Having second thoughts on dental work because of the cost? Getting early treatment is essential to avoid more serious and expensive dental procedures later. But with the current dental care cost in Australia and the limited Medicare coverage, we understand why it’s such a dilemma for many. Luckily, there are ways to save a few dollars and keep the cost down so you can continue to have a healthy smile.
Check Your Eligibility for Any Public Benefits
Although limited, the public healthcare system provides some dental care support for people who meet certain criteria.
Public Dental Services
Our government provides dental services for both children and adults. Although, the dental coverage, initiatives, and eligibility vary from state to state. The benefits may include emergency dental services or referrals to specialist services, like orthodontists or surgery in hospitals. Most likely, senior citizens, children, and those already receiving other government benefits will be covered. You can check the Department of Health’s website to see dental services offered by your state.
Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CBDS)
If you’re already receiving other Medicare payments, your children may also be eligible for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule. Eligible kids aged 2 to 17 years old are entitled to up to $1000 over 2 calendar years for routine dental services, including check-ups, cleaning, X-rays, fillings, and extractions. It does not cover orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry, or any dental services in a hospital though.
School Dental Services
The government also offers some free dental treatments through school dental services. Your children’s eligibility, coverage, and treatment centres vary via state. These services typically cover general treatments but do not include orthodontics, cosmetic dental work, or surgery.
Consider Private Health Insurance
Most Australians use private health insurance to help pay for dental care. Each health fund has different policies, including the services they cover, how much they will pay per treatment, and the claims you can make each year.
Most health funds have their dental service coverage detailed under their “General Treatment, Extras or Ancillary” policy. You’ll have to carefully read as they use different terms to describe the range of services they cover. For example, routine dental treatments usually include check-ups, cleaning and polishing, fluoride treatment, tooth extractions, fillings, X-rays, and more. In contrast, major dental treatments may include procedures such as crowns, veneers, bridgework, implants and dentures.
If you want to study the policies offered by different private health funds, check out the Australian Government’s private health fund aggregator that lists all health insurance products available in Australia.
Compare Costs in Your Area
There are no standard fees for dentists. Prices will depend on the location and each clinic. With the number of clinics present in every major city, suburb, and regional area in Australia, you’ll get a wide variety of costs per procedure. That’s why it’s vital to compare prices where you live; you can save money from changing from one dental clinic to another. Study the average costs in your territory by checking online or directly asking the clinic. Remember though, you want to be sure you will still get a quality service, so be careful of prices that seem too good to be true.
Use a Payment Plan
Along with checking dental service prices, it’s also advisable to compare payment plans. Payment plans allow you to pay for the full treatment cost over time, which helps you squeeze in a high-cost treatment within your monthly budget. There’s a catch though. Not all dentists accept payment plans, so you need to talk to your dentist. You may also need to pass strict requirements, including credit and income checks, and being an Australian citizen. And just like any credit, these plans typically involve fees and interest payments.
Keep Up With Your Routine Oral Care
They say prevention is the best treatment. That’s why the best way to reduce your dental care cost is to take care of your oral health everyday. This includes simple habits, such as brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing once a day, and limiting sugar in your diet. Moreover, scheduling regular trips to the dentist will significantly reduce your cost in the long run, as they can catch oral issues before they become serious. Remember, healthy oral care improves overall dental health and prevents future oral problems.
Don’t Let High Dental Fees Affect Your Oral Health Care
Some dental treatments can seem dauntingly expensive to the point that they may discourage you from getting the treatments you need. However, having a healthy mouth is paramount to your overall health. Studies show that infections can start in the mouth and go on to cause heart and lung diseases, diabetes, strokes and more. That’s why with these tips, we hope you’ll find smart ways to deal with any dental costs and look after your oral health. Keep smiling!