered for access to dental check-ups and other non-emergency dental services? It is best to be prepared and to know your options before you experience any dental issues!
Public Dental Care
We know that the public health care in Hong Kong provides great medical services (See our blog post on health care here). However, public health care provided by the HK government does not cover the costs of dental services, unless:
You are a primary school student or a civil servant
You require emergency dental services
Treatment includes extraction and medication however, patients who need to receive follow-up treatment must seek a private dentist
Here is a list of clinics that provide public dental services (limited to pain relief & extraction)
The Prince Philip Dental Hospital is a “Public Dental Care” option. This teaching hospital for Dental students from HKU accepts a small number of patients for treatment. Only patients with oral conditions that suit teaching needs are accepted. Enquiries can be made on their site.
Even with the benefits of emergency dental services provided, they are not in any way equivalent to financially supporting daily hygiene practices. It is important to know what the government offers generally cater towards individuals who experience “at the moment’, urgent and severe pain. That means – nothing to aid individuals looking for services for preventative measures. The Hong Kong Dental Association highly recommends to have dental cleaning/scaling done twice a year for optimal oral health.
How can adults, individuals excluded from the government benefits, make sure they receive dental checkups and services without hurting their wallet? The answer is a proper dental insurance coverage and knowing the prices in the dental market. Don’t worry, we are here to keep you well informed!
Private Dental Care
When the Public Dental Health Care does not offer the services for your dental needs, individuals in Hong Kong turn to Private Dental Care. The majority of the Hong Kong registered dentists work in private practices. Dentistry is a well-respected profession in Hong Kong; however, there is only one Hong Kong dental school, which graduates around 50 dentists annually (source). With few dental graduates in Hong Kong, many of the dentists practicing in Hong Kong have obtained qualifications from well-established institutions in English speaking countries like the US and UK.
The fees charged by private dentists are not standardized, which makes hunting for the right dental service a struggle. Since Dental Care in Hong Kong is mostly private, all its services (especially on a regular basis) are considered expensive and money draining to Hong Kong residents. This is when your Hong Kong health insurance can help ease financial worries!
Dental Insurance Coverage
Most medical insurance companies do not sell dental insurance by itself. Instead, dental insurance is generally added as an option benefit, once the core inpatient (emergencies and accidents requiring hospitalization) plan is purchased. These dental packages vary in price, depending on insurance company, and level of coverage. Coverage for dental insurance usually covers 2 categories of dental care: 1) Routine or Basic Dental, which covers scaling, polishing, fillings, simple extractions, screening, etc, and 2) Advanced or Major Dental, which covers full/partial dentures, crowns, dental implants, inlays, etc. It is common for dental plans to have a waiting period (i.e. 6 months, 12 months), which represents the amount of time since commencement of the dental plan which you are not able to utilize the dental benefits. This helps to prevent policyholders from buying dental insurance right when they know they need immediate dental attention.
Common Dental Service Pricing
Although prices are not standardized, we have compiled a list of common prices to look for. Keep in mind that the location of the clinic can easily fluctuate how much a dentist will charge.
Consultation and examination check-ups: HKD 500 to HKD 2,000
Fillings: HKD 300 to HKD 500
Teeth whitening: starting at HKD 500
Wisdom tooth extraction: starting at HKD 2,000
Tooth extraction: starting at HKD 1,000
Orthodontics (braces or Invisalign): starting at HKD 30,000
Dental hygiene is an investment in your future health and is crucial for preventing severe problems not only for your oral health, but also to help discover early stages of diseases. During regular dental checkups diseases like diabetes, leukemia, oral cancer, pancreatic cancer, heart disease and kidney disease may be detected. If you are interested in learning more about how you can get the proper dental coverage, our team at Groveland are more than happy to accommodate your dental insurance needs!
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