Your dental specialist may be a member of the Dental Specialist Society of Western Australia (DSSWA), and display the DSSWA logo at their practice and website. You may use the directory on the DSSWA website to confirm that your dentist is a registered dental specialist in Western Australia.
Alternatively, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has an online register of practitioners, which has accurate, up-to-date information about the registration status of all registered health practitioners in Australia.
A registered dental specialist will have ‘Dentist, Specialist’ and their speciality on their registration.
If a practitioner’s name does not appear on the register, they are not registered to practise in Australia.
Dental specialists are dentists who have completed an additional full-time post-graduate degree at an accredited university.
Dental specialists in Australia must have:
- Completed an AHPRA registered general dental degree.
- The equivalent of at least two years clinical experience as a general dentist.
- Completed at least an accredited three-year full-time university degree in their chosen specialty, or its equivalent.
- Be registered as a Specialist in their chosen specialty with AHPRA.
In Australia, it is not necessary to have a referral to see a dental specialist, however some dental specialist clinics are referral-only practices. A referral from your general dentist is sometimes preferable as a dentist and dental specialist often collaborate. By working together in a team setting, your dental specialist and dentist can achieve the best results for your oral health. Alternatively, you may obtain a referral from a medical general practitioner or medical specialist.
The cost of seeing a dental specialist is dependent upon the specialty, the individual patient and the treatment required. Without an initial consultation, it is not possible to provide the treatment cost as each situation differs.
To avoid confusion and unexpected costs, we recommend a personal consultation with a dental specialist, with thorough discussion of the likely expense of any proposed treatment.
It is important to bear in mind that with any advanced procedure, there are inherent risks and you should be in qualified hands. Although an important consideration, cost alone should not dictate your choice of dentist, both specialist or general dentist. Costs may differ depending on many factors including experience and expertise, the complexity of treatment required or material and product selections. Your dental health is of paramount importance and it is imperative that your care is of the highest quality. To repair or correct improper treatment is often complicated and very costly.
When it comes to treatment options and payment plans, your dental specialist and their practice team will be able to discuss your options and answer any questions.
If you have private health insurance, you may be entitled to claim a portion of the cost back from your health fund. However, as every health fund and case is different, it is important to speak to your private health insurance fund about your policy and what is covered.
We recommend patients consider if it will be more cost effective to continue treatment with or without health insurance as individual circumstances differ.
Some dental specialists are ‘preferred providers’ with specific private health insurance funds. This has no connotation on the quality of care you receive; this simply means that the dental specialist has signed a cost agreement with the health fund. The vast majority of dental specialists are independent providers.
Please be wary of private insurance health funds that may direct you to a general dentist ‘dental expert’ instead of a registered dental specialist, without your consent. To avoid confusion, if you have been referred to a ‘dental expert’ by a private health insurance fund, we recommend that you check with AHPRA or DSSWA if the practitioner is a registered dental specialist.
You may find dentists who advertise as cosmetic or implant dentists. These are not recognised dental specialties in Australia, and reflect marketing titles, rather than expertise.
In certain cases, some general dentists may have an interest in implant or cosmetic techniques and have undertaken further training in the field. We recommend that you ask about the training and experience of your dental practitioner to ensure you get the best quality care.