29th Jan 2019
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'Extortion – $648 for 15 minutes of my dentist’s time'
Author: Janelle Ward

Good health is a prized possession and generally affordable, even for those without private insurance. But dental health is in another category entirely.

John Goss, associate professor at the University of Canberra, wrote in The Conversation recently that out-of-pocket costs had hit $240 per person per year. Even those with private health insurance still paid 46 per cent of dental fees charged, he said, adding that many people without insurance avoided the dentist altogether.

“Some 27 per cent of the bottom fifth of the population, who are most disadvantaged, delayed or did not see a dentist when they should have in 2016-17 due to the cost,” he said.

Dental care is a pressure point for all, but particularly for older Australians who generally experience more problems with teeth and gums.

YourLifeChoices member Derek* shared his concerns about the cost of dental procedures and we asked for a response from the Australian Dental Association (ADA).

Derek wrote: “I visited my local dentist earlier this week and after 15 minutes of treatment, I was billed $648. This consisted of ‘four adhesive restorations’ in which a resin was applied to four teeth.

“This charge (4 x $162) for 15 minutes’ work smacks of extortion, equating to a charge of around $2600 per hour, with only a few drops of resin being used in the process.”

Derek says he is on a part-pension, receiving $650 per fortnight, and asked YourLifeChoices to investigate.

To further complicate matters, Derek said he was told by his dentist that individual health funds set the charges, not the dentist. Further inquiries with his health fund put that responsibility on individual dentists.

“I then called my dentist and advised them of my health fund’s comments and was told that if I was a patient without health fund membership, then the dentist would set the charges. However, when a patient belongs to a health fund, the provider (dentist) uses a figure supplied by the individual health fund. I found this difficult to understand, but was assured that this is how the system works!”

A spokesperson for the Consumer Health Forum told YourLifeChoices its general understanding was that dentists set their fees and the health fund decided on the rebate, except when funds had a contractual arrangement with individual dentists.

 “At the end of the day,” said Derek, “being charged $648 for 15 minutes of my dentist's time smacks of extortion – no matter whether the patient is entitled to a rebate or not!!”

Deputy CEO general manager-policy, for the ADA, Eithne Irving, provided the following statement: “It’s very difficult to respond to a comment from a patient about the cost involved in dental treatment without someone speaking to the dentist involved and understanding a bit more about the case.

“Some ADA branches do offer a mediation service to patients if the consumer is interested.

“We always recommend to patients that they speak to the dentist about the costs if they have any concerns (not the receptionist). We also recommend that they ask for an estimate up front so that they don’t get a shock.

“Unfortunately, while the time may not seem very long in comparison to the charge, the costs of infection control are quite extensive. After the patient left the treatment room, all the equipment (chair, mirrors, lights etc have to be cleaned, the instruments cleaned and sterilized, so there is a lot more to it than just the time spent in the chair.

“I would suggest that the patient speak to the dentists involved and see if there is any explanation. I would also encourage her/him to seek a quote in future for any proposed treatment and shop around to see if they can get the treatment cheaper somewhere else.”

* Not his real name

Is the cost of dental treatment a concern for you? Have you put off treatment because you can’t afford it? Has that affected your general health?

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    COMMENTS

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    mogo51
    29th Jan 2019
    10:35am
    The ADA cannot possibly justify this charge, it is indeed extortion, but the member should have got a quote first, as they said. I would have walked on that quote. I just had some dental work done in Philippines, I had an extraction, cleaning, a bridge, an upper denture 4 teeth, for $1000au and this was by the most expensive dentist in town, oh and it included an x ray. He has all the modern equipment.
    So far as the ADA genius saying they have to clean after each patient, wiping down a bench and chair must take all of 2 minutes - ADA must be related to the Government, they think we are all stupid. I hope the member changes his dentist.
    Rosret
    29th Jan 2019
    11:05am
    I am going to email you next time I need major work done!
    panos
    29th Jan 2019
    12:42pm
    Bit hard to get a quote when he has already stuck his bloody fingers in your mouth
    Rae
    29th Jan 2019
    2:23pm
    A friend had major work done in Thailand and saved a fortune. X rays were done here and sent so that preliminary work could be completed.
    MICK
    29th Jan 2019
    9:06pm
    The story about the high dental charge sounds like it is fiction. Find a new dentists as mine never charges more than about $150 for a filling replacement. Worth it.

