In conversation with Dr. Ramithaa Venugopal, Dentist at VN Smile Dental Clinic, Penang, we tried to understand the Dental Industry in Malaysia. We also discussed the effect of pandemic and the future going forward.
Q1. How would you like to describe the Dental Industry in Malaysia?
Malaysia has a large number of private clinics as well as Klinik Pergigian Yusmin (public dental clinics run by the Ministry of Health Malaysia). The market is quite fragmented due to the presence of a lot of public and private players, thereby increasing the competition in the dental market.
Q2. Can you tell us more about the Klinik Pergigian Yusmin (MOH)?
The Malaysian Government focuses a lot on providing primary healthcare services to the population, for which they have set up dental clinics across urban as well as rural areas. The services offered by these clinics are at highly subsidised prices and very good quality. Since a major chunk (approx. 50%) of the Malaysian population lies in the B40 income group, the footfall in these clinics is very high. These clinics do not charge from government employees and their immediate families.
Moreover, the Malaysian government has made it mandatory for every dental graduate to serve at these public clinics at least for 1 year. However, a lot of dentists prefer to work at these public clinics for more than one year due to better job stability, perks and allowances offered to them.
Q3. How much do you think is the price difference in the services provided at these public clinics and the private ones?
As I mentioned, there is a huge difference in the pricing. The aim of these public clinics is to provide oral healthcare to as many people as possible, which is why they are offered at subsided prices. For example, a typical scaling procedure at a public clinic costs 1-2 Ringgit, whereas in a private setup the same would cost around 80-100 Ringgit and if the orthodontic procedure costs around 100 Ringgit, whereas in a private setup these treatments start from 4000 Ringgit.
Q4. How many patients do you get in a day for an urban Klinik Pergigian Yusmin (MOH)?
We typically get around 100-120 patients in a day. These clinics usually operate from 8am-5 pm and have long patient queues for treatment.
Q5. How many patients do you get in a day for a rural Klinik Pergigian Yusmin (MOH)?
Roughly around 15-20 patients visit the rural public clinics, while clinics in remote areas receive around 5-8 patients in a day. Moreover, these clinics mostly have one dental chair and one dentist.
Q6. Can you give more insight on the dental care in public hospitals and how many patients do they get in a day?
The public hospitals mostly deal with trauma, Maxo facial, cancer and complicated extraction patients which are referred from these standalone public dental clinics. Because a lot of procedures require admission, takes time and needs to be dealt by specialists, they are majorly transferred to hospitals for treatments. Roughly 30-40 patients are treated at public hospitals in a day.
Q8. How many patients do private clinics get in a day?
Established Private clinics, which have been functional for many years and are quite popular among people get around 20-25 patients in a day whereas small private clinics get 8-10 patients in a day.
Q9. According to the ministry of health, there are 920 clinics functional at Schools across Malaysia. How do these clinics function?
The motive of these clinics is to spread awareness about oral health among children and to provide them with routine dental check-ups and other paediatric dental services. These schools have a dedicated room with a fixed or portable dental chair and every once or twice a year, a general dental officer visits them. Most common treatments offered by them is a routine dental check-up, fillings and cleaning. These clinics do not charge any money and are run free by the government.
Q11. Can you tell me the top cities providing dental services in Malaysia?
Kuala Lumpur and Selangor have the most number of dental clinics, followed by Johor, Penang and then Melaka.
Q10. What is the state of dental tourism in Malaysia?
In Malaysia roughly 4-5% patients are international. Although Johor being closest to Singapore, has become a hub for dental services for Singaporeans. The cost of dental treatment in Singapore is 4-5 times more than Malaysia and hence a lot of people come to Johar to seek treatment.
Q10. What do you think is the future outlook of the Malaysian Dental Industry?
The development of the Malaysia Dental Market will be driven by increasing demand for oral cleanliness services, innovative headway, maturing populace, and major focus of the MOH on oral wellbeing, increasing disposable income, and evolving ways of life. The industry showcases a huge potential for growth in the future.
For any queries or feedback, reach out to the author at Namit@kenresearch.com
Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications