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Keep smiling with Hanoi’s leading dental clinic

For the best part of a decade Serenity International Dental Clinic has been giving peace of mind when it comes to dental care in Vietnam

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Expats in Vietnam soon find themselves falling in love with the country. Within months of arrival it is not uncommon to hear the refrain, “I never want to leave.” Whether it is the tropical weather, the warmth of the people, or the amazing food, it is easy to see why people want to stay. But the excitement of exploring a new country means important things you would never forget back home often get overlooked. The rush to settle into a new a job, make new friends and (hopefully) learn the language means looking after your health, getting medical insurance or simply finding a good dentist can all-too-easily easily be brushed over. People leave things until they are too late, worry about the language barrier or assume finding top quality medical care will be difficult in a ‘developing’ country.

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It took Canadian Efi Smits almost a year to even go for a simple check up at the dentist when he arrived in Hanoi. “I actually have always been a bit afraid of going to the doctor or getting my teeth checked. I get super nervous and I had tons to do here when I arrived. Honestly, I was a bit worried if I could even find the right dentists here. I am a bit picky. It seems silly now as the level of care and detail I received in Hanoi dentist was above anything I had received at home in Canada, and so much cheaper too.”

Smits recently had work done at Serenity International Dental Clinic at their flagship space in a quiet street in Truc Bach in downtown Hanoi. Over several sessions he had check-up, X-rays, several fillings a new crown and a polish, and ended up paying just 30% of what it would have costed at home.

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Reception at the Hanoi clinic

“I went in for a check-up and the next day I received a pdf with a full quotation of what I had, what was urgent, such as cavities, and what was optional. On page 2 I had all of the photos and X-rays. I can’t remember getting so much detail anywhere else. There was no pressure to do any work, just an outline of what I needed to do.”

Serenity

Serenity was founded by Dr Emily Nguyen and her brother-in-law Albert Nguyen almost nine years ago. They now have three clinics, one each in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, and have built a reputation as one of the leading dental providers in Vietnam.

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Founder and head dentist Dr Emily

With shoulder length hair and, naturally, a warm smile, Dr Emily sits down with Chào to talk about dental care in Vietnam and her obvious obsession with high-standards. We ask her how she spends her free time, but she keeps bringing the conversation back to dental standards and their importance.

“Some dentists too quickly recommend extractions, but we always think about keeping teeth. For us, there is a focus on always trying to save what nature has given.”

“I love people, and my dad is a doctor not a dentist. so I guess that is why I became dentist. I guess he wanted me to be a doctor, but we spoke and discussed dentistry, and I said why not? Many years ago, there was not much focus on quality in treatment in Vietnam. People didn’t take care of their teeth, but now people care a lot more. It is still not 100 percent, but very different to before,” she says.

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A patient has a consultation

“Before Albert and I started Serenity, I had been a practicing for almost 10 years but I wasn’t happy with the quality of the dentistry here. Some surgeries were not using fully qualified dentists even, and I didn’t like that at all. I tried to get changes at the surgery I worked at but things didn’t change at the speed I wanted. When it is not your practice, there is not much you can do. I guess I must have nagged Albert a lot about because we soon set up Serenity together, and we have a built a reputation we are proud of. But of course we want to do better.”

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High Standards

Albert had studied abroad and tried a few different jobs before he decided to help Dr. Emily set-up Serenity. He helps make sure she has everything she needs, such as the very newest equipment and takes care of the business side, so that Dr. Emily can focus on patient care. Nevertheless, he plays down his role.

“We had a humble start. Emily is my brother’s wife. At that time, I had graduated in Singapore and returned to Vietnam, I worked for a few different companies and hadn’t really found what I wanted to do. I remember speaking with Emily, and she was always telling me she was unhappy with the way certain things were at her practice but she didn’t have the authority to change things as she was just an employee. She wanted to make improvements, and wanted good people and good standards for people,” he says.

“They are the best in Hanoi, at least as far as I know. They were recommended by a friend and I know I tell all my friends about them,” he says. “They take hygiene super seriously and are able to re-juggle appointments at your convenience.”

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Serenity take high-standards seriously

“I remember she wanted infection control machines but her employers would not invest. These are the sort of things that the patient might not notice, so some people think ‘why bother spending the money?’ You need to invest 200 million dong for that, so some cut corners. But Emily knew it was important, and could not ignore it. She had enough at that point and was already thinking ‘If I can’t change things here, then I will do it myself, and do everything I can for my patients.”

Patient-First Philosophy

Convenience and patient-focused care is one of the factors that makes Serenity stand-out from the pack as a dental surgery, and 70% of their customers come from abroad, mainly from Australia, Canada, America, and the UK. In fact, before the coronavirus pandemic arrived on Vietnam’s shores, about half of their patients were people who had flown in from abroad, effectively having dental work and a holiday in Vietnam at the same time.

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Cleaning time

“We always have had a patient first-philosophy. Sure, what needs to be done needs to be done, but there is a proper way of going about things,” Albert says. “If you only have a hammer in your hands then you see every problem as a nail. This is not the right approach. It is about doing the least harm to teeth as possible. Some dentists too quickly recommend extractions, but we always think about keeping teeth. For us, there is a focus on always trying to save what nature has given.”

Cost can often be a big fear when arranging dental appointments with patients worried about being saddled with vast bills they cannot afford. Accordingly, this year Serenity set up an annual Dental-Saving Membership Plan, which enables patients to have unlimited check-ups and X-rays as well as two cleanings per year across any of their clinics at just 49 U.S. dollars for a year. It’s cost-effective way to ensure your teeth are in excellent condition.

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Frank McQueen, an IT consultant from Ireland based in Hanoi, has visited Serenity several times over the past six months to resolve some longstanding dental problems. “They are the best in Hanoi. At least as far as I know. They were recommended by a friend and I know I tell all my friends about them,” he says. “They take hygiene super seriously, and are able to re-juggle appointments at your convenience, which is great if you are busy. From stepping through the door to going into surgery, they are friendly and helpful, and I would not consider going anywhere else.”

It is this professional, detailed patient-first approach to dental care that is making Serenity International one of the leading choices in Vietnam. Ensuring the patient is listened to and cared for is everything here.

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Dr Emily at her dental practice in Hanoi

“I like to see the result of the treatment, especially with difficult cases,” Dr. Emily says. “Happy smiles! Some of our patients cry after they see the results. Sometimes for years, people avoid the dentist, maybe for financial reasons or because they are scared or didn’t have enough time. But then they come here and get treated they and can smile again. That makes me really happy.”

Serenity International Dental Clinic
16 Chau Long Street, Ba Dinh Hanoi
(+84) 247 308 8848
Monday–Saturday 8 a.m.-noon/ 2 p.m-8.p.m.

Ho Chi Minh City
214/B7 Nguyen Trai Street, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1

(+84) 247 308 8848
Monday–Saturday 8 a.m.-noon/ 2 p.m-8.p.m.

Danang
113 Duong Dinh Nghe Street, An Hai Bac, Son Tra

(+84) 247 308 8848
Monday–Saturday 8 a.m.-noon/ 2 p.m-8.p.m.

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