    The rest of the story centres around how Private Health Insurance is a casino which leaves suckers paying a fortune in premiums out of pocket a long way. A continuing story of people goaded into these robber funds with scare campaigns. When they arrive they find their insurer is little more than a semi scam. The government nowhere to be seen...as normal.
    maxchugg
    2nd Feb 2019
    8:08am
    Mick refers to suckers paying a fortune n premiums and to a point he is right. I had major surgery as an insured patient and after I returned home bills from all manner of doctors and their assistants kept coming for weeks afterwards. Yet I had personal knowledge of numerous people who had the same surgery as uninsured patients, had the same outcome as me, and never paid a cent.

    But, on the other side of the ledger, I was advised to have cataract surgery to slow down glaucoma. Both eyes were done well within 3 months. But a friend, who maintained health insurance all of his working life, but forced to drop it because it was no longer affordable, waited 3 years to have cataract surgery on one eye, then waited another 2 years for the second operation, despite the fact that his cataracts were affecting his ability to do such things as safely drive his car.

    Anyway, the end of private health insurance is nigh. With many specialists and dentists now raising exorbitant charges for their services and premiums rising at around double the rate of inflation, there is only one possible outcome, private insurance becomes unaffordable for anyone who is not a millionaire.
    maxchugg
    2nd Feb 2019
    8:22am
    Correction, - I had personal knowledge of people who had the same surgery of uninsured people who had the same surgery as those who were insured. These people paid nothing, my additional costs were well over $1000, and that was in 1996, would be much worse now.

    What really bugged me was that the anaesthetist sent me a bill which was around 3 times that of the surgeon but offered a 50% discount if I paid within a fortnight or so - certainly within the current month.

    On another occasion I had a small, corrective operation on an injured finger performed by a specialist. After I arrived home I suddenly received a bill from a doctor who was completely unknown to me, and upon enquiry I was told that a specialist always has an assistant. The assistant also explained that the large gap payment which came out of my pocket was because the Medicare rebate was set by the government, a much higher fee was set by the AMA, and he charged the AMA recommended fee.

    The explanation left me wondering. If that doctor sent his car to a mechanic to have a head gasket replaced, and queried a charge of say $2,000 because a person known to him had had exactly the same job done on an identical car by the same mechanic for $1000, would he be happy if the mechanic told him that the award rate for mechanics was $20 per hour, but the union recommended $40 per hour, so he had charged the union recommended fee?
    Hoohoo
    3rd Feb 2019
    12:39pm
    I agree dentistry is very expensive, but mogo61, it isn't just wiping down a seat & a bench that takes two minutes. It's sterilising all the equipment (they use an autoclave) which, like a dishwasher, has to complete a cycle to be effective & face it, who wants surgical instruments in their mouths that are dodgy when it comes to microbes from the previous customer?

    Then there are other overheads & the assistant staff, including the dental assistant & administration staff. They deserve to be paid surely? & their superannuation? Just cutting it down to an hourly rate for the dentist is misleading & undervalues the service that is being provided.
    Hoohoo
    3rd Feb 2019
    12:41pm
    Dental health is very important for overall health & therefore, should be available through Medicare.
    Greg
    3rd Feb 2019
    6:56pm
    Hoohoo - every state has free or heavily subsidised public dental, just may need to wait a few months.
    Hoohoo
    11th Feb 2019
    3:37pm
    Yes I know, thanks Greg. But how long can you wait? Especially if you're in pain or need urgent attention. Sometimes waiting means much more expensive & invasive treatment. I don't think it should be free but certainly subsidised heavily by Medicare. Education would save billions! (then ban fizzy drinks loaded with sugar!)

    I don't have medical insurance because it just doesn't cover enough dental treatments to justify it. It's ridiculous that dental care isn't considered an important part of health care & be included in Medicare. Dental hospital work should be free, if you're that desperate you're prepared to be treated by a novice.

    I'm fortunate enough to have savings & I just pay what the dentist asks. It's a great incentive to brush & floss thoroughly!
    Hoohoo
    11th Feb 2019
    3:54pm
    Yes I know, thanks Greg. But how long can you wait? Especially if you're in pain or need urgent attention. Sometimes waiting means much more expensive & invasive treatment. I don't think it should be free but certainly subsidised heavily by Medicare. Education would save billions! (then ban fizzy drinks loaded with sugar!)

