With no set fees and charges for dental treatment in Australia, a tooth extraction can be very expensive without the right cover.
A tooth extraction can be an unpleasant and expensive experience. It can be especially unpleasant in Australia because here, dentists are free to charge as they see fit, just like any other private business.
Although it seems a little extreme, tooth extractions are very common. Despite this, the average cost of a tooth extraction can be anywhere from $150 to $200 per tooth without extras cover. Indeed, a common wisdom tooth extraction will cost you even more.
While the majority of people have a tooth removed as a result of things like tooth decay or gum disease, orthodontists often recommend extractions because of overcrowded teeth. This is often the case when our children gain all their adult teeth.
The type of procedure will also affect the price. A simple extraction usually involves removing a tooth that is held in soft tissue or within a minimum amount of bone. This normally costs somewhere in the region of $75 to $200 per tooth.
A surgical extraction, on the other hand, is needed when more of the tooth is below the gum or bone line and therefore tougher to remove. The total cost of a surgical tooth extraction can range from $150 to $900 per tooth due to things like sedation.
How much does a tooth extraction cost?
As with most healthcare in Australia, you have two options when it comes to getting your tooth taken out: public and private.
While there is some public sector dentistry, such as emergency treatment and child dental services, Medicare doesn't cover a large portion of most dental care. That means that if you rely solely on Medicare for dental, any treatment comes entirely out of your own pocket. Unlike doctors, dentist’s prices are not regulated by Medicare, so you could be hit with a heavy bill.
Because of Medicare’s limited dental cover, extras cover can be a good option. Indeed, dental care is the main reason most people get extras cover to begin with. That’s because you know you’re going to need one or two check-ups a year, if not more, so you’re guaranteed to be there at some point. More than that though, extras helps you budget, eliminating the risk of large, out-of-pocket expenses that you’re faced with if relying solely on Medicare.
What kind of cover do I need for a tooth extraction?
As with the majority of insurance policies, you can choose how basic or comprehensive you want your dental cover to be. The kind of cover you need really depends on a range of factors. Depending on your choice, your policy will cover one or more of the following two treatment categories:
- General dental. Insurers recognise that tooth extractions are very common. Therefore, simple tooth extractions are generally covered under routine dental care. It’s worth keeping in mind that many policies come with no gap on routine dental. This means you won’t be charged for the difference between the cost of your treatment and the insurance rebate received. This can be beneficial as dental health care is very expensive in Australia. Otherwise, there are policies available which give you a percentage of the treatment back. For most of these policies, the average benefit-to-fee ratio is around 60%, so you’ll still have out-of-pocket expenses, but they'll be considerably smaller than simply using Medicare.
- Major dental. Major dental covers more complex procedures like surgical extractions. If your teeth aren't as healthy as they could be or you have ongoing problems, it’s worth looking at a more comprehensive cover.
Below are some options from Finder partners that would cover a tooth extraction. All quotes are based on a single living in Sydney, NSW.
|Health Fund||General dental||Major dental||Cost per month||Apply|
Black 50 Saver
Silver Plus extras
How to recover from a tooth extraction
The following can help minimise discomfort, speed up recovery and help bring back a happy smile:
- Take painkillers as prescribed.
- Apply an ice bag to the affected area immediately after the procedure to keep the swelling down.
- Relax for at least 24 hours after the extraction and limit activity for at least a few days.
- Gradually add solid foods to your diet as the extraction site heals.
- Continue to brush and floss your teeth but make sure you avoid the extraction area.
- Implants are also something many people consider after a tooth extraction and are often covered by insurance.