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 scale/polish$94 – $140
Check up with x-rays and scale/polish$120 – $179
Amalgam filling (one surface)$125 – $180
Amalgam filling (two surfaces)$175 – $230
Composite filling (molar)$210 – $280
Extraction$189 – $250
Porcelain Veneer$1,100 – $1,490
Composite Crown$310 – $450
Porcelain Fused Metal Crown$1,205 – $1,500
Molar Root Filling$990 – $1,300
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.

47 thoughts on “Dental Costs in New Zealand”

  1. After waiting almost a year on the public system for my 3yr old on the “urgent” list for a tooth extraction and fixing his undeveloped molars we could not take the pain he was in and went private….. had no option.
    He was crying day and night with pain, even got an abscess which no-one cared about…. apparently its manageable with pain killers…. you must just wait I was told……!
    Were quoted $3.5k dentist, $2k Anesthetist, and $2k hospital 0.5 day stay general anesthetic, by the dentist.
    Eye watering, but when your child is in pain and no-one seems to care. What else do you do?

    had the OP done. Great relief, my son is now eating and sleeping. But now thinking about paying that all off.

    Then the bills actually come—- Dentist and anesthetist close to quote.
    Hospital $9.5k!!!!! Really!!
    How on earth is anybody supposed to afford that?
    Now we the ones not sleeping……

    Utterly let down by the public system and private hospital… !
    Absolutely shocking!

  2. I have today paid $400.00 for a Molar tooth extraction after being advised extractions start at $300.
    I also paid $87.00 for a general check up & X-Ray. Have I been ripped off ?

    1. I had a molar tooth extracted today and they charged me $775. I also researched and was expecting between $250-$350, but couldn’t really say anything when the dentist told me it is going to around $750 for the extraction.

  3. I love the comment about how much it costs for education to be a dentist. I’m a teacher, my uni costs were lower, by around half. However, I couldn’t pay and needed to loan the money, it took me ten years to pay my loans. Only make 148k? You poor fella!

    Getting work done overseas… almost anywhere… is cheaper. I was working in Bahrain, I had a crown, filling and clean/scale. I paid less than $400 for the lot. It’s worth looking at the cost of tix once Covid ends…

  4. Dentist commenting here.
    Prices are expensive because of several reasons. Firstly dental treatment is not subsidised by the government after you turn 18. Compared to say a doctor’s visit where the costs are partly subsidised. Secondly, the time, money and sacrifice to become a dentiat are significant (My student loan is 150k). Thirdly, dental materials are expensive! There are only a few suppliers and they do not come cheap. Fifth, setting up a practice is costly, (north of 500k). People think dentists are rich, but we really aren’t. My salary before tax, gst and other expenses was 148k last year. This is a good wage, but there are a lot of other jobs that are paid much higher, that are less scrutinised.

    Dental decay is largely preventable. If you go once a year, and take good care of your teeth, the costs shouldn’t be prohibitive.

    1. Oh if only my dumb self didn’t forget to afford to be able to go the dentist every year and oops I forgot to not have mental illness that prevented me from taking good care of my teeth for a couple years. Its all so simple! The extensive work now required (that i can’t afford) from making it too expensive for preventative care is all my fault duhh!!

    2. for many decades of going to the dentist, I have sat there mute while the dentist chatted to his nurse about ski trips and the like. I have never been on a ski trip and never will – even tho my husband was a high school teacher, we couldn’t afford it . You may genuinely feel hard done by, but I don’t think you know how hard it is for many others. (Also working people pay in full for doctor visits.) Your salary works out to $2846 a week which is a lot. I will say I don’t think I would like to deal with the mouth of patient after patient so you deserve to earn a bit more than average. If the bill was broken down to cost of plant, cost of amalgams, labour, etcetera, the way mechanics and plumbers do it, we might not feel so upset.

  5. Hi
    Is extraction of wisdom teeth under anesthetic included for children of school going age school?
    How would one arrange for this if it is?

  6. I have just had a quote for $2001 for a check up, x rays & 6 fillings. I go to the dentist every year & don’t know how I have 6 fillings. Still think it’s an exorbitant price!! I am on disability & don’t have that sort of money!! I’m going to get a second opinion before I approach WINZ for a loan!!