    I don't have medical insurance because it just doesn't cover enough dental treatments to justify it. It's ridiculous that dental care isn't considered an important part of health care & be included in Medicare. Dental hospital work should be free, if you're that desperate you're prepared to be treated by a novice.

    I'm fortunate enough to have savings & I just pay what the dentist asks. It's a great incentive to brush & floss thoroughly!
    Hoohoo
    11th Feb 2019
    4:51pm
    Yes I know, thanks Greg. But how long can you wait? Especially if you're in pain or need urgent attention. Sometimes waiting means much more expensive & invasive treatment. I don't think it should be free but certainly subsidised heavily by Medicare. Education would save billions! (then ban fizzy drinks loaded with sugar!)

    I don't have medical insurance because it just doesn't cover enough dental treatments to justify it. It's ridiculous that dental care isn't considered an important part of health care & be included in Medicare. Dental hospital work should be free, if you're that desperate you're prepared to be treated by a novice.

    I'm fortunate enough to have savings & I just pay what the dentist asks. It's a great incentive to brush & floss thoroughly!
    Yes I know, thanks Greg. But how long can you wait? Especially if you're in pain or need urgent attention. Sometimes waiting means much more expensive & invasive treatment. I don't think it should be free but certainly subsidised heavily by Medicare. Education would save billions! (then ban fizzy drinks loaded with sugar!)

    I don't have medical insurance because it just doesn't cover enough dental treatments to justify it. It's ridiculous that dental care isn't considered an important part of health care & be included in Medicare. Dental hospital work should be free, if you're that desperate you're prepared to be treated by a novice.

    I'm fortunate enough to have savings & I just pay what the dentist asks. It's a great incentive to brush & floss thoroughly!
    Hoohoo
    11th Feb 2019
    4:53pm
    one more time? sorry folks!
    Greg
    11th Feb 2019
    6:17pm
    Hoohoo - I haven't used the public system so don't know what it is like but it does say emergencies are seen to straight away, no waiting.
    Knows-a-lot
    29th Jan 2019
    10:43am
    (Para)medical specialists are a pack of thieving bastards!

    As a pensioner, I was able to have some dental work done for free at the Westmead Centre for Oral Health - but to access that service, one must be a pensioner.
    john
    29th Jan 2019
    11:35am
    One must also wait wait wait ?
    ray from Bondi
    29th Jan 2019
    5:10pm
    wait and wait and wait, typically unless an emergency where the time will be cut somewhat the time seems to be a year, a long time to wait with problems and it is only going to become worse with the libs cutting everything they can to keep their golden trough full.
    dontwantwun
    29th Jan 2019
    10:51am
    They charge what they do because they can.
    As with medical specialists a walk around their hospital and consulting centre car parks reveals that.
    Rosret
    29th Jan 2019
    11:02am
    Not only is dentistry obscenely expensive the medical insurance cover is just as woeful.
    I needed a root canal through a specialist at the cost of $2800 so I rang Medibank private and because that tooth had already caused issues in the months before I had zero cover.
    My ivories have cost me more than any other medical procedure.
    Yet teeth are essential, the pain is unbearable and it will damage the heart if left untreated. So we effectively have a gun at our head. Pay or suffer. I did actually think of packing my bags and getting the work done in a foreign country.
    Alan
    29th Jan 2019
    10:38pm
    I recommend going to Thailand - you can have a holiday for less than the cost of getting anything much done in Australia and get treated as well. If you go down this path find a good dentist in Thailand (in this regard I was lucky because I was referred by a Thai dentist to the Bangkok Hospital in Pattaya). I am now hooked on this approach.
    Rae
    30th Jan 2019
    7:51am
    I had a very bad dentist destroy some teeth years ago Rosret doing root canals. My advice is to get a second opinion. I wish I had before I nearly died from septicaemia. I then found a great dentist and have stayed with them ever since.


    The first guy filled a lot of teeth not needing it just for the money. I'd be very cautious of desperate dentists. Isn'r Medibank Private one of the worse for profit Insurers now since it was sold? Perhaps explore Insurers as well. There are far better Funds available.

