From humble beginnings to a legacy in the making
Formerly known as Henry Lee Dental Surgery, our dental clinic was founded in 1979 by the late Dr Henry Lee, a well-respected oral surgeon in Singapore.
Specialist Dental Group® is an award-winning dental practice – our dental clinic was awarded the Singapore Service Class certification in 2016, Singapore HEALTH Bronze Award in 2014, “Best Healthcare Experience” at the Singapore Experience Awards 2012 and “Promising Brands” at the Singapore Prestige Brand Award 2011.
Read on below to find out more about how our dental clinic has evolved during the past 30+ years…
The establishment of the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
Back in the late 1970s, there were only two private hospitals in Singapore – Mount Alvernia Hospital and Gleneagles Hospital, both of which did not have sufficient operating theatres for the growing number of surgeons in private practice. Private medical specialists were scattered all over the neighbouring Tanglin/Orchard Road area, making coordination between different specialists and patients more challenging.
Study trips by a few pioneering doctors were made to come up with best practices for the model of a private hospital with a medical centre. The plan was to gather all the specialists in one place with a medical centre for outpatient care.
The Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre was opened along Orchard Road in 1979. Henry Lee Dental Surgery was the second clinic at the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre when it opened. With easy access to world class hotels, shopping, dining and transportation, it is no wonder that over 30 years later, the Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Medical Centre are still well-known as the place to go for private first class specialist healthcare in Singapore.
About Dr Henry Lee
Dr Henry Lee Thian-Lin was born in Malaysia and graduated with a Bachelor in Dental Surgery (BDS) from the University of Singapore (later known as the National University of Singapore) in 1967.
He then served as a lecturer at the Faculty of Dentistry of the National University of Singapore for several years. On being awarded a scholarship, he furthered his specialist training in oral surgery at the Eastman Dental Institute (University of London) and attained Fellowships from both the Royal Colleges of Glasgow and London.
After graduating in 1972, Dr Lee returned to Singapore where he continued to serve as a lecturer at his alma mater from 1972 to 1973. Later that year, he joined a private dental practice, Robertson, Choo, Oehlers, Lee & Lai, for four years. Thereafter, he moved on to work with Dr Ronald Sherman at his long established practice, “Sherman & Paterson”.
Henry Lee Dental Surgery
Dr Henry Lee was among the group of doctors/ specialists invited to purchase a unit at the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre. His capable wife, Jenny, helped to design the clinic and Henry Lee Dental Surgery opened its doors in December 1979 with one dentist, two nurses and three treatment rooms.
A dental laboratory was also opened at the same time, located around the corner of the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre at 8 Nutmeg Road with two dental technicians. Early blueprint of the clinic were done by hand because computers were not yet widely used.
In 1981, Henry Lee Dental Surgery moved to bigger premises on the fourth floor of Mt. Elizabeth Medical Centre (Unit #04-09 and #04-10). The clinic, by then, had grown to several dentists with training in different specialty areas of dentistry. The dental laboratory also moved to the 4th floor of the Medical Centre to improve efficiency.
In 1984, Dr Henry Lee travelled to the United States to attend lectures on Dental Implants and then organized two “hands-on cum live surgery” conferences at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital.
Dr Henry Lee was inducted as an “Active Member of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry” after passing their rigorous exams in 1986. Later that year, he conducted a “live surgery” that was filmed and screened to a full house of attendees comprising of local dentists and specialists.
The next generation
Dr Lee also inspired his two children, Helena and Joseph, who later went on to become dental specialists (a periodontist and prosthodontist respectively).
In 1993, Dr Helena Lee, daughter of Dr Henry Lee, graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery from the National University of Singapore. She went on to Eastman Dental Institute in London and was trained as a periodontist (gum specialist). She returned to Singapore after graduation in 1995 to join Henry Lee Dental Surgeon and has worked at the clinic ever since.
Dr Joseph Lee received his basic dental training in Adelaide, Australia and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. He was also a member of the Henry Lee Dental Surgery team from 1996. He completed his specialty training in prosthodontics and has a successful private practice, Beaufort Street Dental Centre, in Perth, Australia.
1995 was a year of consolidation – Dr Henry Lee decided that it would be best to run the clinic at its original location on the 8th floor of the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre rather than from the bigger fourth floor units. From 1996-1997, Dr Henry Lee practiced with his son, Dr Joseph Lee and daughter, Dr Helena Lee, until his passing in 1997.
Dr Helena Lee took over the running of the clinic from 1997 to 2004, when the management and operations of the clinic were transferred to Dr Neo Tee Khin and Dr Ansgar Cheng, two dental specialists trained in prosthodontics at Northwestern University, USA.
Dr Neo and Dr Cheng met during a student exchange program 20 years earlier when they were dental students in Singapore and Hong Kong respectively. They kept in touch over the years, and in early 2004, Dr Cheng moved his family from Toronto, Canada to Singapore, to partner with Dr Neo in taking over the management of the clinic.
A new name but the tradition lives on
In 2008, the Ministry of Health, Singapore established a register of dental specialists in 2008. Henry Lee Dental Surgery was renamed Specialist Dental Group® in 2008 to better reflect the breadth and depth of the clinical team.
Today, over 30 years later, Specialist Dental Group® has a team of leading dentists / dental specialists / dental surgeons at 4 locations (3 clinics at the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre (Orchard), and 1 clinic at Gleneagles Medical Centre).