Free dental treatment for pioneer generation
Scotts Road dental clinic gives pioneers a reason to smile
At Parkway Dental Practice, some 2,016 Pioneer Generation (PG) card holders have walked out of the Scotts Road clinic without paying a single cent.
Ms Valencia Khoo, 34, senior practice manager of Parkway Dental, told The New Paper: "Profit is not as important to us as giving back to society. A lot of older folks want to take care of their teeth but don't have the means. We want to help them.
"Money is not the issue, oral health is."
The private dental practice at Pacific Plaza has been giving out subsidised treatment to pioneers since November 2013.
While the Government subsidises 30 to 50 per cent of the fee, the bill can still be a struggle for low-income families or the elderly to foot.
At Parkway Dental Practice, seniors only have to flash their PG or blue Community Health Assist Scheme card to get free treatment.
About 59 patients benefit from this scheme each month. The top three treatments they require are dentures, fillings and cleaning.
This project is the brainchild of Ms Khoo and dental surgeon Michele Chia, 28.
They first started out giving talks at voluntary welfare organisations such as Yong-en Care Centre. In fact, Madam Weena Wong, 75, a retiree, learnt about the free dental treatment at a talk there.
She said in Mandarin: "I thought it was strange: How can a clinic in the Orchard area afford to give out free dental treatment?"
Madam Wong, who previously did not visit the dentist regularly due to the prohibitive cost, said she has been going for dental check-ups and fillings.
She said: "I decided to give it a try since it is free. It turned out to be pleasant experience."
FROM $300 TO FREE
She has seen the dentist six times over two years and had has about 10 fillings.
Each filling at Parkway Dental Practice costs between $90 and $180, and the PG scheme subsidises up to $53 per filling.
"A trip to the dentist usually sets me back by $300 to $400, which is very expensive. Now that everything is paid for, I have more money for groceries and to buy things for my grandchildren.
"The dentists here do a good job and are reassuring. I am no longer scared as I know that it won't be very painful," she added.
Miss Chia, the dentist in charge of Madam Wong, said: "I am more than pleased to do this for the elderly. They become much more confident, more willing to smile and go out. We feel proud and happy for them."
"Now that everything is paid for, I have more money for groceries and to buy things for my grandchildren."
- Madam Weena Wong, 75