    Compare what is covered by different funds.
    Jim
    29th Jan 2019
    11:04am
    My health fund recommended dentist offers a gap free check up, clean and X-ray, I was then given a quote to have some fillings, when I looked at the quote and checked what my refund was going to be, I got a shock as I was getting very little back, when I looked at how much I had been charged for the gap free clean etc it had come to $380 which only left me $170 to claim for the rest of the year, needless to say the couple of fillings I needed cut out on the first filling, so I ended up with a bill for about $350, in comparison a new dentist has just opened close to where I live, they are offering the check up and clean etc for $120 for non health fund members and gap free for members, so how come the first one is charging $380 and the second one is only charging $120, some investigation needed. I am sure I have seen somewhere that dentists are amongst the highest paid healthcare workers?
    Rosret
    29th Jan 2019
    11:10am
    Jim I went to a dentist who charged less. For 2 hours the dentist struggled in my mouth. I only paid $250 for the worst dental visit in my life.
    Two months later that tooth cracked open so I went back to my very good (expensive) dentist who fixed it for $1600.
    So much pain and over months of time - it just wasn't worth it.
    Sundays
    29th Jan 2019
    1:09pm
    I did a cost benefit analysts on Extras nearly two years ago after getting very little back after dental work. It just wasn’t worth it. Took the $100 per month we were paying and put it into a special bank account where up to now it has remained untouched. Our dentist no longer charges us for checkups as we are old customers. Win/win.
    Sundays
    29th Jan 2019
    1:12pm
    We’ve just kept Hospital cover because too scared to stop paying now
    Jim
    29th Jan 2019
    1:57pm
    Well Rosret the expensive one is a dentist I have used in the past, and you might be right the cheaper one might not be any good, I still think the charge by my usual dentist for a checkup was high, the visits usually last about 15 minutes, I will give the new guy a go and hope I don’t regret it, I don’t think they will be able to do any damage just at a check up, but it might give me some insight into their standards, and I imagine they must be registered.
    Greg
    30th Jan 2019
    4:20pm
    Sundays - exactly the same as us, been paying hospital/extras for around 35 years, very annoyed with myself that I didn't do the numbers earlier. Hospital we've kept, mainly for my wife so she can have a (hopefully) nicer/better/whatever care in the future but dropped the extras about a year ago. Added up what we paid in over the years compared to claims, bloody hell couldn't gone on a world trip.
    Troubadour
    29th Jan 2019
    11:05am
    Yes been putting off some dental work, mainly due to cost - even with Private Health Insurance there is a fair slice of 'out of pocket' to pay, and as a Pensioner this adds up when one has other bills coming in - utilities and such. Still pondering whether having private health is worth it!!!!
    john
    29th Jan 2019
    11:53am
    I have had a massive verbal brawl with a private health fund public relations individual who took me for a fool, after I'd queried the years and years of top cover and extras that I 'd had in my insurance, and the fact that over several decades as a member had paid thousands and thousands above and beyond any rebates I and my family had ever received back. He gave up in the end, I think he knew my argument was very tight!

    I do not exaggerate I am talking over 40 years and balanced the average that I would have paid into this BIG health insurer over and above any rebate I got was in the tens of thousands.

    Where is that money? When thousands of people pay these premiums every fortnight.

    My orthodontistry is covered only twice in a visit period of 1 year and the third is denied.

    ( Hence $96.00 dollars for no. 3, a 5 minute consult check up, no rebate , but the other two did have a rebate of $23 dollars... hah! So for 5 mins this bloke gets $63.00 dollars)
    That's $756 dollars an hour, that is ridiculous!

    The insurance co's must make millions of dollars, and are they investors too?

    Do they invest their profits or are they meant to be non profit?

    Regulation is needed big time in insurance over all, it has become a racket.

    A royal commission is desperately needed , the mafia are alive and well in the insurance industry especially the health business.
    Troubadour
    29th Jan 2019
    11:05am
    Yes been putting off some dental work, mainly due to cost - even with Private Health Insurance there is a fair slice of 'out of pocket' to pay, and as a Pensioner this adds up when one has other bills coming in - utilities and such. Still pondering whether having private health is worth it!!!!
    floss
    29th Jan 2019
    11:19am
    Our local Tradesmen are just as bad.Working people have their wages pegged why not professional people.Greed is good under the Libs. If a worker demand a pay rise they are called a Union thug , wake up Australia.
    Dave R
    29th Jan 2019
    11:43am
    Some of our professional people such as dentists and tradesman are much worse than any union thug when it comes to extorting money from people who need their services. But if they demand hundreds of dollars an hour they are just good business people while people on wages are thugs.
    KSS
    29th Jan 2019
    1:00pm
    floss for goodness sake. Do you seriously think dentists will miraculously lower their fees the day after a Labor government gets in? Did they reduce them under Mr Rudd, Ms Gillard,or Mr Rudd? Of course not, so what makes you blame this (or any other government for the prices dentists and others charge? Not everything can be laid that the feet of the incumbent government (of any hue).

