the Australian Dental Association
Written by the Australian Dental Association, Aug 21, 2023
Fact Checked

Over 85% of dental care in Australia is provided in private dental clinics. Private dental clinics may be owned by:

  • large corporate businesses
  • private health insurance companies
  • individual dentists

These clinics may employ a range of dental practitioners. This may include dentists, dental hygienists, oral health therapists, dental therapists and/or dental prosthetists.

Cost of dental treatment

There is no set fees that dental clinics must charge for dental treatments. This means that treatment costs may be different at each dental clinic.

Most dental care is not covered by Medicare. This means that at a private dental clinic you will have to pay for your treatment. If you have private health insurance with extras cover, your insurance may pay for some of the cost. There is often a gap fee that you will need to pay.

There is a small amount of government funding for dental care for some Australians. To access this care, you need to eligable by fitting the criteria set by the government. Children and teenagers, Indigenous Australians, pension card holders, and veterans can often access this care. Some dental treatment paid for by the government can be done at a private dental clinic. Dental Child Dental Benefits Schedule can be used at private dental clinics that are taking part in the program.zaas

Difference between private and government dental care 

At a private dental clinic, you can choose to see whichever dentist you want. You can also access a full range of treatment options. This may include some of the latest technologies.  

At government dental clinics you may not be able to choose your dentist. As well, you may not be able to have cosmetic or more expensive treatments. You may be cared for by an oral health therapist or a dentistry student who is supervised by a dentist. There may also be a waiting period to get an appointment. In some Australian states and territories, you may need to make a small payment for your treatment. 

Tips for choosing a private dental clinic

Here are some helpful tips for choosing a dentist at a private dental practice.

Is the dentist a member of the Australian Dental Association?  

Dentists that are members of the Australian Dental Association have access to the latest guidelines, news, and educational resources. This helps them to stay up to date with changes in the dental profession and the latest research. 
If you need a dentist, find an ADA member dentist near you using our Find-a-dentist search tool.  

Is the dental practice accredited to the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards?  

This means that the dental practice is committed to improving safety and quality for their patients. An independent agency performs an assessment to check that strict internationally recognised health standards are met.