Answers to your Frequently Asked Question in Dentistry about “How Much does it Cost?”
Q: How much will the treatment cost?
A: Fees vary for each treatment and for each patient. It is almost impossible to let you know roughly especially over the phone as to how much procedures cost without actually seeing your teeth. With any procedure, the best thing to do is come in and see either Dr Castro for a consultation. At this appointment, you will find out all of your treatment options, have any questions answered and gain an estimated quote and treatment plan
Q: How much does a Smile Makeover Cost in Melbourne?
A: A Smile Makeover can involve many different areas of Dentistry including Orthodontics, Periodontics, Implants, Crowns, Veneers and Teeth Whitening. It can range from simply whitening teeth to a full mouth smile makeover. A Smile Makeover can be performed in different ways and with different materials. The complexity can vary from individual to individual. We can give you some ideas, but the answer has a lot in common with the question “How much is a Car?” or “How much is a House?” Those costs can vary over the map and what model of a car is, can’t they? You will be seeing the same thing in Cosmetic Dentistry. Then the two important questions also have to be answered, What is your level of expectation of perfection and how difficult or easy will your treatment be?
Q: “I was given a cheaper Cosmetic Dentistry Fees over the phone by one dental office in Melbourne”
A: We see a lot of patients shopping over the phone for the best price and based decision as to the treatment cost over the phone enquiry and estimated cost given by them by an office receptionist. But those over the phone figures could just be an estimate of fees, someone can throw in a small figure or fees just to get them in their door, but that it isn’t the correct fees.
Price-shopping for cosmetic dentistry over the phone would be like comparing Apples over oranges. The dental costs provided over the phone shopping could be based on approximate prices and should be used as a general guide only and do not factor any complexities or variances that may arise on an individual basis.
As every patient has individual needs the only way to get an accurate dental costing is to have a thorough examination and consultation and discuss your goals and also your budget.
Q: Dentist prices in Melbourne vary a lot between dental Offices. How do you set your fees?
A: Our fees are based upon our care, skills and judgment and the time necessary to provide a high level of service
Q: ” The Dentist Cost is so high”
A: We understand a beautiful smile and great oral health is a significant investment. Naturally, you want to be sure you are getting a good value. One thing to ask yourself, are you concerned that the fee is too high for the recommended treatment or is the amount of the fee difficult for you right now? Perhaps the best way we can help you with your decision is to review the benefits of having the treatment and the risk of not having it. By going ahead with the recommended treatment, you will prevent potentially a small problem getting worst which consequently needing extensive and expensive treatment at later future times. And in terms of appearance, the treatment will put you on your way to smile anyone would be proud of.
Q: Why are dental procedures so expensive?
A: While most people wouldn’t mind a brighter or straighter smile, it’s pretty rare to find someone who actually enjoys visiting the dentist, even for basic cleanings. For many, the discomfort of having a veritable stranger taking metal picks, tubes, scrapers and other tools to their wide-open mouths is too much to bear. And given the country’s ever-tightening financial waistband, there’s another aspect of seeing the dentist that’s equally daunting: the bill.
Those who have visited a dentist — or considered it — in recent years know that even the most basic dental procedures can be quite costly. Dental fillings can range from more than $100 to nearly $300 each, depending on the size of the filing, while more invasive and time-consuming procedures like a crown or molar root canal go for about $1,000 per tooth or more.
There are a number of reasons why dental procedures are so expensive. First, services are performed by trained professionals. Dentists are doctors who go through many years of college, dental school and specialized) training. Like many other professionals — lawyers, accountants, expert mechanics — dental services are priced accordingly.
The big boys, of course, play with big toys. The tools on hand at a general dentistry practice include highly specialized equipment that is not only pricey to purchase, but also to maintain. Film X-ray machines cost upwards and newer digital models go for more. A simple dental chair with the necessary light, trays and hookups, meanwhile, costs a lot. This, of course, doesn’t take into account the costs of surgical tools, as well as the anaesthesia and other medications used in procedures such as root canals and filings. Additionally, dentists often turn to third-party labs and other dental product companies for things like crowns and dentures, which can also drive up the costs of certain procedures
Yet tools, drugs and lab work aren’t even the most costly part of doing business for many dental professionals. Overhead costs of running a dental office are huge. Anywhere from 60% to 80% of what a patient pays goes toward the expense of running a modern dental practice. Dentists pay for rent or mortgage payments on their office space, payroll for hygienists, office managers and receptionists, health insurance, taxes, supplies, business insurance and technology — just to name a few. “A lot of people would be surprised to know how tight the profit margins are.