    Tradies are no longer the poor relation in the work environment. Most are now earning over 6 figure salaries(more than university graduates) mainly because kids don't want to do the hard yards and complete an apprenticeship. I had to replace a ceiling fan recently. The fan cost about $120 (on sale) but the installation by an electrician that took quite literally 5 minutes cost me $190. That is an hourly rate $3800 and he didn't even clean up after himself! Beats the pants off the $648 ph dentist!

    Dentists, specialists and tradies (among others) charge like wounded bulls because they can. And they do so regardless of who is living in The Lodge.
    Couldabeen
    29th Jan 2019
    4:40pm
    KSS, I can understand your annoyance at what appears to be excessive profiteering by the electrician. What was his travel time to and from your job? My friend had her recently acquired fridge/freezer throw the circuit breaker. For the refrigeration mechanic to come out and replace the $9 heater element that caused the problem it was over $360. $330 before GST. However, when you took in travel time to and from the job, overhead of the ute, cost of holding stock of probable replacement parts, his Office employee, and the Government business and insurance costs, he was barely clearing $100/hr. And we have no way of knowing how many hours he was actually paid for each day.
    At least I now know why those fridge/freezers fail and how easy it is to repair them.
    There is a similar situation with the Dentist. We aren't just paying for one person to empty a drawer of technology into our mouths, but an immediate assistant and a proportion of the salaries of at least two clerical employees in the front office.
    john
    29th Jan 2019
    11:33am
    Dental industry as with the veterinarian industry are a terrible betrayer of the public . The people are always charged massive amounts , and we wonder why the health industries only pay back a pittance for rebates.
    Orthodntist work general dental these professions are worthy and needed by the public but the cost is so high that some people will not get work done because of the cost. That is a simple well known fact , and by experience we all know how true it is. Some larger operations stick to the schedule and your pay out is not that much , most times it is 15 to 30 minutes maybe less in a chair having something done and it is a cost so massive that it is mind boggling. The worst is the 5 minute consultation post dental ortho work, that cost me $96 dollars , five minutes for a look. Its obscene .
    We don't like being regulated , but in some industries things need to be kept reasonable. I don't expect to have Dentists etc paid miniscule amounts for their expertise, but extortion is a thing that this profession seems to look more like every day. I've found a good dentist now , and my pocket is not destroyed , but ortho work I've had in the past year or so , has been expensive to the degree that I am now deciding not to go back.
    Vets are also a massive dirty trick with hospitalisation for a dog we had operated on, 3 or 4 years ago costing $700 dollars a night to be watched over night, the operation cost $3000 dollars there abouts, and we drove our semi conscious dog to the vet hospital that had staff on over night. Obviously he came home fine in the morning, I would have watched him for nothing, and I did a year or so later when he had the same problems. No we don't like regulation too much, but there are crooks around who abuse the system. So be careful get quotes , these dentists live the high life!
    Mrs Hedgehog
    29th Jan 2019
    11:41am
    Eye specialists are just as bad. I have been quoted over $600 for a second appointment needed to see if the drops from the first expensive appointment actually work. What are the options? Pay up or go blind.
    Anne
    29th Jan 2019
    11:44am
    I'm in the middle of having some major dental work done now. I am not in a health fund, but did join that smile.com.au thing before beginning and chose one of their dentists.

    I got lucky. The one I selected has rave reviews on independent sites.

    The fees have been surprisingly low so far. In fact, yesterday I went in to get two extractions, but chickened out because I was feeling unwell. The dentist checked over the work done the previous week, made my new appointment and didn't charge me at all, even though I'd wasted her time on a public holiday.

    There are a few unicorns out there!
    Rae
    29th Jan 2019
    2:33pm
    Checking around certainly pays off.
    Anne
    29th Jan 2019
    3:08pm
    It certainly does, Rae.

    For anyone curious, check the independent reviews for a centre in your area that begins with the first three letters of the alphabet and ends in "Dental".

    I'm moving interstate in a few months, and the centre near where I'll be living has equally great reviews.

    In addition, my own dentist at my local such centre always advises me that she will refer me to one of their CBD specialists if she deems it necessary. She doesn't try to handle complex work herself if she feels another dentist in the network is more capable of doing the best job.