  7. $1200 in Tauranga for an xray- clean- one filling and two wisdom teeth extractions. This was in 2018, due to the price I’m sitting here in pain with another wisdom tooth that needs to be removed but I cant afford it, I’m still paying off last years dental work.

  8. After reading the above comments, I am not filled with optimism!
    As a pensioner, I am facing a (admittedly short) future of necessary dental work, mainly fillings and extractions, the costs of which seem well beyond my fortnightly allowance. I can only hope for a loan through WINZ or a bank to cover the costs of surgery.
    The last local dentist I attended said essentially just that while actually laughing while telling me! That patronisng attitude is something I have encountered in several dental practices over the past twenty or so years.
    Regulartory measures for the dental industry have been hinted at over the years but have come to nothing. There seems to be no practical reason why they should be an exception.

    1. Dentisry is heavily regulated as a profession, hence the costs…to be compliant you must continue investing in training and equipment.

  9. Update these prices by at least 50%. Just had a wisdom tooth pulled. Cost…$280. This doesn’t include the $160 for a consultation fee with an x-ray. All up, $440. Ripped off in Porirua

  10. I just had one large but straightforward filling done today. $220. In Upper Hutt How on earth are these prices justified? I have two more to do at this price.

  11. These prices are nowhere near what you actually pay. I have just been quoted $1370 for a composite crown today! And that is cheaper than the $1700 I have been quoted by a different dentist last year! And a tooth extraction cost me $380. This is in Auckland please and not even central or a rich suburb! Who on earth can afford that??!!

  12. My adult grandson, student, required treatment. He required 10 major fillings, 1 extraction of a rotten tooth, general anesthetic (with anesthetist) and took around 3 hours. Auckland dentist (my own for 20 years) cost $3,500. Wonderful job done, no pain, and follow up if required. He now goes every 6 months for a check up.

    1. Hi, would you mind telling us whom your dentist is please? It’s hard to find some one you can trust these days.

  13. The costs shown on this site seem to be somewhat out of touch with reality as the comments have shown. My recent experience was a 10 minute small filling $250. That was after a 10 min checkup which cost $180. No wonder folk on low incomes just don’t go to the dentist. Dental treatment is for the well off only.

    1. I had to go to bank for a loan to get my fillings all done clean and polish. $1200 and something all up. I was pregnant at the time so they said 1 tooth had to have temporary filling done because I was pregnant and they couldn’t blah blah blah. So I got half done went back for the last lot and I had already paid all of it the first round. When I went in for the last treatment they tried to charge me again for polish and clean. Good thing I made them do the job first. And hit them up saying I told them to add it all up so I could pay it all that way when I went back I would have to pay nothing and on the first visit I made the lady confirm everything was paid for even the polish and cleaning which she did. Then when I told them that they looked at each other then decided oh ok then we won’t charge you, why didn’t you say before we started the work. Honestly I feel like their just as bad as mechanics fix one thing and tamper with another so you can back! Anyway I went back yesterday and they told me I had cavity in a tooth it requires 3 surface fillings =$250 and right beside the tooth that needs fillings is where the last lady done fillings exactly the same size as the one that needs fillings now! And then the slap me with a consultation $45 fee! And here I was thinking a free exam! I think don’t fall for cheap vouchers online because they will only slap you with more Bill’s later on to make up for the cheap advertised vouchers!

  14. Dentists in NZ have it way to easy. In general they don’t have to advertise, they don’t have to travel to the client, they can charge what they like in what appears to be an unregulated industry, it is a cash business with clients required to pay before they leave, they have no invoicing and no bad debts, and they make no attempt to justify their outrageous costs. Curiously they even seem indignant that we think they are fleecing us.

    If materials and other overheads are so high then it would behove dentists to have a campaign of explaining these costs. However, that will never happen as it would expose the unjustified profit margins. The profession has chanced upon the perfect business model for making money with little more than doing the job they are paid to do.

    1. I share you pain in high dentists costs. However you seem a little deluded. If it really is ridiculous profits for nothing then why doesn’t everyone become dentists?… oh yeah, you need to be smart enough to get into med school, study for 7 years and end up with a huge student loan. There is not many people willing to put in the hard work, with enough brains to become dentists. Wake up!!

