Finding a China Dentist

Finding a China dentist isn’t particularly difficult – but finding one who does Western-style work requires a bit more research.

China is developing fast, with tourism booming and a high growth rate. As a result, private medical facilities are expanding so cheap dental care that is of high standard is becoming easier to find – but not as easy as in many other dental destinations.

If you’re looking for a China dentist who speaks English and uses Western procedures, you’ll probably have to look in Shanghai or Hong Kong – and to a lesser extent, Beijing. Anywhere else, prices may be cheap but quality will probably not be what you’re used to.

The Great Wall of China – walk it while you wait for your dental care to be finished

Check carefully when it comes to prices, though. A number of dentists in areas popular with expatriates have been known to charge high prices so be sure the agreement is clear before starting to get your work done.

This is what you can expect China dentists to charge:

in UK£
in US$
in € Euro
Porcelain crown
Laser whitening

For nearly half of the 20th century China was cut off from the rest of the world so dentistry evolved separately. The new open door policies have made dental exchanges far more common and Chinese dentists even go abroad to specialize. Inside the country, it takes five years after high school to become a dentist, with further specialization available afterwards.

A number of Western companies are also linking up with their Chinese Dental Implants counterparts for joint ventures so dental care in China can be expected to evolve quickly. While expatriates can easily find clinics that provide Western-style dental care in Shanghai or Beijing, finding a suitable dentist in China isn’t as easy or attractive as it is in other emerging countries, like Argentina or South Africa.

The one exception is finding a dentist in Hong Kong, where dental care has consistently remained up to Western standards – both in quality and in price. So if you’re in Hong Kong and need dental care, it may well be cheaper to hop a plane to go see a dentist in Thailand for a week!

A word of caution though: when in China ask for an anasthetic shot, because it isn’t automatic!

While dental tourism is still in its early stages in China, authorities and dentists alike have noticed the potential benefits. There’s every likelihood China will pick up this trend quickly and skillfully position itself as a top dental care provider.


Dental tourism in China

If you do decide to try a Chinese dentist – prices are low, after all, and you will find good care if you look for it – the country itself is worth the trip.

There’s so much you can do while you wait for your next appointment!

Bridge pavilion, Beijing Summer Palace – architecturally breathtaking

  • In Beijing, you can visit the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square (it is truly huge), the Summer Palace, Ming Tombs and Temple of Heaven
  • In Shanghai, don’t miss Yuyuan Gardens (dating to the Ming Dynasty), Su Zhou (the Venice of the East), the Bund (the colonial city center), and the Shanghai Museum (not to mention the city’s growing nightlife and culture, a truly exciting city)
  • In Hong Kong climb to Victoria Peak (by bus or tram), go shopping, haggle in one of the many markets, sample Dim Sum… and all this is just a beginning.
  • If your dental procedures allow it, sample one of China’s many cuisines – and learn to tell the difference between Cantonese, Mandarin, Szechuan, Hunan and Shanghai.
  • China is known for its festivals so try to coincide with one. Chinese New Year is the most famous (it changes by a few days each year) but there’s also the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, the Lantern Festival, the Mooncake Festival, May Day…