How to Manage the Cost of Your Dental Care

Posted on: 22 December 2021

Receiving a high standard of dental care throughout your lifetime is obviously important. However, good dental care can represent a significant financial commitment. On one hand, you get what you pay for. On the other hand, there are some ways to manage the cost of your dental care without compromising the standard of service you'll receive.


Perhaps it seems like a contradiction, but you can save money on dental care by spending money on an appropriate dental insurance policy. Many insurance providers offer what's called gap free dental care. This allows you to avoid out-of-pocket expenses for accessing general, preventive dental care. With standard reimbursements, you will be expected to pay the gap—the difference between the fee charged for your treatment and the value of the insurance provider's rebate. Policies with a gap free provision eliminate this extra charge, allowing you to access general preventive dental care, with the cost already being covered by your monthly insurance premiums. There are some exclusions and limits, and not all gap free provisions are equal, so do your homework before choosing the coverage that best meets your needs.

Method of Treatment

Gap free dental care only covers basic preventive care, which ideally should lessen the need for more extensive treatments. However, this need cannot always be avoided, and you may find yourself needing dental care not covered by a gap free provision (although a portion of the total cost should still be reimbursed by your insurer). Talk to the dentist about the desired outcome of your treatment in relation to the proposed method for achieving this outcome. For example, you might have a permanently discoloured tooth that you wish to correct. Your dentist may suggest affixing a dental veneer to the crown. However, a less expensive option (applying a tooth-coloured composite resin to the tooth's surface) can achieve a comparable outcome at a much lower price.

Price Comparison and Payment Plans

Given the potential expense of some dental procedures, you may wish to perform a price comparison, as you would with any major purchase. You can check the price for the same required dental procedure with other dental clinics in the area. Additionally, many dental clinics recognise the financial implications of the high standard of care they provide. As such, a payment plan may be available. The cost will not be reduced, and may even be increased (if interest is charged), but the cost of repayments can be far easier to manage than paying the fee in a lump sum.

Government Assistance

You may be able to receive financial aid towards the cost of any necessary dental care. This is not an automatic allowance for all Australians, and eligibility varies from state to state. You generally need to already be eligible for subsidised healthcare, such as those who hold a Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card or a Health Care Card. Contact the health department in your state or territory if you're unsure about your eligibility. Eligible persons are generally referred to an approved dentist to receive the required treatment.  

Receiving a high standard of dental care is so very important, but there are ways to achieve this standard while also caring for your finances.