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How much is dental insurance in NZ?

24 Jul 2018

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Dental for adults in New Zealand can be expensive

In New Zealand basic dental care is free and available up until the age of 18 for eligible children. This can set the stage for adults to have a healthy relationship with their dentist and drives home the importance of looking after your teeth.

Unfortunately, compared to other countries in the world like the UK, dental treatment for adults in New Zealand can be much more expensive. So some people would rather take the risk and put up with bad teeth, rather than visit a dentist.

The costs of dental care

Prices dentists charge in NZ are not regulated by the government as they are in the UK, so the cost of treatments can vary markedly from one dentist to another. Some people who can’t afford to see a dentist in the city may choose to travel further afield to a smaller town for checkups, and even overseas for major treatments like root canals.

The table below gives an idea of approximate, average dental treatment costs in New Zealand:

Check up with x-rays $120
Fillings $150-320
Extraction $230
Root canal $740 - $1,160
Ceramic crown $1,400
Single tooth implant $2,800

Why avoiding the dentist can lead to higher costs

There are two types of dental goers. The ones who go to their dentist religiously every year for a checkup and every six months for a dental hygiene appointment, and the ones who avoid going to any dentist.

The former know that regular dental care is important because if problems are picked up early it can mean saving thousands of dollars. Even if they consider what they pay for each visit is a bit steep, they won’t miss an appointment.

The latter are people who are either afraid of dentists, don’t see the point or can’t afford to pay for regular dental care. These people may need extensive dental care at some point or other in their lives for:

  • Tooth decay
  • Fillings
  • Broken teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Root canal
  • Dental pain

Dental insurance and approximate costs

Dental insurance in NZ is often an add-on to a wider health insurance plan rather than stand-alone dental plans. This is because if you have an injury through an accident you can get ACC to cover some of your dental treatment costs. Low-income earners may also be able to get emergency dental treatment through WINZ. Check the NZ Government website for more information.

Having health insurance that covers dental can ease the cost of regular yearly checkups and a six monthly/yearly clean. Dental is usually classed under ‘everyday’ benefits for policies with nib and provides a percentage that you can claim back up to a certain limit. With nib’s Standard Everyday health insurance policy you can claim 60% back on a range of dental treatments up to your annual limit of $750 including examinations, cleaning, fillings, x-rays and orthodontics.

Some dentists do offer stand-alone dental plans for a low price (such as $1 per day) that cover a basic range of treatments per year. This might include:

  1. A consultation including examination and x-rays
  2. Two dental hygienist visits
  3. A discount off additional treatments
  4. Unlikely to include extractions, orthodontics or implants.

Benefits of health insurance that covers dental

Visiting the dentist regularly for a check and clean is the best way to nip an issue in the bud before it gets out of hand and forces the need for major dental treatment. But if you do need extra treatment at any stage, it can be a relief to know that by having health insurance that covers dental you can claim back some of the cost of crowns, bridges, and removal of those pesky wisdom teeth.

One of the benefits of having health insurance that covers dental is that it can offer a wide range of cover for things like general and major treatments, and orthodontic work. While you might be vigilant about taking care of your teeth and visiting the dentist, it’s no guarantee that you won’t need an expensive treatment down the track.

So why not avoid the stress of paying for dental care in the future? Get a dental insurance quote from nib now.


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