    2. I am sure the setup costs of a dental surgery are astronomical. I don’t like the charges but I think they are reasonable

  15. It is not necessarily true that city dentists are cheaper I live in Alexandra and was astounded when a composite filling cost $245 today I wax out in less than half an hour and did not have any painless

    1. I had a filling yesterday which took 35 minutes.The cost was a nicely rounded $400.This equates to something well north of $600 an hour.No matter what lame justifications they come up with, they will always struggle to convince me.

  16. I live in Auckland, yesterday i went to a dentist that advertises as good value, 3 fillings and a couple of x-rays cost me $733.00. also got quoted for an extraction($450) and implant ($5200)

    Hate to see what the expensive dentists fees are like!

      1. I met with a doctor yesterday to check on my wisdom tooth. They didn’t even know what my problem was. They put me down for an extraction and in the end I didn’t get the tooth extracted because it was complicated. I had to pay $330 for an x-ray and a 10 minute doctor visit. They are just milking people like some kind of cash cow

  17. just been advised i need to spend $1800 for a crown. i see some dentists offer grab one deals of $699 but I am worried they may be inferior quality. Has anyone received one of these “cheap” deals? If anyone reading this is a dentist, would they recommend it?

  18. Got a tooth fixed today $350,luckily I can afford it.I feel for people on low incomes with a family to support.That is a lot to spend, for in my case one hours work.I tell my grand children to be dentists,they may be driving Range Rovers before they reach thirty.

  19. Just paid $230 yesterday for an Xray to confirm what I’d told them – that I had an abscess under a root canal crown. I kept the tooth as it’s a good crown. Just discovered they’ve left part of the tooth. I’m terrified at what they’ll want yo charge to remove the remaining piece which will now be a much bigger job. I’m in Christchurch. No wonder my mouth is still painful.

  20. Had an extraction yesterday in Masterton ,took twelve minutes cost me $370.80 absolutely disgusting especially as I had an appointment two weeks earlier and had X-rays and was told my options and that cost $170 ,and then had to wait with a tooth ache for two weeks .?

  21. 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)

  22. 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.

    1. I must say, I do agree with you, and what you’re eluding to is it’s all about relativity.

      If you think about it, how much does it cost you to take care of your teeth to begin with? less than a months worth of credit – which would last you if not as long, but longer.

      And what happens if you don’t look after your teeth? you need to visit the Dentist.

      Sure, there are accidents, and other ways your teeth can get damaged, or it might just be hereditory – in which case it’s just pure bad luck. But, most of the time, future dental costs are self-inflicted.

      Of course, most people are ignorant, and don’t think about that until the damage is already done and you’re faced with a seemingly expensive dental cost – that if you look at it holstically, isn’t that bad at all.

      These days the average and latest smart phone costs you well over $1,000, and this doesn’t even include the amount of credit you use, or whatever plan you decide to pick up. Most people replace their phones fairly regularly, and over the span of five years they might buy 1-2, if not 3 phones.

      Now if you visit a Dentist every 6-months, and you need to pay a few hundred dollars, twice a year – compare that to what your spending for something that’s not even that important (and mostly not even fully or properly utilised – like people buying the latest phones with xyz technology and only using it go on social media, making phone calls, playing games – things that a cheaper phone could do).

      How many times do you need to go to the Dentist in the span of your entire lifetime? What’s a few hundred dollars worth when you could be doing something that will not only make you look better, but feel better – and with the right maintenance, be something you’ll never have to worry about paying again.

      The lesson of the day is simple, look after your teeth (and your health) and you won’t need to incur unecessary cost.

    2. In many other countries of the world the dentist fees are way cheaper… Australia and NZ are just ridiculous with that. Just saying!

    3. Have a vacation in Bali for a week in a 4-star hotel and get your teeth treated there in a nice hospital at literally one-tenth the cost. You’ll come home with some money left.
      You can’t win fighting the market price anywhere, just go to a different market.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

    1. 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.

  26. 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 !!

    1. Same here. Went to dentist cost $280. It is a chipped tooth no painkiller. This is suppose to be an affordable dental care. I have a pension care too.

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