Dental Costs in New Zealand


The standard of dental treatment available in New Zealand is similar to that available in other developed western economies.

All school children in New Zealand are entitled to free basic dental treatment. Most schools are visited by dentists who carry out the work during school hours. The free services include: dental examinations, fillings, extraction of primary teeth, placement of fissure sealants and applications of fluorides. As soon as your children leave school they must pay for their own dental treatment.

Most adults are required to pay the full cost of treatment. There’s no fixed scale of charges, so it pays to shop around. Some city-dwellers even go outside the cities for treatment, driving half-an-hour or an hour to smaller towns where treatment can sometimes be cheaper.

The following table should give you a feel for the sort of prices charged in Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington. Auckland dentists tend to be a bit more expensive on average than those in other regions.

Dental ProcedureCost
Check up with x-rays$95 – $150
Check up with Scale/Polish$85 – $120
Amalgam filling (molar)$110 – $165
Composite filling (molar)$130 – $185
Extraction$170 – $220
Porcelain Veneer$900 – $1,300
Composite Crown$280 – $500
Porcelain Crown$1,200 – $1,400
Molar Root Filling$900 – $1,200
Single Tooth Implant$2,500 – $3,000

Some dentists include a scale and polish in the check-up. Others employ hygienists who charge you separately. We’d recommend that you find a dentist who cleans your teeth as part of the check-up as this works out much cheaper. In New Zealand it is recommended that you have a check-up at least once a year.

If your teeth are damaged in an accident your treatment will be heavily subsidised through the government’s accident compensation scheme, ACC.

Adults in receipt of government social benefits get emergency treatment free of charge but this is usually limited to removal of teeth.


  1. Peter Parker says:

    I have just had 2 fillings, time taken 40 minutes. cost $450. , The town Whangarei I am 88 year old and have a community card.,

    I was shocked !!

  2. The price in ChCh is ridiculous for dental treatment, just took my son in for a chipped tooth and he came out for a quote for nearly $3000 dollars! Included composite fillings at $265 each filling! As being a student at Cpit he cant get help from Winz, so we are stuck as cant afford it and the problem is only going to get worse. The Govt needs to step in and do something we are going to have a generation of young adults with severe dental problems, being on a low income myself I cant help. This is just wrong. They are just dentists not rocket scientist’s, yet they charge the earth. This is a major problem.

    • Sorry to hear about your son’s situation Misty. Have you tried a different dentist, or could you ask friends about their dentists and how much they charge for a filling? In my experience, price differences between dentists can be significant. A second opinion about the treatment your son needs might also be helpful. I hope it turns out well for you both.

  3. Tessa Jones says:

    Can I ask for an estimate cost before the dentist begins? I did ask once and the dentist seem annoyed. Often you are shocked at the charges after and there is no choice but to pay.
    I also think as professionals they need to show empathy especially towards those who can’t afford such high dental costs. If they really cared about our nation’s dental well being they should make efforts to care and support us who support them by encouraging us to visit more often.

  4. Dental treatment for children gives two options: amalgam or fluoride based dental materials. If parents would prefer their children to have white composite (inert) fillings, should the need arise, they are required to have the work done privately. The school dental service does not have staff trained in composites and the cost of white composite done privately is on the parents.

  5. You will only understand once you work in the industry. Kiwis are not aware of the overheads, , the time and money it takes to become a dentist. Dentistry is not like a retail store. Most people come for a tooth extraction or a filling and that’s it, you don’t see them for another 3 years. It’s not entirely because of the cost, dentistry is generally unpopular and many people who can afford it do put it off. People who complain dentistry is too expensive usually own the latest iPhone gadget. Most people don’t think it’s wise to spend $450 for 40 minutes. Again, please understand the cost of materials and equipment involved and the sophistication of these fillings. You are forgetting these are surgeons that are working on you.. Many complain about the cost of a root canal or a huge filling. This is where I personally get frustrated. You are only meant to come every 6 months for a check up!!!! If you have tiny holes, they can be filled. Not only you will spend less, you will not have to deal with the pain of a toothache later on. People need to know this industry a little better.

  6. Is dental insurance offered, what is typical cost and coverage?

  7. 450 is what I make in a week working… single mother with 3children it is not easy to just fork out cash when family NEEDS have to be meet.. I need 9fillings yet I am struggling for time and money. My wish is too have my teeth straightened soo I could genuinely smile confidently … I respect dentist yet would be comfortable to at least be able to time payment arrears…at least (mothers dream)

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