SINGAPORE - The country's chief dental officer (CDO), Associate Professor Patrick Tseng, 58, will step down from his position at the end of this month. He will be replaced by Dr Chng Chai Kiat, 42, who now heads Dental Services at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH).
During his 12-year tenure, Prof Tseng set up the Dental Specialist Accreditation Board in 2008 and also initiated the registration and regulation of dental therapists.
A statement from professional watchdog, the Singapore Dental Council (SDC), said that the registration of dental specialists "was necessary for the growth and development of specialist dental practice for the management of more complex dental cases".
Prof Tseng also made continuing professional education compulsory for dentists to ensure that they keep up with "the rapid changes made in scientific knowledge and dental practice, as well as developments in new materials, techniques and technologies", the SDC said.
Prof Tseng will return to full-time dental practice at the National University Hospital.
He will give up both his position as CDO at the Ministry of Health (MOH) as well as registrar of the council.
Dr Chng will take over both positions, which are linked, from May 1.
The council said: "Dr Chng is well regarded in the dental fraternity, with deep insights on the evolving dental landscape."
Dr Chng has been a consultant with the MOH since 2008. During this time, he pushed for subsidies for patients with cranofacial anomalies or special needs as well as for those getting hospital-based dentistry.
He has also been the executive secretary of the council since 2011 - a position he will now have to give up as he becomes its registrar. In that role, he oversaw the registration, regulations, ethics and conduct of all dentists and therapists, including investigating complaints made against them.
Dr Chng has also been working with the MOH Holdings to digitise patients' dental information for the National Electronic Health Records, which will provide people with one medical and dental record, no matter where they are treated in Singapore.
The council said Dr Chng's experience and leadership in KKH, coupled with a strong track record at SDC and the CDO’s office, "will provide a strong foundation to contribute well in his new role as CDO, and advance the dental profession both in Singapore and internationally",