New startup dulls the pain of dental work

A new start-up company is poised to take a bite out of mounting dental bills with a basic service capped at $99, giving Australia a chance to raise its declining standards of oral hygiene.

Dental services disruptor Dental 99 has opened two centres in Sydney offering basic services, including fillings of any size and cleaning, for $99 when patients book and pay by phone.

The service has already been approved by the national controlling oral hygiene body, the Australian Dental Association and is planning to eventually go national.

The new company is looking to fill a gaping hole as rapidly rising costs for dental care outstrip inflation figures and move even basic services out of the reach of many people.

“Even a basic clean or filling will set you back around $200,” one patient says.

Very little of a patient’s outlay on dental services is covered by health insurance companies, if at all.

“It’s a lot of money in this day and age where everything is expensive,” he said.

Another patient was quoted as saying that: “people just can’t afford to go to the dentist.

“Budgets don’t always stretch that far.”

The founder of Dental 99 Gamer Veridan told Channel 7 that his company was streamlined toward keeping costs to patients as manageable as possible

“We have four basic services including check-ups and fillings of any size and x-rays for $99.

“We can get you out of pain.”

He said the dental work was carried out by oral hygienists and dentists depending on the complexity and detail of the work involved.

Dental costs are a dominant factor in Australia with many potential patients as frightened of the bill as they are of drill.

That is why an estimated 90 per cent of patients have some form of tooth decay.

Overall Australians spend an estimated $10b a year on dental procedures but four of five of them are understood to be unable to make dental work a financial priority.

Dental 99 could alleviate some of that financial stress and perhaps pave the way for more start-ups to inject themselves into Australia’s overall health industry 

The president of the Australian Dental Association Carmelo Bonanno said Dental 99’s responsibility was to meet existing criteria for patient care. “As long as patients have access to appropriate care, we have no problem with it,” he said.