How did your den­tist visit go?


Con­ve­nience, ser­vice and eas­ier ac­cess are draw­ing peo­ple to pri­vate den­tistry.

Mag­gie Shao, a 24-year-old work­ing in a PRa­gency in Beijing, just had her first teeth clean­ing at Chi Kang Den­tal Clinic.

“I booked their ser­vice on di­an­ as it’s within a 10-minute ride, much closer than any good pub­lic hos­pi­tals,” said Shao, who lives close to Tong Zhou district.

“The phone ap­point­ment saved me from regis­tra­tion and wait­ing.”

The Liu fam­ily spent 60,000 yuan ($9,000), al­most four months’ fam­ily in­come, on the or­thodon­tic treat­ment for their univer­sity-age son at the pri­vate Jin­song Den­tal Hospi­tal af­ter hav­ing con­sulted with a top­class den­tal depart­ment in the pub­lic Pek­ing Univer­sity Third Hospi­tal, which charges nearly 10,000 yuan less.

Carl Liu, the pa­tient, con­cluded: “PUTH is too far away from home and the doc­tors there al­ways look su­pe­rior to their pa­tients. Sowe­chose Jin­song for the con­ve­nience and friendly ser­vice.”

Pri­vate den­tal hos­pi­tals and clin­ics also pay more at­ten­tion to chil­dren.

Ji­amei Den­tal Group opened China’s first den­tal clinic tar­get­ing chil­dren only, in Beijing’s San­l­i­tun area in 2014. Four den­tists there are al­ways fully oc­cu­pied ev­ery week­end, re­ceiv­ing about 15 vis­its per day, ac­cord­ing to the man­ager.

“Den­tal treat­ments can eas­ily ter­rify chil­dren, pro­vok­ing re­sis­tance in them. Our nurses and den­tists are spe­cially trained to gen­tly com­mu­ni­cate with chil­dren and we have a play­room here just to ease their nerves,” he said.

Growth in pri­vate den­tal care for chil­dren re­sults par­tially from par­ents’ grow­ing aware­ness of their chil­dren’s den­tal health.

“Twelve years ago, when I just started work­ing, the hospi­tal of­ten en­cour­aged us to pro­mote our or­thodon­tic ser­vice in com­mu­ni­ties in Taiyuan,” said Zhang Liang, an or­tho­don­tist with the Sec­ond Hospi­tal of Shanxi Med­i­cal Univer­sity.

“Most par­ents back then tended to refuse us, as it is an ex­pen­sive and op­tional treat­ment not cov­ered by the ba­sic health in­sur­ance.”

Zhang now has par­ents come to him all the time.

An took her 10-year-old daugh­ter to Zhang months ago. Talk­ing about her choice of the pub­lic hospi­tal, she shared her con­cerns about pri­vate den­tists: “I hear many peo­ple around are tak­ing their chil­dren to the pri­vate places, but I’mstill not sure about the skills and tech­nol­ogy there, and they don’t give stan­dard prices ei­ther. So I didn’t even con­sider try­ing.”

Though grow­ing rapidly, pri­vate den­tistry faces a ma­jor trust is­sue.

Even as some­one who en­joyed a pri­vate den­tal clinic once, Mag­gie Shao didn’t give a firm “yes” when asked if she can en­tirely trust it.

money that the Liu fam­ily spent on the or­thodon­tic treat­ment for their son

Gao Songya con­trib­uted to this story.


Kids learn about den­tistry dur­ing a “chil­dren's day” at Malo Den­tal Clinic in Beijing.

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