Jun 24, 2015

Doing my teeth abroad with Dental World Manila (Philippines)

*Sponsored review* 

Mabuhay!! Warm greetings from the even warmer Philippines! I think this must be the first time I’m blogging while on a trip, helps that I lugged my super bulky laptop along this time. For those of you who have been following TCC’s facebook/Twitter page, you’d have known that I’ve been trying to find a good dentist in Manila for a while.

Photo credit: Carl Vinson Carlos

I was asking for Dentist recommendations because I obviously need a good one. A bit of back story to start this entry. One fine day roughly 3 years ago, a filling from my teeth fell out and I started feeling this really uncomfortable toothache on my First Premolar tooth. I've never experienced toothache this searing and constant before and I was desperate to get it fixed. I went to the nearest clinic thinking it was going to be an easy ride. The dentist made me did some X-Rays and her final assessments to me was that the teeth's nerve had become affected and root canal is the only way to save the teeth other than plucking and replacing it entirely. She referred me to a specialist in a Hospital (which I cannot remember now) and advise I seek his professional advice and help. Desperate for another opinion, I went to another Dentist a friend recommended. The dentist assessed my teeth by passing mild electric current through them and came the problem teeth, I yelped like a helpless baby. Again, I was recommended to do a Root Canal treatment and I left the clinic dejected with my teeth still hurting.  

I eventually got it "fixed" by another dentist in Malaysia. I put the word "Fixed" in open inverted commas because He didn't actually solve the root of problem. The Dentist assessed that my teeth was just sensitive because the nerves are exposed. So he disinfected it and filled it up. The strange thing was that after the filling work was completed, the annoying pain still persisted. I found out afterwards, that the pain was caused by a piece of food stuck in between my teeth. Talk about gross -__-; 

And I say simply filling the tooth up was not a long term solution because when I bite hard and drink overly hot or cold drinks, I can still feel the teeth crying out to me.  To make my teeth condition worse, another filling of mine dropped out recently and I was left with a staggering hole in my Molar tooth. I went to the Polyclinic and a private dentist and they both recommended Root Canal Treatment. 

You must be wondering why didn't I just book an appointment with the Root Canal Specialist and solve the problem once and for all ? The reason is simple, Root canal treatments in Singapore are jaw droppingly expensive. According to the Ministry of Health's website, Root Canal treatment on a Molar tooth cost between $678 to $815 at a Public Institution. Private Dental Clinics charges somewhere between $400 to $1,605. And these numbers don't include things like consultation, X-Rays, investigations and Re-treatments. From what I've been hearing from Dentists and people around me, doing Root Canal in Singapore can possibly set you back at $2000 - $2500 each! 

That's like some people's salary for an entire month! Maybe even 2 months ! So it's not that I disagreed with the dentists or did not respect their professional advice. I simply couldn't afford the price tag! 

The only way for me to get my teeth treated, was to find a cheaper option. So the idea of getting treated in a place where I have the advantage of the currency came to mine. 

Manila was an easy decision for many reasons. Other than the fact that I have a Dad who often raves about doing dental in Philippines (he does it in the Rural provinces) and because I have amazing Filipino friends who makes me wants to go back in a heartbeat. 

It's also because Philippines has a higher percentage of English speaking people, relatively good quality of life in the cities, friendly people and beautiful natural scenery to explore. Not saying other South East Asia countries doesn't have those. It's just that getting around alone without knowledge of the language can be difficult and I would really like my dentist to explain my condition to me in a language I can comprehend. 

Oh dear, I hope I haven't bored you with my long back story. I just wanted to share my very real experience with all of you and let you know that I share your frustrations!

I found Dental World Manila online and was happy to that know they cater to foreign clients too! Having a professional website and an active Facebook page also helped to reaffirm the legitimacy of the clinic to me. 

I've had a couple of Filipino friends recommend their dentists to me but most of them didn't have any websites or SNS I could preview and ask questions. They also didn't have any emails so I didn't know how to contact them and clarify the doubts I have other than splurging on an international call. But making an expensive international call just to clarify doubts and ask for quotes or appointments doesn't make sense in our wired generations. Not to mention I might not even want to take them up after all the efforts. So when I found out I could contact Dental World Manila online through their form system, I was thrilled! 

Dental World Manila has kindly offered to sponsor my treatment but all opinions are mine and are in no way altered to represent a distorted truth. 

The clinic front in MOA

I landed in Manila early Monday morning and went for my appointment at 10:30am. Due to the massive jet lags and the sheer size of MOA, I ended up being late for my appointment but the staffs were all very nice about it and instead of reprimanding me, told me to take it easy and take a moment to relax myself. You don't know how afraid I was that the dentists and nurses would be like the nasty , pushy ones I had when I was a kid.

Dr Hazel was my dentist at the Mall of Asia Branch. She was a very cute and gentle woman who spoke softly and kindly. She can put anyone at ease instantly with her friendly smile and patient disposition. No picture of her face because she's too shy 8D!

