Two in three Aussies delaying dental visits due to costs

Dentists recommend that we have dental check-ups every six to 12 months. However, troubling new research reveals that two in five Australians (39 per cent) did not visit a dentist at all last year, and 61 per cent delayed their dental treatments due to the expense.

This information comes hot on the heels of a story we brought you last month from YourLifeChoices member Derek, who was charged $648 for 15 minutes dental work.

A fifth (21 per cent) of respondents admitted they hadn’t been to the dentist for at least two years, and 15 per cent said that it had been more than three years since they had their teeth checked.

In addition to the two-thirds (61 per cent) of Aussies who would delay dental treatment due to costs, 16 per cent would delay any procedure they needed that cost more than $150.

When asked which dental treatments people would put off, one in three (32 per cent) said they would avoid routine dental check-ups. On top of this, 30 per cent would put off getting caps and crowns, 29 per cent would delay getting veneers, and 28 per cent would avoid necessary orthodontic treatment.

If respondents were faced with significant dental bills, half (50 per cent) said they would draw on their savings, 39 per cent would use a credit card, and 20 per cent would try to set up a payment plan.

Interestingly, an equal 6 per cent would either borrow money from friends or family, increase their credit card limit, or draw on their superannuation to make payments.

The survey of 1087 Australians was commissioned by comparethemarket.com.au.

On average, a routine dental exam, clean and fluoride treatment costs $66, with prices ranging from $51–92 across Australia. Orthodontic treatment tends to be pricier, ranging from anywhere between $5000–9000.

Dental treatment of any kind is not often covered by Medicare and is usually paid on the spot, when the procedure is finished.

The Australian Dental Association’s Dental Fee Survey found that the average cost for a filling is $175, that a root canal averages out to $278, and a wisdom tooth extraction can cost anywhere between $500–3000. Other dental procedures range from $38 for fluoride treatment to $1558 for a full crown (veneered).

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?

Written by Ben

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