Aussies delaying dental work

Many Aussies are planning on delaying dental care due to the rising cost of living, despite dental treatments not rising in price. (iStock)

A recent survey conducted by AirSmile has found that almost 71 per cent of Australians plan to delay dental treatments for at least 12 months.

Conducting a survey through an independent panel of 1008 Australians, online dental comparison and booking platform AirSmile has found that people were more likely to delay what they thought to be the least essential services, dental checks and treatments, despite dental services avoiding price increases as heavy as other services in the last year.

71 percent of Aussies will delay dental work for at least 12 months as a result of the rising cost of living. More than half of Australians also revealed they can’t afford dental services beyond receiving a consultation, while 41 percent believe that health cover makes little difference to dental bills.

Respondents of the survey were presented with 12 of the most common dental treatments and were asked to list them in order, beginning from least essential. At the top of the list was checks and cosmetic work, followed by non-urgent dental treatments and pain-related treatment.

43 percent of survey respondents said they would delay checkups and dental cleans, 40 percent would delay cosmetic dentistry such as veneers or whitening, and 32 percent would delay teeth straightening services such as braces.

Dr Heath Fraser is a dental surgeon, cosmetic dentist and founder of AirSmile, and says that the survey results align with the experiences he has had across his three Queensland practices.

“I am concerned that some patients this year are beginning to skimp on dental services – on more than one occasion, I have had patients ask me to extract, rather than save, a tooth to avoid the costs of treatment,” Dr Fraser says.

“While this phenomenon is due to incomes being increasingly stretched as inflation impacts household finances, it is ironic as dental costs have not increased in line with other goods and services.”

54 percent of respondents said they could afford up to two preventative visits in a year, at a value of approximately $400.

Dr Fraser’s top five tips for affording dental treatment:

Look for no-gap dentists.

Shop around to find health cover with a good dental rebate.

Arrange a payment plan or consider accessing your super for urgent treatments.

Ask about the possibility of a discount.

Shop around to find the most competitive dental services.

“Aussies may be deprioritising dental to ease their personal financial stress, but delaying dental appointments can have serious health implications if a dental issue goes undetected,” says Dr Fraser.

“Poor oral health has been linked to health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and risk of stroke. It is important for Aussies to maintain regular dental checks and treatments to improve their overall health and wellbeing.”

AirSmile is an online comparison tool designed to help you match with the dentist perfect for your budget and care requirements. For more information, visit