Is it compulsory for a dentist to inform the patient of the costs of a dental X-ray beforehand?
Is the dentist or dentist assistant obliged to let the patient know the cost of the X-rays they are taking? I am asking this because some dental X-rays in Singapore costs hundreds of dollars, and if the patient is not aware of the cost as they were not informed by the clinic (and cannot afford the costs after it is taken), I am unsure about what recourse the patient can take?
Thank you for your question.
To the best of my knowledge, it is not a legal requirement for the dentist or dental assistant to verbally inform patients of the fees of dental xrays before taking them. Dental clinics are required to display their schedule of fees at the registration counter or waiting area, and there is an indirect implication that patients should know the fees because they are transparently displayed .
HOWEVER, at my practice, myself and my team will ALWAYS inform our patients of the fees for dental xrays, or any dental treatment for that matter, before commencement of any treatment.
After our patients are informed of the fees and any alternatives, we commence with the xrays or treatment only after their permission has been granted. Our patients are either informed verbally or in written/typed format for their consideration.
We view this process as a matter of common courtesy, respect for patients autonomy of choice as well as informed consent which would reduce incidences of miscommunication often as a result of assumptions made by either party.
I cannot speak for other dental practices and their policies , but I would strongly advocate any practice to always go through this proper process of informed consent, as standard of care for any patient.
It is my hope that all dental and medical clinics practice with the same philosophy as what i have described above, instead of relying solely on the display of fees at the registration counter.
If you feel that you have been coerced to take dental xrays without first being informed of the fees , its benefits to you, the pros and cons of the treatment and any other alternatives, you may ask for a refund or seek recourse at the Singapore Dental Association for mediation.
I hope this answer helps you and i wish you best of luck in finding a dentist you can trust to be honest , transparent and reliable.
Dr Gerald Tan
It is not technically compulsory for the Dentist to inform the patient of X-ray prices. However to avoid misunderstandings or a shock when the bill comes, it would be a good idea as a patient to ask what the prices are before commencing any treatment.
Pricelists are also available at the reception counter of most dental clinics. I’m sure most dentists and dental staff are happy to assist you in clinics around Singapore though sometimes it may have to prompted because every clinic has a different practice.
Hope this helps.