Dental costs: is the price right?

Why is a trip to the dentist so expensive?
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05.Finding a good dentist

  • It's better to return to the same dentist rather than move around, so check that the practice is conveniently located.
  • Ring around for quotes and compare these with the average prices for dental services. Ask for itemised prices for an examination, a clean (removal of plaque), or a scale and clean (removal of plaque and calculus), a fluoride treatment and X-rays.
  • Ask how much a regular checkup will cost. Some practices charge more for the second visit after offering specials for new patients.
  • Check your dentist is registered with the Dental Board

What to look for 

  • Do they clearly communicate any problems and possible treatment plans with you? Do they provide you with options and inform you of the risks involved? 
  • Do they answer your questions? 
  • Do they ensure that you agree to all fees and treatment before starting? 
  • Don’t let a dentist pressure you into work on the spot. If he or she recommends treatments, get the item numbers of the proposed work so you can ring around for quotes. 

Got a complaint?

Try to resolve any issues with the practitioner first. Complaints about professional conduct, performance, or the health of a practitioner should be made directly to AHPRA (except in NSW, where all complaints go through the Health Care Complaints Commission). 

If you believe there are any other aspects of a service you received that were unreasonable, such as fees, you can complain to the health care commission in your state or territory. 

ACT: Health Services Complaints Commissioner - 02 6205 2222

NSW: Health Care Complaints Commission - 1800 043 159 

NT: Health & Community Services Complaints Commission - 1800 004 474 

Queensland: Health Quality & Complaints Commission - 07 3120 5999 (Brisbane metro); 1800 077 308 (elsewhere) 

SA: Health & Community Services Complaints Commissioner - 08 8226 8666 (Adelaide metro); 1800 232 007 (elsewhere) 

Tasmania: Health Complaints Commissioner - 1800 001 170 

Victoria: Health Services Commissioner - 1800 136 066  

WA: Health and Disability Services Complaints Office - 1800 813 583  

If you have a complaint about your private health insurer, you can direct it to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman - 1800 640 695.


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