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Average Dental Costs – The Ultimate Breakdown

average dental cost ultimate breakdown dental aware

If you need some major dental work done,  you may be thinking – what are the average dental costs in my state?

A Dentist is free to set their own costs, so the prices they charge can vary greatly.

To be able to provide you with an average price for your state, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) does a yearly survey on dental practitioners throughout Australia.

We have put all of this information into our Dental Cost Calculator, so you can find the average price for every treatment in your state.

Today I will talk about how you can find the average costs for dental work.

I will provide the average costs for common dental procedures, discuss how you can use our calculator to compare average prices and I will talk about whether the location of your Dentist changes the price.

Last, of all, I will let you know the best way to shop around for a better price.

A lady at the dentist

How Can You Find the Average Costs for Dental Work?

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) does a massive survey every year to get the average price for dental costs in every state of Australia.

This involves studying dental practitioners across Australia and getting the price on more than 120 treatments they perform.

The average price per treatment, per state, is then worked out from this data.

As such, we have created a Dental Calculator, which will help you calculate the average costs for the dental treatments you require.

See “How to Use Our Dental Calculator to Compare Average Prices” for more information

A lady having her teeth cleaned at the dentist

Average Costs for Common Dental Procedures

According to the data from the ADA, the average costs for common dental treatments are;

– Item Code 014 – Consultation.

– Item Code 011 – Comprehensive Oral Examination (initial).

– Item Code 013 – Oral Exam (limited) – commonly known as “check-up”.

– Item Code 022 – X-Ray (per film)

– Item Code 114 – Removal of Calculus – also known as “Scale and Clean”.

– Item Code 121 – Topical application of remineralising and/or cariostatic agents, one treatment – also known as “Fluoride Treatment”.

You can see below some average prices in the treatment list I’ve created using our Dental Cost Calculator.

Average Costs for Common Dental Procedures

Some of the common dental treatments and their costs

How to Use Our Dental Calculator to Compare Average Prices

Our Dental Cost Calculator was designed to assist you to compare average prices on dental procedures, based on;

  • Prices sourced from a survey we completed, and
  • The Australian Dental Association’s (ADA’s) annual survey.

So, we update it annually, based on new information provided by the ADA.

You are able to use it;

  • If you already know what treatment you need (that is, if you have a Treatment Plan and know your Item Codes), or
  • Based on the symptoms you feel, such as pain, swelling, inflammation, fractures, discolouration, crooked teeth, bad breath, etc.
Symptoms you feel dental cost calculator

Symptoms you feel can be used to work out possible dental treatments

All you must do is select the above, and the state in which you live/are going to get the procedures undertaken.

If you already know your Item Codes, you can add them immediately to your Treatment List.

However, if you are just searching based on symptoms, the Calculator will provide you with a list of possible treatments that you require.

These too, you can add to your Treatment List.

When viewing your Treatment List, you will get;

  • A breakdown of every procedure you require, and
  • An estimate of the total cost of your entire treatment, based on average prices.
Dental Cost Calculator add to treatment list

Adding dental treatments is easy

This way, if you have already been provided with a Treatment Plan from a dentist, you will know whether their prices are above average.

As per the sub-heading below, you will notice that shopping around for a dentist is common.

This is as little things such as your location can alter the price of dental treatment by huge amounts.

A dentist checking an X-Ray of a patient

Does Your Dentists’ Location Change the Price?

Yes – you can save yourself hundreds by changing locations.

Dentists’ are free to set their own costs – there are no recommended standard fees for their services.

So, what they will charge depends on a number of factors, including their;

  • Location.
  • Expenses, and
  • Experience.

They may also take into account factors that are specific to each individual, such as;

  • How difficult the procedure is and how long it will take.
  • All variations in the method they must use.
  • Any extra materials are required for the procedure.

There can be some big differences in price based upon where you live in Australia.

We found in general, the following;

  • South Australia – The cheapest.
  • Western Australia – The next cheapest.
  • ACT – The most expensive.

Studies done in 2017 have also shown that the prices of dental work can vary by hundreds within the same Council.

Over 700 dentists’ in Melbourne were surveyed, comparing their fees on a;

  • Standard check-up.
  • Professional (simple) clean, and
  • Two (2) oral X-rays.

In most affluent suburbs, dentists’ would charge up to $500 for this straightforward combination.

In other areas, the same combination cost only $160.

It also showed that dentists’ that were close by would charge a massive difference – the cheapest being $200, the most expensive $500.

So basically, dentists’ in the same area were charging over twice the price for the exact same services.

This proves that huge savings can be made if you simply change your location.

In the end, it is YOU that has the right to choose whether you want to go ahead with the Treatment Plan that was provided to you.

However, most of us are not experts in this industry.

So, this does make it difficult to know if the dentists’ recommendation is the best route to take, or whether they are simply trying to make a big profit off of us.

If unsure, you can always “shop around” for a price. Just how this works, and the best way to go about it, I will advise you about below

Shopping around for the best price for dental treatments

Best Way to Shop Around for a Better Price

When you visit a dentist to get them to perform a treatment, they draw you up what is known as a “Treatment Plan”.

This plan will be made up of Item Codes – these are codes that will describe all of the work that you need to have performed.

The Item Codes are dictated by the Australian Dental Association (ADA), so are fairly consistent across every Dentist.

You may find one or two Dentists’ that may change a digit, or slightly change the terminology, but they basically mean the same thing.

This means that, once you have your Item Codes, you are not trying to compare apples to oranges.

So, the best way to “shop around”, and look for a cheaper price, is to go to one dentist and get a copy of your Treatment Plan.

By doing so, you will find out every procedure that needs to be performed in your mouth and on your teeth – that is;

  • What Item Codes are specific to you, that is, every treatment that you need.

Once you are armed full of knowledge – that is, your Item Codes – then, you can start to shop around for a better price at different Dental Clinics

Elderly woman at the dentist

Conclusion

A dentist is free to set their own price – they set their costs just like any other business.

This is largely based on things, such as their location, general expenses and experience. As such, the prices dentists charge can vary greatly.

Surveys have shown that dentists’ within the same Council, or even the same suburb, have charged double the price as another.

It has been suggested that people living in wealthier areas may get a better deal by shopping around.

To help you, we’ve added all dental treatments into our Dental Cost Calculator, so you can find the average price for treatments in your state.

Because treatments are based around item Codes and dictated by the Australian Dental Association (ADA), they are pretty consistent nationwide.

But, how do you know how much should you pay the Dentist?

Our Dental Cost Calculator will be able to provide you with a Treatment List, giving you a rundown on the procedures you need, and an average cost for your state.

This way, you will know if the price you were quoted is close to an average or not.

Each dentist will charge different prices for their Item Codes but comparing them is easy.

So do not let dental costs be a burden or barrier that stops you from visiting the dentist.

Your oral health is important.

When did you see your dentist last?

Andrew Adams

By Andrew Adams

Created at October 28, 2020, Updated at September 30, 2021

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