Why does it cost so much to go to the dentist in Australia?

Intan Nobury


Jun 20, 24

4 min read

Having a good, reliable dentist is so important for maintaining good oral health. Luckily in Australia, we have an array of options to suit our individual needs and financial circumstances. This includes access to vouchers from the government, free public dental and private health fund claims for individuals at private dental practices. We like to think that going to the dentist is a vital aspect of maintaining good oral health but for many Australians, the cost or wait for dental care can be a significant concern and factor in why we avoid going to the dentist. From routine check-ups to more extensive treatments, dental expenses can quickly add up, leaving many wondering: why does it cost so much to go to the dentist in Australia?

Let’s dive into some of the reasons why visiting your dentist might be costly. 

High Operating Costs

One of the primary reasons for the high cost of dental care in Australia is the high operating costs faced by dental practices. Running a dental clinic involves various expenses, including rent, utilities, staff salaries, and the cost of maintaining state-of-the-art equipment and technology. These overhead costs are often passed on to patients through the fees charged for dental services.

Quality of Care

Australia has a reputation for providing high-quality healthcare services, and dental care is no exception. Dentists in Australia undergo extensive education and training to ensure they can provide the best possible care to their patients. This, accompanied by dental refresher courses and training, is then reflected in the treatment costs. Additionally, dental practices in Australia adhere to strict regulations and standards set by organizations such as the Australian Dental Association (ADA), which can contribute to higher costs.

Limited Government Subsidies

Unlike other healthcare services such as medical care, dental care in Australia receives limited government subsidies. While some Australians may be eligible for subsidies or rebates through programs such as the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) or the Medicare Chronic Disease Dental Scheme (CDDS), many people still face out-of-pocket expenses for dental treatments. Those going through the public health system also usually undergo long waitlists and waiting times to see a qualified healthcare professional which may be detrimental to their current oral health and lead to further deterioration. 

Cost of Materials and Technology

The cost of dental materials and technology continues to rise, contributing to the overall cost of dental care. From dental implants and crowns to advanced imaging equipment and digital technologies, dental practices must invest in these materials and tools to provide modern, convenient and effective treatments to their patients.

Demand for Cosmetic Dentistry

In recent years, there has been a growing demand for cosmetic dentistry procedures such as teeth whitening, composite and porcelain veneers, and Invisalign/orthodontic treatments. While these procedures can enhance the appearance of a person's smile, they often come with a higher price tag compared to basic dental services. 

Accessing urgent dental care

Thankfully, for Australian residents, in house and external payment plan options are often available to alleviate the financial pressure of urgent dental treatment. For urgent restorative care, you may be able to access your Super to pay for certain dental surgeries for yourself or your family member in need. 

Some treatments you may be able to cover with your Super may include:

  • Braces
  • Dental implants
  • Root Canal Treatment
  • Crowns
  • Periodontics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial surgery

Super can be used if an individual feels that their quality of life can be compromised without the required treatment. This includes being unable to chew or eat properly. A support letter will be required with your dentist to determine your suitability to access your Super. Ask your dentist regarding your eligibility to access your Super for your dental needs. 


While the cost of dental care in Australia may seem daunting, it's essential to prioritize oral health to prevent more significant issues from arising in the future which can become more costly in the long run. For instance, if you have a toothache, preventative measures such as thorough, regular cleans can flag any oral health concerns earlier. A filling done sooner will be better than an extraction or Root Canal Treatment later. Say the tooth couldn’t be saved due to delayed treatment and further deterioration and an extraction is required, you may then have to explore implant options down the track which then adds up significantly. Preventative and early interventions are always better and fortunately, there are options available to help manage dental expenses. 

Written By

Intan Nobury

An appreciator of art, novels and high intensity sports. With a passion for work and a dangerous addiction to tea.