It costs more to see a dentist in the ACT than any other state or territory in the country, according to new data collected by health advocacy group Cleanbill.
A standard ACT dental check-up and clean costs, on average, $275. This is $46 more than the national average.
Visiting the dentist for the first time will set the average Canberran back $364, while the average Australian only pays $297.
People in the electorate of Canberra, which includes suburbs in the city, Woden and Belconnen, pay more to see a dentist for a check-up and clean than anyone else in the country.
The average price is $285 for a standard appointment.
For a slightly cheaper option, Canberrans could try to find a service in the electorate of Fenner, which costs $29 less.
Head a bit further to Hume, which encompasses Goulburn, and you could save $56 or $39 if you go to Eden-Monaro, which includes Queanbeyan.
People in more affluent electorates generally pay more to see the dentist and doctor, Cleanbill founder James Gillepsie said.
"The electorates in the ACT ... are quite expensive compared to other electorates around the country," he said.
"There are very similar trends with the billing practices of dentists as compared to the billing practices of GPs across the country.
"I think that's really reflective of the economic circumstances that you find in individual areas that these practices are having to contend with in order to continue to run."
Canberrans pay more than other Australians to visit the doctor, with ACT offering the fewest bulk-billing services in the country.
The Medicare Benefits Schedule does not cover dental and orthodontic services, but there are some Commonwealth funding mechanisms for some Australians on concessions.
"For just under half of Australians who don't have that private extras cover, the entirety of that bill is going to be footed by the individual who's walking in the door," Mr Gillepsie said.
"Those higher costs are certainly felt."
ACT Health offers some services through community health centres for adults on some concessions, while any child under 14 can go to a dentist for free.
A dentist appointment will set you back more than a trip to the doctor.
A check-up and clean, the most common dental service, is made up of several services, Mr Gillepsie said.
"Having those three or four services that they're offering in that standard offering for a dentist does increase the cost," he said.
Poor oral health is linked to cardiovascular disease, oral cancer, diabetes, stroke, adverse pregnancy outcomes and lung conditions.
A quarter of ACT children aged five to 14 had tooth decay in 2012-14, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Many Australians view dental care as unaffordable, and so will avoid going, Mr Gillepsie said.
"You had 33.4 million Australians in the 2021-22 financial year who didn't go to see the dentist because of concerns surrounding costs," he said.
"And then over 82,000 Australians ... who ended up in hospital with potentially preventable dental conditions had they gone to see the dentist earlier.
"It's difficult to say that those two elements aren't linked."
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