Q: Why do Cosmetic and General Dentist costs vary so much?
A: The cost of dental care services varies for a number of reasons, including:
- The health and quality of the underlying teeth and gums. This can vary dramatically from patient to patient. We like to use an analogy when it comes to the quality of teeth and gums. It is a bit like comparing the foundations of your house; if they are not strong, then it is hard to build a brilliant new extension on the old house.
- The type of material used. Whether composite (plastic), ceramic or gold materials are used will have a strong bearing on the costs of your dental procedure. Different materials vary greatly in terms of both time preparation and the number of visits required.
- What treatment or procedures you actually need
- How extensive and what level of treatment you need
- The current condition of your teeth
- Your level of health insurance (sometimes health insurance does not cover the cost of treatments such as cosmetic dental procedures)
- The scope of treatment required; whether one or multiple teeth are involved
- finally, how durable and how perfect you want the final result to be. Are you happy with a good wool carpet for your home’s floorings or are you expecting Italian marble?!
It is important to keep in mind that, when it comes to dental care, the age-old adage is true: you really do get what you pay for. Cheap dentistry is exactly that. The better the quality of your dental treatment, the more likely it is to last for years, or even the rest of your lifetime (if carefully maintained). The boost to your confidence and self-esteem, as well as the actual functioning of your teeth and mouth, should be above looking for the cheapest bargain!
Q: Does my dental Insurance Cover Cosmetic Dental Work?
A: Like medical plans, most dental plans do not cover cosmetic dental work significantly. Dental Insurance will cover some cosmetic dental procedures but not others. Fixing a chip in a front tooth could be considered “cosmetic” and would be covered by dental insurance to a certain extent. Almost no procedure, with the exception of preventative care, is covered at 100% by dental insurance.
In our practice, I have seen insurance cover part of cosmetic porcelain veneers and bonding, which will help reshape, align and change the colour of front teeth. A lot of this depends on the specific insurance plan and the reasons for doing the treatment. Check your dental benefit package to find out if you have cosmetic. Or contact your insurer. It’s always a good idea to submit a pre-determination to an insurance plan to see if desired treatments are covered.
Dental insurance will never cover bleaching or tooth whitening. Talk with your dentists about what sort of cosmetic procedures you would like done, and they can give you a better idea of your coverage.
But before you get so down that the concept of smiling becomes irrelevant, make a quick call to your dental benefits provider. You should be able to get some answers there. And while you’re at it, call your dentist. He or she may be able to offer some lower-cost financing options that fit into your budget — and that is truly something to smile about, even if your teeth aren’t perfect!
Q: Dental Insurance coverage of Cosmetic dentistry cost
A: Dental insurance will often help make your dental care more affordable. Purely cosmetic dentistry procedures are not covered by insurance, but many dental procedures have both cosmetic and health-related purposes, so cosmetic dentistry is often partially covered by dental insurance.
If insurance does not cover your procedure, or does not cover enough of the cost to make your procedure affordable, we work with financing companies that can help you stretch your budget to fit the cost of treatment. Whether you need as little as $200 or as much as $50,000, we offer options for you
Q: Why do dentist costs vary so much?
Dentists are free to set their own fees. Unlike medical services covered by Medicare, which have prescribed rebates and for which the AMA provides their members with recommended fees, there are no standard fees for services provided by dentists or other dental professionals in Australia.
Dentists’ prices depend on a range of factors – such as location, overheads, experience as well as factors that affect the degree of difficulty and time involved in doing a procedure on a specific patient and differences in the method or materials that are appropriate to each case.
You ultimately have the right to choose whether to go ahead with a particular treatment plan or not, but most of us don’t have expertise in dentistry. This makes it hard to know whether a dental practitioner’s recommendation is the best course of action or if they’re trying to make a profit at your expense.
Q: Does Medicare cover Dental Treatment?
Dentistry is still unaffordable for many Australians. Research from AIHW in 2013 found that 35% of adults had avoided or delayed going to the dentist due to cost, a figure which has been on the rise since the 1990s.
Unfortunately, dental services are only covered by Medicare under certain circumstances.
