Finally, a reason for dentists to smile

  • By Zilla Efrat

Veneers and teeth whitening are back in vogue as Aussies start spending on a part of their bodies hidden behind a mask for the best part of two years: their teeth.

Compared to six weeks prior, dental work across Australia has seen a resurgence with recent HICAPS data from NAB showing the number of transactions at dental clinics since Victoria’s “Freedom Day” have grown by 41 per cent. Transactions are now above pre-pandemic levels.

Nationally, over the same period, transactions have grown by 22 per cent which translates to an additional 1,057,393 private health insurance claims.

NAB’s executive for business banking, Michael Saadie, says the bounce back is good news for a sector hit hard by the pandemic.

“The past two years have been tough for many businesses - including medical services - with various lockdowns around the country leaving many clients unable to visit their practice for treatment,” says Saadie.

“We’ve seen as restrictions ease, consumers are getting back out there spending money that’s been sitting in the bank. Sectors such as retail are performing well as people have more disposable income and they want to spend it somewhere. Our data shows dentists are also benefitting from this trend.”

Dr Joseph Badr, founder and principal dentist of Dspa Dental clinics and Dsmilecare foundation has been working in the industry for over 25 years and hasn’t seen the sector take such a hit since the global financial crisis.

“The pandemic has been a wild roller-coaster ride with many of our patients having to put off their regular appointments due to various lockdowns, deferring sometimes major dental work,” says Badr.

“Now that more Australians are vaccinated and the country has opened back up, Aussies are focussing on their dental health again – a response to procedures people delayed during the peak of the pandemic.

“We’re seeing a resurgence in major procedures such as crowns, full mouth rehab and bridge work. We’re also seeing an uplift in cosmetic work such as veneers and teeth whitening as part of an overall increase in spending on personal care and wellness.”

Badr notes medical tourism has come to a halt due to Australia’s national borders remaining closed, meaning Aussies are now getting work done at home.

“People have more time and money because they’re not travelling internationally, so instead of spending it overseas, they’re coming in to get work they previously would have had done elsewhere,” he says.