An Expat Guide: Visiting the Dentist in Taiwan

My lovely pearls.

When living in Honduras and Indonesia, I understandably saved a visit to the dentist for my occasional trips home. But with Taiwan recently being voted as having the world’s best health care system, there is no need for me to postpone.

My last visit to the dentist was exactly two weeks before moving to Taiwan, which was one year ago.  I really should have made an appointment for a cleaning and check up before now, but being in a new country with a new language is intimidating sometimes. However, seeing as my health card expires soon, and I’m about to leave for a one- month visit to the States, I decided now was a good time for an appointment.

In Taiwan, stores and services are grouped in the same areas of town. So if you want to buy a computer you go to the street with all the electronic shops. If you want to buy a car, you go to the area of town with all the car dealerships. If you want to buy furniture, you go to the street with all of the furniture. I have still yet to find out how this is good for business- wouldn’t it make sense to be one of the only tire shops in an area of the neighborhood? But anyway, I digress.

So where to find a dentist? I heard through the expat grapevine that there are a lot of dentist offices on Minghua Rd. So Dom and I rode our bikes down Minghua Rd and came across Peace Dental. Well, with a name like that, how could I not stop? We walked in, and within 5 minutes, we made appointments, as the receptionist spoke sufficient English to do so.

So how did the visit fare? The following Monday, I walked into the office and waited a full two minutes before being escorted into an x-ray room. It’s been years since I’ve had an x-ray, and I am one of those weirdos who opts out of the x-rays at the airport, so this was a big dilemma for me. I decided to do it, however, since it’s been so long since I have had my teeth x-rayed. Within five minutes the x-ray business was over, and as I walked out, my dentist was looking at my x-rays on his screen next to the patient chair. He turned to me and in an unexpected North Americanish accent said “Hello, how are you today?”. I was blown away and comforted at the same time. I can’t explain the feeling of peace it brings when a doctor can understand what you are saying. Well, come to think of it, maybe I can.

I proceeded to sit down, as he swiveled his fancy screen with the image of my teeth in front of my chair so we could discuss. No cavities I am proud to say, but I do have two old mercury fillings circa 1998, which I would like removed and replaced with the up-to-date non-mercury ones. He said no problem, but that we would have to do it the following week, as he only had enough time to clean my teeth. He did so in 20 minutes, and afterwards my teeth felt great.

During our appointment, I found out Dr. Joseph studied at New York University’s dental school. And for any of you expats living in Taiwan, he is absolutely wonderful, and I highly recommend him (I have enclosed his contact info at the bottom of this article).

After the cleaning and checkup, Dr. Joseph escorted me to the receptionist, and I flashed my newly cleaned pearly whites as she handed me an invoice for NT$100 (US$3). Now that is a bill I can handle.

As for the cons concerning the dentist in Taiwan? In the U.S., dentists numb your teeth before drilling. Here, they do not. So I have decided to hold off on the removal of my old fillings until I am back State side.

As I see it, the things have been in my mouth for 18 years, so what’s a couple more?

Peace Dental Clinic:

130 Minghua 1st Rd.

(07)556-9345

E-Mail: Peace_dc@yahoo.com

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Comments

  1. I take advantage of the great health plan here in Taiwan and go every three months for a cleaning. My dentist, like yours, studied in the States and he is awesome. When I got my wisdom tooth pulled, he put some sort of Oragel on the outside before ejecting the needle to numb the entire gum. Maybe you can consider asking your dentist because I have recommended my dentist to several friends who have told me they have received the same treatment when getting cavities drilled & filled.

  2. Wow. Great. Try getting the fillings redone. You might be surprised that it doesn’t hurt. You can always stop if it does hurt.

  3. GAH! Such a helpful post. I’ve been worried about going to the dentist here (apparently I’m prone to cavities and not just because I like ice cream..). It’s SO comforting to know that there are reliable ones here similar to ones in the States. Tools near my teeth is kind of scary and I’m thinking I’d like to stay in my comfort zone with this one.. Thanks for the guidance!

    Jillian
    http://www.roadtohereblog.com

    • Right on! I’m glad you found it useful. And also, welcome to Taiwan!I would love to grab a drink when I return from the States in March. Good luck on the job search. You should have no problems. Don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions. x

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