The Average Cost of Dental Procedures in 2024

Good oral health is crucial to your overall health and well-being. But seeing the dentist can be very expensive, making maintaining your teeth difficult.
William Jolly  |  

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), poor oral health can cause pain and impact people’s ability to eat, speak and socialise. 

Aussies are usually pretty good at going to the dentist regularly, with half (49%) of adults and 81% of children visiting a dentist at least once in a 12-month period. However, around 33% of people who need to see a dentist either delayed or completely put off seeing one. The most common reason for doing so (40% of respondents) was due to cost.

The proportion of people reporting delaying treatment has increased by 50% over the past ten years. Regular checkups might be affordable, but for many people, the cost of seeing a dental professional for a serious issue is becoming harder and harder to justify.

This article will discuss the cost of the most common dental procedures in Australia, how dental cover works, and some tips and tricks to make dental care more affordable.


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The most common dental procedures in Australia

Below are some of Australia's most common dental procedures, based on data from the Australian Dental Association. We’ll get into what these typically cost further down.

  • Checkups and cleaning: A dental checkup is a routine examination of the teeth and gums to identify any issues before they become more serious. Dental cleaning involves removing plaque and tartar buildup to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. A checkup may also involve an X-ray, which can cost more.
  • Fillings: Fillings are a restorative treatment used to repair a tooth damaged by decay. The decayed area of the tooth is removed, and the cavity is filled with a material such as composite resin, amalgam or porcelain.
  • Root canals: A root canal is used to treat a tooth that has become infected or inflamed in the pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth). The infected pulp is removed, and the tooth is cleaned and sealed.
  • Tooth extractions: One of the less complicated procedures, tooth extractions are typically performed when a tooth is too damaged or decayed to be repaired with a filling or crown. In some cases, teeth may also need to be extracted due to overcrowding or other orthodontic issues.
  • Crowns: A crown is a dental restoration used to cover a damaged or decayed tooth. The crown is custom-made to fit over the remaining tooth structure, providing strength and protection.
  • Implants: Dental implants are artificial tooth roots used to support a replacement tooth or bridge. The implant is surgically placed into the jawbone, where it fuses with the bone over time.
  • Tooth whitening: Tooth whitening is a cosmetic treatment that removes stains and discolouration from the teeth. The most common method involves using a bleaching agent that is applied to the teeth and activated with a special light.
  • Orthodontics (braces): Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the alignment of the teeth and jaws. Braces are one of the most common orthodontic treatments used to gradually move teeth into the correct position over time.

Australians are estimated to have spent over $11 billion on these treatments and other common ones, such as bridges, in 2020-21.

How dental works in Australia

The dental industry can be a bit complicated in Australia. While you can just make an appointment, show up, and pay at the counter, this can sometimes leave you 100% out-of-pocket. 

To understand how dental care is covered in Australia, you need to know about our two tiers of healthcare - Medicare and Private health - and how dental is incorporated into each.

  • Medicare: The universal healthcare system in Australia that helps cover the costs of seeing a doctor, getting some medicines, accessing mental healthcare services and more.
  • Private health insurance: Covers the cost of treatment as a private patient in a private or public hospital, as well as extras not usually covered by Medicare, such as dental, optical services, physiotherapy etc.

Does Medicare cover dental care?

Unfortunately, most dental work is not covered under Medicare for most Australians. The patients pay for dental care in Australia, either out of pocket or with help from private health insurance (see below). 

There are some exceptions to dental being covered by Medicare for essential dental services. One notable example is the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS). Under this scheme, children aged 2 to 17 can receive up to $1,000 for their basic dental services.

Each state and territory also provides public dental services for children and adults, emergency dental and certain specialist procedures. To find out what’s available where you live, visit your state or territory health department website:

Does private health insurance cover dental?

The services linked above are only available for certain eligible Australians. For the rest of us, private health insurance is the only way to receive help paying for our dental bills. 

Dental insurance is included in a health insurance extras policy to assist in covering the costs of dental bills. While the specifics can vary from policy to policy, there are two main categories of dental coverage: general dental cover and major dental cover.

  • General dental: generally includes annual checkups, cleaning and fluoride treatments, x-rays, minor fillings, and more.
  • Major dental: covers more complicated and expensive procedures, including complex fillings, root canals, tooth extractions, bridges, crowns, and orthodontics.

Typical waiting periods (how long you need to wait before making a claim after taking out a policy) typically range from two months for general dental to 12+ months for major dental. 

See our article on whether you need private health insurance for a breakdown of the costs of a typical policy.

