Half of all Kiwis avoiding dentist due to rising costs

  • 04/03/2024

Nearly half of all Kiwis are avoiding going to the dentist due to rising costs, according to a survey by the New Zealand Dental Association.

It found the cost of going to the dentist has risen by nearly 25 percent in three years.

The median cost for an examination has gone up from $74 to $84 during that time, but some other procedures have had bigger jumps - for example, a single root filling is up from $800 to $935.

However, Auckland Dental Association president Dr Lance Mundy on Monday told AM most of the increases were less than inflation.

"There's been significant cost pressures with increases in minimum wage and wages in general, rents, dental laboratory costs across the board," he said.

"Especially over that time period there's been significant cost increases and it's sort of just the cost of business that dentists unfortunately have to pass on.

"Certainly we recognise that the cost of dentistry is high and it is difficult for a lot of the population to be able to access that dental care so there have been some changes such as the Work and Income grant which is available for certain people and that's gone from $300 a year to $1000 a year."

Looking at regions, the high prices are worse for those in Otago and Southland, but Dr Mundy said it was difficult to know why.
He believes the statistics may be swayed by a smaller sample size taking the survey.

"Otherwise in terms of the differences between the regions it could well be because of staffing or rent costs or differences like that."
Meanwhile, the survey found cheaper regions are north of Auckland.

When asked what could be done to encourage Kiwis to go to the dentist, Dr Lundy said there was no easy answer.

"Certainly it would help if there was Government subsidy, at least then people would still have the motivation to go to the dentist and be responsible for their own dental care."