6 Reasons Why You Should Not Choose A Cheap Dentist (2024)



If you have gone to a dentist or dental clinic recently, you might have tried looking for one based on the following factors: 


  • The cost of the treatment
  • Your familiarity with the dentist or dental clinic
  • The location or proximity of the dental clinic from your home or work place
  • The convenience of getting a same-day appointment
  • Recommendations from friends and family


You might also have called up a few dental clinics in your place of residence or work to find out how much the costs of your treatment is. Based on the information and depending on how urgent you need an appointment or whether it is an emergency dental case, you would have likely made a decision to choose a dentist based on the lowest cost. 


Choosing the cheapest dentist that is near you is a common decision for many patients. Being price conscious is a great way of saving money for a rainy day. It is reasonable to say that no one wants to pay top-dollar for something that can be obtained at a more affordable price.  


If you are like me and shop frequently on shopping marketplaces like Taobao, Shopee or Lazada, you would be familiar with selecting different products and comparing their prices to get the best deal. 


However, the lowest cost dental clinic might not be the best decision for your oral and dental health needs. 



Poorer quality and materials used


You might have heard of the adage: You get what you pay for. 


Dental services that are cheaper than usual might mean the use of cheaper and less sustainable materials. While most dental clinics in Singapore are reputable and maintain a high standard of care and quality, high-volume clinics that advertise lower-than-average costs might have offset the costs of treatment by using sub-par and thus, cheaper materials for treatment. 



Generic Teeth Whitening Brands vs. Zoom Teeth Whitening

Having your teeth whitened can be a thrilling experience. As dentists, we enjoy watching teeth transform from stained and discoloured teeth to sparkling white pearlies. 


If you have been looking for teeth whitening options, you would be amazed at the number of teeth whitening brands available at different price points. It can be tempting to choose the cheapest chairside whitening option. Not all chairside whitening options are the same. 


While this might not be true for all, most cheaper teeth whitening options might not take the following into consideration: 


  • Ensuring that teeth are strong and healthy before doing teeth whitening procedure
  • Checking for dental caries and exposed gums to prevent sensitivity during the teeth whitening procedure
  • Protecting gums to prevent gum inflammation
  • Using tested materials to prevent teeth and gum sensitivity
  • Using safe whitening options to enhance the teeth whitening process


Unlike other teeth whitening brands, Zoom teeth whitening is clinically proven to deliver results and is the trusted whitening brand for most reputable dental clinics. 


Besides being able to whiten teeth up to 8 shades lighter in 45 mins, it also repairs and prevents enamel from breaking down ensuring that your teeth are not weakened or damaged from the teeth whitening procedure. 


Book an appointment with our cosmetic dentist, Dr Thira Wong for Zoom teeth whitening.



Inexperienced dentists with higher risks of complications


Dental care is a service and not a product. 


Most dentists who are experienced charge a premium based on the level of expertise and skill they have for a particular treatment. While this might not mean that a cheaper alternative is less skilful, the cost is usually a good indication of the level of experience a dentist has. 



Mini Dental Implants vs. Dental Implants

Patients that are looking for permanent and long-term alternatives for teeth replacement options might think that they are getting a steal when getting mini dental implants instead of dental implants. 


As dental surgeons, we see many mini dental implant cases done on patients whose dental condition is not suitable for mini dental implants. While problems with their mini implants do not normally emerge immediately after treatment, it does cause them problems down the road. 


Some problems that they might experience because of poor treatment options recommended to them are: 


  • Loose and shaky teeth 
  • Teeth loss
  • Gum infections


Replace your teeth with an experienced dental surgeon, Dr Gerald Tan. 



Dental Veneers

Patients are often enticed by clinic-offered bulk discounts on their dental veneers or smile makeover treatments. These adverts promise quick smile makeovers that last. The reality is that many of these quick-fixes have the following problems: 


  • Poor material substitutions that do not last
  • Poor skills in placing dental veneers 
  • Over shaving of teeth that can lead to dental problems and sensitivity
  • Poor alignment of teeth and dental veneers that affect bite and jaw alignment 
  • Loose dental veneers that fall off 


An experienced dental veneers dentist will be able to correct your smile and enhance it with the right steps and craftsmanship. Dental veneers are not just a cosmetic dental procedure, but a delicate art form. 


Enhance your smile with Digital Smile Design with Dr Amanda Koh.



Limited treatment options 


Dental clinics that are known as budget dental options often offer treatment limited options that are one-size-fit-all. Although this might not be a big issue for most simple dental cases, it can become a problem when more complex cases require more precision, personalised treatment plans and support. 



