Is the Auckland university dental centre a good deal?
November 14, 2006 12:35 PM   Subscribe

How much does it cost to see a denist in Auckland, New Zealand? Is the university dental clinic really cheaper or should I shop around?

Yesterday my tooth started hurting a lot and I need something done. I'm a student of Auckland Uni so made an appointment with their dental clinic. The University website says "There is a substantial discount on normal dental surgery charges." Over the phone I was quoted $120 upwards for a filling and $40 for consultation fee. I'm flat broke so it's been a couple of years since I saw a dentist, but my last filling cost more like $60 (admittedly in Palmerston North). So is $120 really a substantial discount? Can I get a better price if I look around?

I really am broke, this is going on my credit card and won't be paid off for at least six months. And it really does hurt, I didn't get much sleep last night (was fine the day before yesterday). If it ends up being something more expensive than a filling I'm screwed. My appointment is for Friday so I have a day to possibly look around for a better deal, but is it worth the effort?
posted by shelleycat to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
Best answer: My dentist, based in Ellerslie, charges $45 for a consult and $140 for a simple filling. So I'd say the university dentist's discount is not "substantial" and it could be worth ringing around - especially for dentists in less well-heeled suburbs.

Also, talk to the university.

Student Financial Services

This is a fully confidential service providing information on the funding and scholarships available to students, and financial assistance and budgeting advice to students in hardship. Telephone 373-7599 ext 7494 (2nd Floor, The ClockTower, 22 Princes St), or ext 6678 (Tamaki campus).

I would say that being unable to get your teeth treated may qualify as hardship. When I worked at Waikato University we would certainly have looked at a hardship grant.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:16 PM on November 14, 2006

I second talking to Student Financial Services. I've had a fair bit of experience with them and they do help a lot of students with emergency expenses.

Can't help with a dentist recommendation though, sorry.
posted by nomis at 2:10 PM on November 14, 2006

Yeah you should ring around 2 or 3 other dentists and get a ballpark for a consultation and filling.

I don't recall how much my last one was (at the Symonds St Dental Center), but that doesn't seem as cheap as I'd expect a student dental center to be.
posted by girlgeeknz at 5:38 PM on November 14, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies. I'm glad it's not just me with the cheapness thing. While it's certainly not overpriced in anyway it just didn't feel like a substantial discount.

Turns out one of my friends at work has a dentist father. She's going to ask him tonight about mates rates and how much he'd charge for a filling (heh, she makes him treat all her friends for cheap apparently). He's based in South Auckland at the moment and charges less accordingly (which matches with the comment from i_am_joe's_spleen), so it sounds like it'll be worth it even if mates rates aren't amazing.

I'll also look into the hardship thing from the Uni, particularly if it ends up being more than a straight forward filling. I'm not too sure what my chances are, I have a stipend and earn just too much to qualify for an allowance. It's a pretty small income though and I have very recently spent ~$700 on new orthotics (prescription inserts for my shoes, expensive and totally necessary), so the hardship is real. Even a grant I have to pay back would be better than long term credit card debt, particularly given I have a bit of that already.
posted by shelleycat at 7:38 PM on November 14, 2006

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