Dental care in Korea is commonly of a high standard and very affordable with or without insurance. A typical cleaning and scaling costs about $60 (CAD) compared to $145 (CAD) back home in Toronto. The costs will be even cheaper if you are covered by the National Health Insurance Plan. I will guide you through my experience of successful dental treatments done in Korea.
Finding a Dental Clinic in Korea
As a ChungDahm teacher living in Korea, I started my search for a dentist by asking for referrals, however I couldn’t find one that suited my specific needs this way. My next step was to do some online searching of various dentists located in the Seoul area. I came across this website https://www.whatclinic.com/dentists/south-korea/seoul, it has a comprehensive list of 159 clinics that provide dentistry in Seoul. The website is very informative as it provides reviews and ratings, price ranges for treatments, pictures of the dentists, location and hours, and the ability to make an enquiry directly from the webpage.
Another useful way to gauge which dental clinic might be best for your dental needs is to read some reviews and recommendations from reddit. A couple of the links I will post below discuss English speaking dentists for foreigners and also the costs of dental work in Korea. This type of information can be useful when combined with other research.
Making Enquiries and a Final Selection
I like to do a reasonable amount of due diligence before making a selection. Therefore, I walked into one clinic, sent 5 email enquiries, and made 3 phone calls. The one clinic I dropped into, Sweet Corn Dental, was not an English speaking clinic, so it was a little bit of a challenge to communicate. I explained to them I had just finished my Invisalign treatment I started in Canada and was looking for bonded retainers to minimize the risk of relapse. I showed them pictures of what I wanted from my phone and they quoted me 300,000 (KRW) for both top and bottom, which works out to approximately $300 (CAD). This was a reasonable cost. However, when I asked them if they could cut out holes in my nighttime overcorrection retainers to fit over the bonded retainers they said they couldn’t do it. The clinic suggested I pay another 400,000 (KRW) for a new set of nighttime retainers, but that turned me off, and I continued my search elsewhere.
Next, I made several enquiries targeting English speaking dental clinics from the website mentioned above over email and phone to get a feel for how much the costs would be and how the dentists communicated to potential clients. Some of the quotes I received were much more expensive than anticipated. For example, HusHu Dental Clinic emailed a quote of 600,000 won for top and bottom bonded retainers and also suggested removable retainers for another 600,000 won coming to a total of 1.2 million won. Boston Dental Clinic quoted me 500,000 won and was suggesting add ons of paying extra for removable retainers that I was not looking for. This type of response made me continue to search as the price was significantly above the 300,000 won I was budgeted for and the suggestions for add ons increased the price.
I decided on Blanche Hyung Dental located in Seocho-gu, Seoul near Gangnam as Dr. Seo personally responded to me and quoted me 300,000 won for both top and bottom bonded retainers. He was also willing to cut out my night time retainers to fit over the fixed retainers for no extra charge. His response was in perfect English, so I knew he was responding and not the staff. I was confident I could communicate with him during my visits.
My Visits to Blanche Hyung Dental Clinic
My initial visit was to get an impression done of both my top and bottom arches, an imprint of the teeth and soft tissues so that the retainers could be custom fabricated. I met the staff and Dr. Seo with whom I was impressed by their professionalism and friendliness. I was happy with my choice for dental work. The impressions were sent off to the lab, and I was scheduled to come for my second visit a week later. At that time, I decided to get a cleaning and scaling before the bonded retainers were implemented during my next appointment for 60,000 won.
My subsequent visit was also very pleasant and comforting as the dental hygienist and dentist were very reassuring during the entire treatment. The dental hygienist did a thorough cleaning and scaling involving plaque removal and polishing to get my teeth clean for the bonded retainers. Dr. Seo followed by successfully attaching the fixed retainers to my top and bottom arches and explaining to avoid any hard foods or candies that could especially dislodge the top retainer. Next, he cut out the holes from my set of 4 Invisalign night time retainers to fit over the fixed retainers as promised. The entire visit and treatment was a success, and I was happy with how the bonded retainers were attached to my arches and how they will provide more assurance against relapse.
You can be confident that you will receive world-class dental treatment in Korea with the many great clinics available to choose from. As a ChungDahm teacher, I recommend you do your homework and research and ask your fellow teachers, friends, and contacts for referrals to trusted clinics in Korea. With all the great food and beverages in Korea, your teeth will thank you for taking good care of them.
Brian Lee began his second stint teaching in Korea for ChungDahm Learning in February 2018. He previously taught at the Main Mokdong branch back in 2013 and is currently placed at the Mokdong2 branch. He enjoyed his first time so much that he decided to come back for a second time in order to continue exploring and experiencing all that Korea has to offer. Brian is a native of Canada where he graduated from both the University of Toronto and York University.