Lower standard of care and aftercare support


The drawbacks of heading to a budget clinic can sometimes boil down to compromised care. Clinics that focus on a high-volume of patients a day simply do not have the time or bandwidth to pay attention to every single patient. This can result in a lower standard of care.  



Scaling and Polishing (SAP) vs. Guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT)

Patients who are looking for simple and fast teeth cleaning might be enticed by cheap Scaling and Polishing (SAP) treatments that are marketed as budget-friendly and efficient. 


Most patients assume that a quick SAP treatment means that they get to go back to their daily routine with cleaner teeth. However, fast SAP treatments can mean that plaque and tartar might not be removed entirely, especially when it has been more than 6 months since the last dental maintenance. This can lead to: 


  • Lingering stains on teeth 
  • Tartar build up on and in between teeth
  • Hardened plaque on and in between teeth
  • Dental caries developing


Guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT), on the other hand, while not the most cost-effective dental cleaning option on the market, is able to use high pressure, discomfort-free jet spray to remove hard to remove stains, tartar and plaqueall within a span of 30 minutes


Should you wish to obtain a faster and cleaner teeth cleaning option, book an appointment for Guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT) with our Oral Health Therapist (OHT), Gong Shiyun. 


Do you mean that I need really expensive teeth cleaning with a dentist?


The answer to that is no. Teeth cleaning does not have to be expensive. It does have to be thorough. 


Imagine yourself as a car owner who is looking to pay a visit to a car wash center. There are many options available at different price points. You could also wash your car at home, as you have always done but you have found it impossible to get rid of some stains and residue despite scrubbing away. 


To help you visualize this better, refer to the chart below: 


Car Wash Features Price Point
Car Wash ND
  • 15 mins car wash 
  • Sprays water on car 
  • 25% clean
  • Need to return in 3-4 months for the 2nd round of cleaning work
Car Wash NF
  • 15 mins car wash 
  • Sprays soap on car
  • 35% clean
  • Need to return in 4-5 months for 2nd round of cleaning work
Car Wash ED
  • 45 mins car wash 
  • Deep cleaning 
  • Interior and exterior dust removal
  • Applies a protective coating layer on car to prevent further damages
  • 98% clean
  • Return in 9-12 months for cleaning work


Which car wash appeals to you?


Which car wash makes the most sense to you?  


Heading to a dentist for dental cleaning can be the same. 


The thoroughness of cleaning can help you avoid potential costly dental treatments. 



Teeth Straightening and Aligners

Patients who are looking for teeth straightening options might be inundated with different aligner and braces brands. You might even be confused with teeth straightening alternatives. You might have an idea of what your ideal teeth straightening option should be. Many patients come to us for Invisalign or a particular clear aligner brand that they have seen online or heard positive reviews of. 


Teeth straightening requires a level of continuous care from your dentist. This can help reduce treatment time and prevent potential complications. This level of dedication should begin from the moment you walk in the dental clinic. 



Book an appointment with Dr Amanda Koh to straighten your teeth.



Limited sedation options for dental discomfort 


The fear of pain and the dentist can be a huge hindrance for many patients. While minor procedures like Scaling and Polishing (SAP), Guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT) or simple fillings do not require high levels of sedation, you might be interested to get IV sedation if you have the following: 


  • Dental anxiety 
  • General anxiety
  • Fear of pain 
  • Fear of loud sounds during dental procedure
  • Undergoing dental surgical procedures, such as dental implant surgery



Lack of costs transparency 


If you have heard the term “caveat emptor,” you would know that it is a Latin phrase that refers to letting the buyer beware. 



Dental Implants

In recent years, the promise of high profit margins from dental implant procedures have led to a mushrooming in dentists who focus on dental implant surgeries. The number of dentists who work on dental implants also means that competition for patients is high. To gain the mindshare of patients, many dental clinics advertise almost free dental implants that are subsidized by Medisave. 


However, what many patients do not know is that these low costs might have hidden costs and add-ons that are added on later in the treatment. 



Factors for deciding on a dentist


We highly recommend using your discretion to decide on a dentist based on the following questions: 



We hope that you have benefited from our article on the importance of choosing a dentist based on other factors, other than costs. 



The Author

Dr Gerald Tan is the founder and managing director of Elite Dental Group. He is a practicing dentist with more than 20 years of experience in dental implants. 

Dr. Gerald Tan