I’ve been feeling some pain in my right jaw since last week, and I decided to visit National Dental Centre (NDC) in Outram to make an appointment with a dentist. The receptionists at the information told me that the charge for self-referred consultation was S$72.20 – S$93.60. So I withdrew from the NDC and went to see a doctor in nearby SingHealth polyclinic, just opposite the NDC. They charged me S$14.50 and gave me a referral letter so that I could make a referred appointment in NDC. Then I checked the NDC website and found that the charge for referred consultation is S$34. So, the total is S$48.50, which is significantly less than the charge for self-referred consultation. Nevertheless, of course you need to incorporate the time for going back-and-forth and so on, but I guess you can still do it conveniently by going to the SingHealth polyclinic in the Outram campus. The discrepancy might be due to the cost of treating “false-positive” cases, which don’t really need specialist treatments as these treatments require more expertise and hence are more costly, especially in a government healthcare institution which treats a significantly greater number of patients if compared to the private institutions. Not to mention that the government institutions are also supported by public taxes. Hence the incentive to check with a general practitioner first before you go to a dentist.