    About five years ago, after getting ripped off by a shoddy dentist at another centre, my son and I went to Bangkok for our then-needed work.

    This time around, I think my savings can handle it locally. I'm a terrrified-of-pain patient, but my dentist has been amazing and I've so far managed with just the needles when getting stuff done.

    When I piked out on the extractions yesterday, she was fine about it. She still spent time with me and discussed everything thoroughly, before deciding not to charge me for the session.
    Rae
    30th Jan 2019
    8:00am
    Good to know.

    Same applies to medical. It's worth checking prices and who bulk bills. It seems the Health Funds don't cover much including routine tests doctors like for prevention. Can't see why Funds refuse to cover tests needed that medicare don't cover either. What is the point of Insuring?
    Old Man
    29th Jan 2019
    11:58am
    Do we have any proof of the accusation that the cost involved or the time quoted? Did anyone speak to the dentist to get a balanced viewpoint? This forum is full of people accusing the media of being unfair and we have this unfairness right before our eyes. Any person in business has the right to charge for their services and we, as the general public, have the right to negotiate or refuse to accept the cost.
    panos
    29th Jan 2019
    12:52pm
    Oh boy !!
    Jim
    29th Jan 2019
    1:46pm
    I think they stated that they didn’t speak to the dentist involved, but they did speak to a representative of the dental association, his response was he couldn’t comment without knowing exactly what happened in the dentists surgery. But if you read my comment from earlier my incident wasn’t hearsay it’s exactly what happened, the service I got was pretty poor and I have used this dentist before, but usually I haven’t had to have further treatment, so I wasn’t aware of how much I was actually being charged for the gap free treatment, it’s a pretty good scam in my opinion, I will be trying the new dentist and see if they are any better.
    Hardworker
    29th Jan 2019
    12:21pm
    Before you all go off half-cocked these are the facts.
    Dentists are supposed to be highly skilled professionals but some are and some aren't. Like a lot of professions some are good at just passing exams but not good at the practice. Your teeth are very important because we need to be able to eat a variety of food in order to stay alive and healthy. If you don't look after your teeth you will possibly end up with heart problems. Find the most skilled dentist you can because if they don't do the job properly the first time round and need to do it again you will be the one paying for it - twice, and with a root canal that is very expensive. Dentists pay a lot of money to put lead in the walls and cover you with a lead lined apron to protect you and others from the radiation when taking x-rays. It also costs a lot of money to set up a practice and there are rules and regulations that need to be met unlike overseas where you are just depending on the conscience of the dentist. You may get a good one, you may not. Hopefully you won't come back with one of the Hepatitis's due to the surgery not being properly cleaned or the workers not wearing fresh gloves every time. You may also come back with inappropriate products/metals having been used in your teeth rather than the correct ones which are more expensive and last longer. After bad experiences with ordinary dentists I now only go to an Endodontist when I need a root canal. They are much more experienced and have much more powerful microscopes. They also photograph and record everything they do for you in case of legal action against them. Even with very bad teeth requiring a lot of work I do not have Extras Cover in my private health insurance as it is a waste of money. You are better off sticking to a budget and putting money aside each pay day towards your dentistry. It is cheaper in the long run. There is no solution for those of us who have bad teeth other than to look after our teeth as best we can and pay the best dentist you can possibly find. One of the best things you can do for your teeth is to dental tape your entire mouth after each meal. It's actually better than brushing. My teeth have been so much better since developing this habit. There are plenty of us with bad teeth through no fault of our own but the Govt doesn't care as it would cost them too much money to assist everyone with their dentistry. The dental scheme that got rorted by dentists and patients alike had to be cancelled, so don't hold your breath for any future assistance by any Govt. Take responsibility yourself by eating good food with less sugar and NO soft drinks, floss your teeth after each meal, brush correctly twice a day and work out your budget so that you put money aside for any dentistry you might need.
    panos
    29th Jan 2019
    12:41pm
    Why oh why do you think no one goes to the Dentist, it's bloody highway robbery...