Factors that affect the cost of dental procedures in Australia

As you’ll see below, dental costs can vary significantly because dentists are free to set their own fees. Services covered by Medicare have prescribed rebates and recommended fees set by the Australian Medical Association (AMA). But dental professionals have no such guidelines. Instead, the cost of dental work in Australia can depend on many different factors, such as:

  • The dentist’s experience and qualifications,
  • The type of procedure and the difficulty,
  • The location (state and city/town),
  • The materials used,
  • The technology and the equipment used,
  • Your level of insurance covered or Medicare coverage (if applicable)
  • Any promotions and discounts you receive

And more. Patients should always consult with their dentist to get an accurate estimate of the cost of their specific treatment plan before proceeding.

The average costs of common dental procedures in Australia: 2024

The cost of the most common dental procedures can be as little as a couple of hundred dollars to tens of thousands. We’ve done our best to highlight the typical cost range for each of these based on information from Smile.com.au, healthdirect.gov.au, The Australian Dental Association and more.

Click the links below to jump to each section relevant to you:

Bear in mind that factors influencing the cost of each of these will be your level of insurance coverage and the dentist you choose.

Routine dental checkups: average costs in 2024

The average cost of a dental checkup depends on different factors, including whether you need X-rays. Generally speaking, the longer you go between checkups, the more expensive the next one will be.

The typical price of a dental checkup is around $200-$300, but it can be much less in some cases.

Checkup & cleanCheckup & clean with X-rays
NSW$241 - $344$331 - $462
QLD$229 - $279$317 - $387
VIC$236 - $344$330 - $466
WA$232 - $289$322 - $401
SA$238 - $284$328 - $430
TAS$254 - $291$350 - $401
NT$265 - $358$355 - $464
ACT$258 - $361$356 - $521
Source: Smile.com.au, Australian Dental Association. These costs are guides only.

Dental fillings: average costs in 2024

The main factors that will impact the cost of a filling include the materials used, the size of the filling, and the number of fillings required. As you'll see below, fillings at the back of the mouth are generally more expensive than simpler fillings in easier-to-reach teeth.

Simple filling - front toothComplex filling - back tooth
NSW$171 - $255$320 - $500
QLD$173 - $205$337 - $415
VIC$178 - $234$318 - $526
WA$159 - $207$312 - $417
SA$165 - $205$327 - $397
TAS$206 - $241$344 - $415
NT$175 - $189$363 - $434
ACT$184 - $250$366 - $440
Source: Smile.com.au, Australian Dental Association. These costs are guides only.

Root canals: average costs in 2024

Root canals can sometimes be complicated, especially when multiple are required. Two main factors can affect the cost of a root canal treatment: the tooth's location and the operation's complexity.

For example, if you've had an infection for a long time, this could make the problem much harder to resolve. Looking at the figures below, you could spend up to several thousand dollars on root canals if you're not careful.

1 root canal with filling2 root canals with crown4 root canals with crown
NSW$784 - $971$2,867 - $3,471$3,433 - $4,271
QLD$853 - $1,077$2,920 - $3,552$3,582 - $4,382
VIC$814 - $1,042$2,819 - $3,744$3,429 - $4,748
WA$747 - 785$2,644 - $3,134$3,200 - $3,856
SA$854 - $1,235$2,722 - $3,685$3,270 - $4,385
TAS$880 - $1,108$3,151 - $3,869$3,907 - $4709
NT$757 - $907$2,856 - $3,450$3,510 - $4,246
ACT$793 - $1,120$2,911 - $4,030$3,517 - $5,150
Source: Smile.com.au, Australian Dental Association. These costs are guides only. Some data is unavailable.

Dental crowns: average costs in 2024

Crowns can also be an expensive piece of dental work. Costing up to $8,000 and more, the main influencers of your overall cost will be the materials used (i.e. porcelain, ceramics, metal etc.); The number of crowns you need and their size; the location of the crown (front or back); and whether additional services are required (such as root canals or bridges).

Ceramic crownFull metal crownBridge with 2 crowns
NSW$1,718 - $2,070$1,750 - $2,223$4,800 - $6,000
QLD$1,682 - $1,855$1,760 - $2,080$4,585 - $5,727
VIC$1,674 - $2,200$1,747 - $2,600$4,625 - $6,212
WA$1,680 - $1,915$1,659 - $2,201$4,481 - $5,455
SA$1,623 - $2,020$1,598 - $2,100$4,288 - $5,820
TAS$1,819 - $1,995$1,780 - $2,100$5,126 - $6,727
NT$1,892 - $2,036$2,501$5,002 - $6,249
ACT$1,797 - $2,030$1,915 - $2,450$4,780 - $6,312
Source: Smile.com.au, Australian Dental Association. These costs are guides only. Some data is unavailable.

Dental Implants: average costs in 2024

Dental implants are considered a “major dental” treatment and can be very expensive. Based on the figures collected for this article, they’re one of the most expensive pieces of dental work you can buy. 

Your final price for an implant will mainly be determined by your current oral health, the number of implants, the size and placement of the implants, the materials and manufacturer used and more.