Public dental care
Public dental care is available only to a limited segment of the Australian population and waitlists can be long. Eligibility requirements for public dental care vary across states and territories but it is usually available to those with a healthcare or pensioner concession card.
In case of a dental emergency such as a dental condition that causes difficulty with breathing, tooth fracture that exposes a nerve or bleeding that doesn’t stop, call your nearest community dental clinic or hospital emergency department.
Free dental care for children
Under the Child Dental Benefit Scheme, children aged between two and 17 are eligible for free basic dental care such as check-ups, fillings, seals, extractions and root canal (up to the value of $1000 over two calendar years) if their parent, carer or guardian receives the Family Tax Benefit Part A or a relevant Australian Government payment.
Q: Private health insurance and dental costs
When it comes to dental costs and private health insurance, there are two elements you’ll want to understand in order to choose a provider that offers you the best value for money:
- Rebates: This may be a percentage such as 60% or fixed dollar benefit amount for each item number, and is probably where you’ll save the most money.
- Preferred provider networks: Some funds have ‘preferred providers’. Using these means you’ll pay less in fees and get higher rebates, but it locks you into using particular providers.
To get value for money on your extras insurance you’ll need to make sure you’re getting more back from the fund than what you’re paying them in premiums, which is where rebates come in.
The average rebate available from private health insurers for a regular check-up – periodic exam, scale and clean plus fluoride – is $126. Though how much you get back will depend on your policy – some policies offer as much as 100% of the cost of a check-up.
Some policies offer as much as 100% of the cost of a check-up
Dental rebates vary not only across funds but also between policies within funds and for the service being claimed. Funds also don’t publish the rebates they offer for all items of dental treatment in all circumstances, so check if you need special treatment before you sign up.
Watch out for annual and lifetime limits
In addition to the rebates, you’ll also want to check the annual limits for each category (for example, there may be different upper limits for general and major dental work), as well as lifetime limits on particular services (such as orthodontic work).
Expect to pay more to cover major dental work
While nearly all policies will provide rebates for preventative dental care such as check-ups (exam/scale and clean/fluoride), fewer policies are willing to fork out for more expensive work such as braces and crowns. For those policies that do cover major dental work, the premiums will generally be more expensive.
Q: Will my private health insurance cover the cost of treatment?
A: Depending on your level of dental (extras) coverage will determine what and how much treatment is covered. Most treatment is claimable through your insurance but rebates do vary. At your consultation appointment which you are able to claim as long as you have a minimum of basic extras cover, you will receive a treatment plan and quote that will contain item numbers you can take back to your private health insurance. They will let you know what and how much you are covered for.
Q: What does private health insurance cover?
- Preventative Dental – Covers treatment such as consultations, scale and cleans, and mouthguards.
- General Restorative Dental – Covers treatments such as simple fillings and extractions, including wisdom teeth removal.
- Major Dental and implants – Covers complex treatments like repairing or replacing teeth, such as with a dental crown.
- Orthodontics – Covers treatments that assist with the alignment of teeth and the jaw, using braces and retainers.
Q: What does the government cover?
Unlike going to the doctor, where the Australian Government contributes to the cost of consultations and treatment through Medicare, there is no universal government contribution for dentistry.
If you’re not already receiving government benefits and not a senior citizen, there are likely no government benefits for dental treatment available to you or your children.
And if you do qualify, waiting lists may apply.
“Most states have waiting lists of well over a year for public dental care – and if people need to wait a year for care, their conditions are only going to get worse.” – Filling the Gap, a Grattan Institute Study
That said, it’s always worth checking to see if you’re eligible.
Q: Are you eligible for any public benefits?
The public system does provide some dental care support – but it’s only for people who meet specific criteria.
Public Dental Services
What’s offered and who is eligible depends on the state – but it usually focuses on senior citizens and people already receiving other government benefits.
Q: How to prevent dental costs
Finally, the simplest (but sometimes hardest) solution. Forming good habits is the best way to protect yourself from preventable dental issues. The most affordable way to manage the health of your teeth and gums is through regular brushing, daily flossing and dental check-ups every year — all the stuff the toothpaste ads constantly tell us to do.
Consider your budget, think about the dental cover, consult with your dentist – do what you can to plan ahead for dental costs wherever possible. The decisions you make now really can have a long-term impact on the health and wellbeing of your family.