I am amazed however, by how good she was at her job. It only took her 5 minutes to find 12 cavities and deduce that the molar teeth with a huge gap was actually a root canal job done previously! I swear I didn't even know because I've had that filling for as long as I can remember! And she did all that with just her naked eye and a Dental mirror. 

My personal information has been edited out from this xray for privacy reasons.

We then went on to doing 2 X-rays of my teeth for better clarity. We did a panoramic one of the entire teeth and then another one of my problematic Molar teeth. 

Dr Hazel was very patient and explained everything to me in easy to understand ways. She told me how some of my teeth had chipped off and how the fillings had gaps in-between that could potentially harm my teeth. She also discovered a decay that was happening inside a tooth that couldn't be seen from the outside. Like I mentioned above, I've had Xrays done by other dentists before and no one else spotted that.

Unlike some dentists who would rush through the explanation process, Dr Hazel took as much time as needed to ease my anxiety and to let me know the true condition of my teeth. 

I'm not sure about you, but I hate going to the Dentists. Childhood experiences with our school's dental team left only dizzy memories of spinning ceiling, non stop drilling sound and an un-explainable fear.

However the experience with Dr Hazel and her team at Mall of Asia was nothing like that. Sure, the drillings had to continue because reconstructions needed to be done. But I felt safe being worked on by Dr Hazel. I felt like if I was really scared or in pain, I could let her know without any fear of reprimand. Unlike some dentists who paralyzes you with their overwhelming presence, Dr Hazel was very patient and approachable. Halfway through the procedure, they even proactively applied a generous layer of lip balm (or vaseline) on my lips because they noticed how dry it was getting. Isn't that sweet of them? I think maybe only a female would understand the agony and embarrassment of dry cracked lips hahah.

If you only have fillings to be done then you'd be happy to hear that Dr Hazel managed to finish 5 fillings and started work on 1 Root Canal within 2.5 hours! The Xray and consultation took half an hour prior.

Despite the friendliness of the staff and Dr Hazel, I'm sure you'd understand when I say nobody enjoys being on that chair. I was so thankful Dr Hazel was able to work so swiftly! That definitely minimised the amount of anxiety needed to endure. 

Speaking of pain, I had anesthetic applied to the right side of my lower jaw and did not feel any overwhelming pain. I wouldn't say the entire treatment (as of current) is entirely painless but I think they are all in reasonable and acceptable quantity. Sometimes I hear the drillings and close my eye only to discover that it actually doesn't hurt at all! Some times it's all in the mind I guess. 

I was prescribed some Antibiotics and Pain relievers which I had to pick up at the Pharmacy myself for just a little over a 100 Peso. I simply handed the pharmacist these 2 prescription from Dr Hazel and got everything I needed. It's been a day since the treatment and I feel absolutely fine. No pain so far!

I even had an Ice cream this afternoon because I couldn't resist the temptation of a 55peso Magnum *_*

A photo posted by Kaika (@elpheal) on

If you are a Singaporean who like me, has 12 cavities to be filled up (I swear I brush and floss everyday!) , you will soon discover that the Polyclinic is not a place suitable for your condition. And mind you, this exact line is quoted from my dentist in NHG Polyclinic. Because according to my dentist, per patient is only allowed (or allocated time) to do 1 treatment per trip. However due to my severe condition, she rushed 2 fillings treatments out within 1 appointment. 

And we all know how difficult it is to make a dental appointment with the Polyclinics, much less a weekend slot. What this means for someone with a lot of cavities and little spare time is you might need almost an entire year to get everything fixed. This timeline factors in all the lapse in between appointments. 

Dental World Manila currently has 3 branches in Manila that are all situated in prime or easy to access locations. In fact, most of them are located in a landmark itself! 2 more branches will be opening soon in Centuria Medical Makati and SM North EDSA. What this means is easier access to a tourist like me! In a city that is foreign, big and haphazard to me, it helps so much when I can into a Cab and simply telling the driver "Mall of Asia" instead of trying to locate some obscure corners with our GPS (I did that while trying to find my Airbnb room). 

If you're interested in getting your teeth fixed in Manila, definitely check out Dental World Manila!  You can ask for quotes and query about procedures before deciding if you want to fly down to Manila or not. They have 

I will be going back to complete my treatment tomorrow. Look forward to a healthier set of teeth and another blog entry soon! 


Angel said...

Hello! I thought I'd check in to see if you're still happy with the work done after a year. I'm considering going the same thing and fly to Manila for teeth work. Thank you

Kaika ( aka Elpheal) said...

Hi angel ,

Overall my fillings done with dental world Manila are still good. Though my root canal teeth had some complications as the filling came off (I haven't done a crown yet) and complication arosed :/

If you are doing root canal, I suggest you complete the entire treatment before leaving the country.

All the best for your treatment !

Resonant Brain said...

I always recommend my Torrance dentist and his friendly staff to all my friends and family who are looking for a dentist. He is outstanding. He recently replaced two very old fillings for me.

Anonymous said...

Hi, how much did it cost you?