Is expensive dental care preventing you from getting that missing tooth replaced or restoring your smile? A study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare revealed that over 30% of people in Australia avoid visiting a dentist due to cost—at great peril to their long term health.
If you are unhappy with how your teeth look all is not lost, because getting affordable moutn restoration is possible. We give you all the information to find out how.
A Quick Guide to Dental Implants and the All-on-4® Treatment Concept
Dental implants are used to replace unhealthy, dead, or extracted teeth. For those requiring more extensive work, or seeking to replace dentures, the All-on-4® treatment concept by Nobel Biocare restores a full arch of teeth to your upper or lower jaw, or both. Each work in a similar way, by inserting implants into your jawbone. To these implants, a false tooth or set of false teeth (crowns) are permanently fixed.
This type of procedure usually requires two visits to your dentist, the first to place the implants which are then left for four to six months to fuse to your jawbone. On your second appointment, your false tooth or teeth are attached to the implants.
In some cases, particularly if extractions are not required, your implantologist can perform this procedure at one sitting.
What You Will Pay in Australia for These Procedures In Australia
Private dentists can choose what they want to charge in Australia, so the cost of dental implants at one dental clinic will not necessarily be the same at another. The average price offered by Australian dentists for a single dental implant is roughly $5,100, and for the All-on-4® treatment concept it is around $34,000. If that sounds far too expensive for you to afford, use our tips to achieve more affordable dental care.
1. Choose the Right Type of Dental Insurance
Dental insurance is one of the most common ways that help Australians avoid big bills from their dentist, but it is important to know what procedures and materials are covered.. Two main types of dental insurance are available: general dental insurance and major dental insurance, each covering different dental treatments.
General dental insurance covers regular preventative dental care, from x-rays and check-ups to plaque removal and small fillings,essentially a basic level of coverage that aims to stop common dental problems from occurring. On the other hand, major dental insurance provides cover for expensive dental procedures like crowns and dental implants, along with braces and tooth extractions.
Think about what you need before taking out dental insurance . For example, if you are young and your teeth are in good health then general dental insurance should be enough. For older people who have already had fillings and root canal treatment, major dental insurance would be more beneficial as at some point you will probably need crowns or even the All-on-4® treatment concept. As with all insurance, you will of course want to weigh the premiums against the return, and be wary of predatory agencies and scams.
2. Pay in Instalments with Dental Financing
Many Australian dentists provide some type of financing option for high-cost procedures like dental implants, allowing you to pay off your dental treatment over a year or two. Some dentists even offer interest-free financing, although this is usually only available when the full amount is paid off within 12 to 18 months.
Check with your dentist to find out what types of financing options are available and make sure you check the small print on any agreements you sign. While dental financing is a handy way of getting the treatment you need without having to pay upfront, if you cannot keep up with the repayments you run the risk of steep late payment charges and extra interest.
3. Sign Up to a Dental Plan
To enjoy an upfront discount on your dental treatment in Australia, you can join a dental plan. It works much like a subscription, where you pay an annual membership fee in return for money off your dentist bill each time you visit. One such dental plan provider is Smile.com.au, which does not require you to undergo a health check or wait for months on end to be approved.
Smile’s dental plan can be used in conjunction with dental insurance, and in some cases the discount provided covers the excess that you would have to pay for dental treatment.
So where’s the catch? The only real downside to the Smile dental plan is that the dentist treating you must be signed up to the Smile program, so make sure you check before you book your appointment.
4. Visit a Different Country for Dental Treatment
Travelling overseas for dental work is becoming more and more common, particularly for patients who need extensive, expensive treatment. In countries like Thailand and Indonesia, highly-trained dentists can offer cheap dental implants at just a fraction of the price you can expect to pay in Australia.
For example, the average cost of one dental implant at a Bangkok dentist is roughly $2,600, almost half of what you would pay in Sydney. Head to a dentist in Bali and the price drops even more, to around $2,200. Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines offer comparable discounts.
5. Break Up the Cost with MacCredit
MacCredit specialises in payment plans for dental procedures , along with medical and cosmetic treatments too. Opting for a payment plan can give you greater flexibility, whether choosing between fixed or variable interest rates or arranging a repayment schedule that fits your individual needs. Go to MacList.com.au to find a comprehensive database of all the dentists in the country who are partnered with MacCredit.
6. Pay for Your Treatment with a Credit Card
Handing over your credit card when it comes to paying your dental bill is another way to avoid forking out for the total amount in one go. The big problem with borrowing money on your credit card for long periods of time is the interest expense, so make sure you take advantage of credit card rewards, bonuses, and sign-up deals.
If you are offered interest-free purchases on your credit card for 12 months, use it at your dentist. Interest-free balance transfers are another common credit card bonus, which can be economically used by paying your dentist bill on a different credit card before transferring the balance to your credit card with the interest-free bonus.
7. Register as a Dental School Volunteer
You could receive discounted dental work if you volunteer as a patient for dental students at one of Australia’s eight certified dental schools. Cities like Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth all have at least one university with a dental school, and you can find a complete list of Australian dental schools here .
There is often a waiting list for volunteer patients and not all types of dental treatments are offered, depending on specific procedures included in the student teaching program. Eligibility criteria do apply, so check the conditions set out by The University of Western Australia Dental School .
8. Negotiate the Price with Your Dentist
Private dentists set their own prices and these can vary wildly. So it ask local dentists for their price, compare them, and then start negotiating!
You might be surprised at just how much you could save by discussing the cost with your dentist, but they in fact operate just like any other business. More often than not, a clinic will prefer to offer a lower price than lose a potential sale, so it really is worth bargaining a bit, or at least broaching the conversation.
9. Get a Discount with a Cash Payment
Helping your dentist avoid credit card fees could bag you a little more off your dental treatment. Every time a dental clinic takes payment by credit card it costs the business money, so when you offer to pay upfront for your dental work with cash it is hard for them to turn you down.
10. Find Support with GoFundMe
Accidents and illnesses can come out of nowhere, so try fundraising if you find yourself in need of urgent help to fix your teeth. One of the easiest ways to do this is with GoFundMe, a crowdfunding website that connects you with donators from across Australia. One of the best things about this platform is that it costs you nothing to use.
11. Score Online Savings at Groupon
Dental clinics regularly offer discount dental work to attract new patients, so for the latest money-saving vouchers, coupons, and deals head over to Groupon. Offers range from cut-price teeth whitening kits to affordable full-mouth restorations, so make sure you check this website before agreeing on a price with your dentist.
12. Take Advantage of Local Radio and Newspaper Deals
New dental clinics often advertise on local media like radio, billboards, and newspapers, with many offering deals on dental work to get you through their door. Cut out those newspaper coupons, mention that radio advert deal, and use them to your advantage. You can use these discounts as a stepping stone to save more money, particularly when you know your dentist is trying to rustle up more business!
All these tips should be plenty to get you started. If you know about any more ways to reduce the cost of dental treatment in Australia please get in touch, we would love to hear from you.