    Last 2 times I went it's a mystery $450 each time on the knocker. Riddle me that ???
    clancambo
    29th Jan 2019
    12:51pm
    Extortion prices yes, but I wouldn't like to be a dentist or a proctologist at any cost.
    Jim
    29th Jan 2019
    1:49pm
    Crikey what if they were combined, which one to go to first.
    Rae
    29th Jan 2019
    2:22pm
    Not only do private health funds charge like wounded bulls and rarely cover anything but they are now setting extortionate fees as well. Of course they are as they have clinics and hospitals too. Howard was a real Dick to set up this private/public nightmare that costs a fortune mainly to pay foreign shareholders.
    Hardworker
    29th Jan 2019
    2:34pm
    Nothing like the politicians helping the big end of town hey Rae! But I think they call it creating jobs! Both the major parties do it in one way or another and that is probably why a lot of people are now voting for the Independents. Politicians have tricky ways of convincing the public they are trying to help them but usually it is the other way around and just helps big business instead.
    cupoftea
    29th Jan 2019
    3:14pm
    I had my gums cleaned the parts you cant see $1800 not bad for an hours work
    motaleon
    29th Jan 2019
    3:53pm
    Yes, The medical people are pretty good at ducking out from fraud. I had a tooth, supposedly cracked and a 15 minute job with a quick emery followed by a finger rub put a replacement enamel which didn't match. The charge was $264. But that wasn't all. He said there were 4 more needing the same treatment. Suspicious of this, I went to 2 other dentists for a checkup, and specifically enquired about cracked enamel. They both said the was no problem. This bastard had built a new premises and was looking for a quick overdraft reduction. There was no use complaining, they look after their own. I cancelled the future appointment and never went back
    KB
    29th Jan 2019
    4:26pm
    Dentists are a rort . When younger paid for thousands for on my teeth .Heard recently about a father who too hi adult son the cheaper dentists and they only charge 1600 for bands The pubic system is cheaper if you have a health care card. If you are in pain them they will take in as soon as possible
    ray from Bondi
    29th Jan 2019
    5:08pm
    I am under the care (not) of the governments dental hospital, I have become so tired of waiting I went to a dentist, I am not wealthy by any means, a bit better off than those who rely on the pension as their only income but to spend $1500 in two sessions of around half an hour is a real strain, sadly I am changing form feeling comfortable out my finances to concerned. I understand there is a lot that goes on in the background but one wonders.
    Rae
    30th Jan 2019
    8:07am
    Yes it is concerning. This inflation is not being included in the CPI so pensioners will suffer income loss over time.

    This is what Rainey was always on about. Needing savings in the future and an economy bent on taking as much as they can here and now.
    nan
    29th Jan 2019
    5:46pm
    I went to a private dentist because i was too much of a coward to pull out very tiny very loose tooth. For that i paid $261. Later i found out i could have had it removed for free by the government dental clinic just round the corner. This is in Qld where there is a great free dental service for seniors.
    Alan
    29th Jan 2019
    10:35pm
    At the beginning of last year I had a problem with one tooth and I decided that it would be appropriate to see a dentist in Thailand on my way to Russia. I finished up being referred to Bangkok Hospital in Pattaya and was very glad that this has happened. It was complex and the first tooth was properly fixed over the course of three stopovers in Thailand. The dentists I saw appeared competent and if they had any doubts got advice from specialists who could advise the best course.

    While their English is not perfect it is perfectly adequate for dental purposes. Additionally before I see a dentist they always take blood pressure and temperature to make sure there is no underlying infections.

    I went back to November and had quite a lot more work done. Again I am satisfied with everything and have to go back soon (I am passing through Thailand again).

    It is much cheaper than Australia.
    OlderandWiser
    1st Feb 2019
    9:41am
    I considered that option, Alan, but adding up the cost of fares and accommodation and then the risk of having to go back if there were complications, plus the advice of my dentist that I should have months off between procedures as not allowing adequate healing time would lead to failure, I ended up deciding against it. I'm glad, because I really did need healing time. I discovered some universities have dental clinics that offer huge discounts. Yes, you get a student, but usually post-grads who have worked in the field and returned to get higher degrees, and they are under very close supervision. I found them excellent, and at 40% less than the market rate, it's a good deal. I believe pensioners resident in some states get treatment free at university clinics.
    Greg
    1st Feb 2019
    11:04am
    Every state/territory has free or highly subsidised dental for eligible people as long as you don't mind going on a waiting list

    https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/primary-and-community-health/dental-health/victorian-public-dental-fees

    https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/oralhealth/Pages/contacts.aspx

    https://www.qld.gov.au/health/services/oral-eye-ear/dental-services

    https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/Public+Content/SA+Health+Internet/Health+services/Dental+services/Who+can+attend+SA+Dental+Service/#Adults

