Best time to visit a dentist? Army!

They say for those gruelling 2 years, Army is your life and your rifle is your wife, but they forgot to mention that the Big men in Green will take care of almost ALL your physical health care needs, that includes your dental health. After all, every soldier with a bad toothache is not fighting fit!

During those 2 years serving the country, there are some benefits that, I’m guessing, majority of the NSF are not aware of are:

  1. Free basic dental treatment:
    NSF can request to go to any SAF dental centre their unit covers (e.g. Kranji Camp, Nee Soon Camp) for basic treatment. That is of course you’ve got time to wait, as appointments must be booked much in advanced; but it’s something NSF have lots of - Time.
  2. $70 free dental “voucher” per year!
    Another thing that if too many NSF knew about might actually blow the Military budget in 2009 is that alongside the 2 years, they are given $70 that can be claimed for dental treatment done outside. Hey if someone from my S1 side told me about it, it’d be $140 richer when I came out. You can claim half of the dental fees up to a max of $70; It works like this:
    Say your bill is $140 x 50% = you can claim $70 back.
    Or if you go for 2 visits to the dentist 1st at $100 x 50% = can claim $50 and 2nd at $60 x 50% = 30. Due to annual cap of $70: $70-50 = $20 (claim the remainder)
  3. Free wisdom tooth surgery
    If you visit the Medical Centre for a wisdom teeth check, they would probably refer you to an Army Dental Centre where the Dental Officer (DO) who checks your condition to diagnose if you’ve got impacted wisdom teeth. If so, you can either have him do the surgery or he’ll refer you to a government linked hospital. In some cases, he might even ask you which hospital you’d prefer:
    Government linked hospitals are:
    1. NDC (National Dental Centre)
    2. AH (Alexandra Hospital)
  4. Referral by polyclinic or dental polyclinic to NDC or AH
    During registration, remember to waive the magical green 11b trump card at the staff and your surgical bills would magically disappear. Some paid for their medication and admin fees while others didn’t have to pay anything at all. Some that went to AH had to pay for their extractions of the upper tooth, around $30, while others didn’t have to pay a single cent. Though this is still a mystery to me, I hope you readers can shed some light on this matter.
    Now Imagine, you’re out of National Service, you get a referral from a polyclinic to NDC to removed all 4 wisdom teeth under General Anaesthsia (sleep), that’ll set you back around $2200 - $1800 or around $1000 under local anesthesia.
  5. Off and MC due to medical conditions
    For example, if your dental officer refers you to NDC, you’d get:
    1. ½ day off for the dental appointment
    2. MC 1 - 2 days if you extract upper wisdom tooth=1-2days and MC 5-7days if you take out the lower wisdom tooth. I don’t condone but I do know of people who space it out due to the “fear” and “ability to eat with one side” reasons. Giving you almost 2 weeks of MC. One of the best times to use this is just before you ORD, that is of course you’ve complete ALL your outstanding work.

Too good to be true? What’s the catch?

You’ll need to seek permission from your superiors to give you off to actually see a dental officer and also seek approval if you are doing the operation outside as you can be charged for malingering if you suddenly have a bad set of toothaches caused specifically by your 4 wisdom teeth especially nearing your outfield training.

Other than that, remember to bring your green card when you visit the hospitals as that is the only ticket to enjoy all the benefits that MINDEF has to offer the hardworking and resilient soldier…

Training to be soldiers, to fight for our land….”

*UPDATE* 7 March 2009
Recently, I’ve been hearing on Power 98 (98.0 FM, a SAF owned radio station) a certain “advertisement” about taking care of your teeth. Though the entire script sounds quite overtly dramatic, it helps bring across the point that ‘Prevention is better than treatment’. I’m glad that the SAF is promoting better dental awareness rather than leaving it in CAMOUFLAGE.

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4 Responses to “Best time to visit a dentist? Army!”

  • And I wonder why they never told us about this…

    Good to know for new recruits and those that are just about to ORD.

  • I heard the health messages on Power 98 too! Maybe it’s because of this post. Hmmm..

    Anymore lobang you got?

  • hi, i’m alittle curious, do you happen to know if SAF will refer me to NDC or something to do bracers + jaw surgery? and how is the cost like? and how am i gonna report it? currently i’m in sungei gendong camp.

    thankyou. please help.

  • Sorry to ‘give everyone a cold water bath’ but i personally DO NOT recommend them as i had a really bad experience with dentists in two different camps.

    During my BMT, I had a wisdom tooth on the bottom left side that grew diagonally, as it was pushing against my last molar, it caused great pain. So bad that icould not sleep at night and had to punch myself on the face to numb the pain. I remember visiting the dentist in Tekong and was told that it is better for me to find a dentist outside as they did not have any slots to schedule me for the removal.

    But the cost was too high for me when i checked outside and decided that i wanted to have it done in camp. From there on, the dentist kept on saying that since i was a few weeks from POP, i should wait til i get to my new unit. ZZZ…

    So, being a obedient and poor soldier, i waited and realised that my new camp, the old PROVOST Camp at Clementi, had no dental clinic!!! And i was there for a month!!! (in between i went to dental clinics to check out prices and get pain killers to save my sanity)

    Finally, i went to an airbase in the west. And over there, the dentist did get rid of the wisdom tooth but in the process broke my molar and did no repairs for it!! And there was no sorry either. Just a sentence that went something like ‘Oh, your molar is broken too.’ I only had a day or two mc (can’t remember)and was back on duty with lots of pain killers.

    Thanks to SAF dentists, i now have half a molar buried under my gums. So, i have had enough of dentists from the SAF.

    PS: if you dont believe me, i can take a picture and show you thru email.

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