You’ve waited too long. You were busy. You’re kicking yourself for not taking care of it sooner and now the throbbing pain in that back molar is not only sapping the joy out of eating but you’re starting to worry about infection or worse, losing a tooth. Although you’ve heard the horror stories, it seems it’s time to see the dreaded dentist – in China. To help you through this painful experience, here are a few things you need to know when choosing a dentist in Guangzhou.
Source: John Ragai
The first key is to recognize that dentistry standards will likely greatly differ from the West. Mom and pop dental offices abound with luring signs in English and posters of smiling Westerners. If you want a quick X-ray or cleaning, these will provide very cheap services, in both senses of the word. Fair warning: If you are in need of more complex work, hygiene practices in these shops are sometimes appalling. The quality of services performed can range from unsatisfactory to traumatic. In spite of China’s economic boom, the focus of several dental institutions is treatment rather than prevention. A quick survey among Chinese locals will confirm that regular check-ups and cleanings are not common even in upper middle-class families. You may be shocked to learn that many well-off 30-something-year-olds have never visited a dentist in their life. The common local choice is to visit a 省口腔医院 (kouqiang yiyuan) or Stomatology Hospital only once one can no longer bear the pain (stomatology is the science dealing with the mouth and its diseases).
But before you go, here are a few helpful phrases you might need:
wǒ yǒu我有… (I have)
yá tòng牙痛 (toothache)
yádòng 牙洞 (cavity)
wǒ yào我要… (I need)
báyá 拔牙 (extraction)
xǐyá 洗牙 (cleaning)
bǔyá 补牙 (filling)
yáchǐ měibái 牙齿美白 (teeth whitening)
gēn guǎn zhìliáo 根管治疗 (root canal treatment)
zhào piànzi照片子 (take X-ray)
hǎo tòng a! 好痛啊! (that hurts!)
In view of this, take time to consider your priorities and the consequences of potential complications. These can include additional costs and time, and the potential of contracting bacterial or viral diseases. The following covers a wide range of far more trusted dentist options for Guangzhou expats.
1) Go Local
Conveniently located on line 1 at Martyr’s Park metro station, the Guanghua School of Stomatology, University hospital associated with Sun Yat-Sen university offers a full range of services from cleanings, fillings and whitening to orthodontics. Call up ahead to make an appointment, preferably in Chinese or ask a friend who speaks Chinese to do it for you. For a dentist like this, it will be best to also take someone along to translate if you are not confident in Chinese yourself.
2) Expat Dentists
This option features European equipment and expat dentists who speak a wide variety of languages, as well as local Chinese dentists fluent in English. A great option for those whose insurance covers their dental, or if you are not comfortable going to the dentist at a local hospital. Call up ahead to make an appointment to avoid waiting for a long time.
Delun Dental (观前街) View In Map
Add: No. 418, floor 18 and 19 , Dongfeng Zhonglu, Huayitai Building, Yuexiu District (across from the Orthopedic Hospital), Guangzhou
Tel: 4006 235 225
3) Take a Trip to Clifford EstatesView In Map
The Clifford hospital located in Panyu is a one-stop shop for many expats living in the area. This pricey option offers a mix of traditional Chinese medicine and international practices. Again, great for those who have insurance that will cover their dental, or need more complex procedures done on their teeth.
Add: Clifford Hospital, 3 Hongfu Road, Panyu District, Guangzhou
Tel: 020 8471 8123
4) Take a Day-Trip to Hong Kong
Find exactly what you would expect in the West, including top of the line equipment, English service and Western-educated dentists. Hong Kong has a lot of options available, which are generally pricier, and where the staff will all speak English, some of whom will have been educated abroad too. A great option is Tam, Hulac & Partners.
Tam, Hulac & Partners
Add: 19 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 0852 2868 1775
5) Consider Dental Tourism in Malaysia
For long-haul procedures, consider turning a painful experience into a little break away in one of the top destinations for medical tourism with English speaking professionals at lower prices than the expensive expat practices in Guangzhou and Hong Kong. A range of options can be found at www.malaysiadentist.com. Daily direct flights from Guangzhou to Kuala Lampur are offered by AirAsia, China Southern and others.
Whatever option you choose, remember that your dental condition is considered by experts to reflect your general health condition. Regular oral care, such as brushing twice daily and flossing at least once daily before bed, is always cited as the best prevention method to avoid gum disease and tooth decay. These simple tips combined with regular check-ups can help to improve your quality of life while living abroad. Hopefully the next time around your visit to the dentist will be a pleasant one!
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Keywords: Oral Care for Expats Dentists in Guangzhou
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