Dental implantAll-on-4 implant
NSW$2,792 - $4,044$22,159 - $39,432
QLD$2,601 - $3,616$20,561 - $37,561
VIC$2,860 - $4,147$20,158 - $40,498
WA$3,056 - $3,719$23,083 - $39,226
SA$2,707 - $4,021$18,795 - $27,686
TAS$2,948 - $3,578$21,357 - $38,421
NT$3,130 - $3,315$16,959 - $33,538
ACT$3,075 - $4,297$23,303 - $31,051
Source: Smile.com.au, Australian Dental Association. These costs are guides only. Some data is unavailable.

Tooth extraction: average costs in 2024

Tooth extraction may be necessary for severe toothache or decay. Alternatively, your dentist may recommend removing a tooth if it could be causing other problems, like being in the way of another tooth that requires expensive treatment.

Teeth extractions generally cost a few hundred dollars, which is pretty cheap compared to the other procedures listed. However, a key factor that can make a tooth extraction more expensive is whether it’s a wisdom tooth.

Simple extractionWisdom tooth extraction
NSW$230 - $349$444 - $700
QLD$227 - $273$401 - $532
VIC$224 - $326$425 - $598
WA$202 - $300$406 - $600
SA$227 - $257$394 - $600
TAS$263 - $268$420 - $540
NT$267 - $340$456 - $532
ACT$269 - $335$500 - $670
Source: Smile.com.au, Australian Dental Association. These costs are guides only. Some data is unavailable.

Teeth whitening: average costs in 2024

Teeth whitening is the process of bleaching your teeth to give them a brighter white appearance. It is an increasingly common optional procedure and can be done either at home with a tooth whitening kit or in the chair by a professional dentist.

Based on data from the Australian Dental Association 2021 fee survey, a professional, in-chair teeth whitening procedure will typically cost just over $1,000, while healthdirect states:

  • In-chair teeth whitening can cost between $500 - $1,500
  • While at-home bleaching can be done for $250 - $450 each time

Braces and orthodontic treatment: average costs in 2024

Orthodontics is the specialty dental practice of preventing and managing mal-positioned teeth and jaw issues. Braces - devices placed on crooked or out-of-position teeth to adjust their placement via constant pressure - are one of the most common types of orthodontic treatment. About 300,000 Australians (75% of whom are children) have braces at any time.

While it can be challenging to determine the cost of braces without prior consultation, they can be costly due to the continued treatment needed to maintain them. According to Orthodontics Australia, the total cost of braces can be as follows:

  • Metal braces (traditional braces): $6,000 – $9,000
  • Ceramic braces: $6,500 – $9,500
  • Lingual braces: $9,500 – $15,000
  • Clear aligners: $6,500 – $9,500

Tips for Saving Money on Dental Procedures in 2024

If you’re looking to minimise your future dental costs and avoid paying tens of thousands of dollars for avoidable teeth issues, the best way to do so is to look after those pearly whites. That means brushing twice a day, flossing regularly (at least several times a week), limiting sugary drinks and food, and going to the dentist for a checkup at least once a year.

Other things you can do to save on dental expenses include:

  • Finding a good health insurance policy: Look for a plan that fits your needs and budget, offers good coverage and minimises your out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Using your insurer’s preferred dentists (if any): Some insurers have a network of dental practices that offer better discounts or even no-gap fees. For example, Bupa Dental offers no-gap check-ups for Bupa Health customers, meaning they pay nothing except their regular premiums.
  • Looking for discounts and promotions: Some dental practices offer discounts or promotions for specific procedures. Keep an eye out for these opportunities to save money.
  • Research costs and ask for a quote: Before undergoing any dental procedure, research the cost and compare prices among different dental practices. If you’ve found a dentist that you think you’re happy with, email or call them and ask for a cost breakdown of the procedure before you book it. 
  • Use a payment plan if you need: Many dental practices offer payment plans or financing options to help make procedures more affordable. Ask about these options and choose the one that works best for you.

You can also consider a dental loan if you need help paying for significant dental work.

Need funds for urgent dental work?

Looking after your teeth is essential, but this article shows that urgent dental work could break the bank. There’s nothing worse than having to dip into your hard-earned savings to pay for a root canal or three out of the blue.

Fortunately, our dental loans are available for up to $25,000 and as little as $2,100, so you can be confident that a Jacaranda loan can cover most significant dental procedures.

If your teeth are becoming painful for your bank account and your mouth, check out how our dental loans could help or contact our customer service team.

Written by - William Jolly

Content Manager
William is the Content Manager at Jacaranda Finance. He has worked as both a journalist and a media advisor at some of Australia's biggest financial comparison sites such as Canstar, Compare the Market and Savings.com.au, and is passionate about helping Australians find the right money solution for them.

You can get in touch with William via williamj@jacarandafinance.com.au.
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