    https://www.dental.wa.gov.au/

    https://nt.gov.au/wellbeing/hospitals-health-services/dental-services/eligibility-for-free-dental-services

    https://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/oralhealth

    https://health.act.gov.au/services/dental
    etty44
    29th Jan 2019
    11:29pm
    I doubt whether you wake up and decide "I want to help mankind, I think i will become a dentist"- worthy profession though it is! I think bright young people choose this career as a pathway to wealth.
    Can't knock them for that, but don't expect compassion at the cash register. More than doctors or vets or almost all other health professionals, dentists charge extortionate amounts for their services, and many times you are at their mercy until you get the bill at the front counter.
    tex
    30th Jan 2019
    9:34am
    All my teeth are o.k but having read a ll that I think ill join the dentist union " one out , all out"
    tex
    30th Jan 2019
    9:34am
    All my teeth are o.k but having read a ll that I think ill join the dentist union " one out , all out"
    tex
    30th Jan 2019
    9:34am
    All my teeth are o.k but having read a ll that I think ill join the dentist union " one out , all out"
    Greg
    30th Jan 2019
    4:32pm
    I blame fluoride - when I was a kid everyone had a mouthful of fillings and stacks of other issues through the years. Now teeth are generally in better condition so the dentists don't have the work they use to have and charge big prices for the far fewer people that still need work done.

    My wife has had a couple of issues that had two options, one was $3000-4000 that MAY last for a few years or $500 for another treatment. The dentist pushed very hard for the expensive option.

    Mother-in-law saw a local dentist, she's 84 and he said he needed to remove 5 teeth which was going to cost $7000, she paid a deposit of $2000 and fortunately we spoke to her before she paid more. Took here to the regular dentist who said those teeth don't need removing, in fact with some problem she has with her bones the dentist said it was a bad idea to remove the teeth, quite dangerous. I guess like with anything there's good dentists, bad dentists and plain old crooked dentists.
    OlderandWiser
    1st Feb 2019
    9:37am
    I don't believe Flouride did much if anything. I think improved dental hygiene and awareness and more regular dental visits as families became more aware of the importance of oral health and more able to afford dental care resulted in better dental health. My kids never saw fluoride - growing up on tank water - and have perfect teeth. All of their friends who grew up on tank water also have excellent oral health.

    I unfortunately had a bad dentist at age 17 and he wrecked my teeth completely. Another bad dentist did more -very expensive - damage a few years ago. Recently spent $9000 on repairs and will likely have ongoing high costs for the rest of my life.
    Adrianus
    31st Jan 2019
    9:33am
    Dental hygiene costs me around $1500 for my two visits. Each time the Dentists and Hygienist continually give me the all clear and tell me what a great job they do. I leave with a bag full of stuff, toothpaste, brush, floss etc. I think $1500 is a bit rich but they assure me that I need the check ups.
    They don't realise that their high charges are the reason they cant be trusted with medicare.
    Anne
    1st Feb 2019
    11:52am
    Just got home from the latest round of my ongoing work. Two extractions today, including one difficult one.

    Cost: $308... that's with NO insurance and only the smile.com.au membership.
    Anne
    15th Feb 2019
    11:01am
    I completed my latest dental work yesterday. 11 extractions and a full upper and partial lower denture. Total cost was $5005.30. I had expected to pay $6-7000 for the dentures alone and much more for the extractions. I am really pleased with the results. I could have had it done in Bangkok for less, but by the time you add in airfares and accommodation it probably would have cost more. Shop around...
    Greg
    15th Feb 2019
    2:00pm
    That seems good - my MIL was going to have 5/6 teeth extracted and new dentures and was quoted $7000.00 but that was with health cover - price probably increases when they know you have cover.
    Anne
    15th Feb 2019
    5:40pm
    Hi Greg. I read your post above about your mother in law being asked to pay a deposit. That alone is a red flag. At no point in my treatment did I pay upfront.

    In addition to my dentist appointments, I had five denture lab appointments. I paid nothing until yesterday, when I picked up my lovely smile.

    The lab prosthesist even gave me a kit with a case, denture and tooth brush, six month supply of cleaning paste and about five or six tubes of adhesive for if I should need that. I can go back in for free adjustments in the next two weeks as my gum swelling goes down. In four to six months, I'll go back for a reline which will only cost $300.


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