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Dental Health Insurance in Australia

Megan Fraser Fact Checked Updated: 26 September 2023
Types of Health Insurance
dental health insurance 2

Maintaining good oral hygiene is a crucial aspect of overall health. It not only helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease but also has a significant impact on systemic health. Poor oral hygiene can lead to various health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and even stroke.

Regular dental check-ups are an essential part of oral hygiene and can help detect early signs of any oral health problems. Early detection of such problems can prevent them from becoming more severe and requiring more invasive and expensive treatments. This is why it is important to have the right level of cover for your personal requirements.

Key facts

  • Regular dental check-ups can detect early signs of oral health issues, preventing future complications.
  • Medicare in Australia has limited dental coverage, leading to many out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Dental cover is typically included in Extras health insurance, separate from Hospital insurance.

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What is dental cover?

Dental cover is a term used to describe the specific benefits and provisions offered by an insurance policy or health plan that caters to dental care needs. It encompasses a range of services, from routine check-ups and cleanings to more complex procedures such as root canals and orthodontic treatments.

The primary goal of dental cover is to reduce the financial burden associated with dental care, enabling individuals to access necessary treatments without being deterred by cost. By having dental cover, individuals can avoid the high expenses often associated with dental procedures and promote regular dental visits and proactive oral health maintenance.

How does dental health insurance work?

Dental insurance is usually included in Extras health insurance, which is separate from Hospital insurance. Extras insurance is a more cost-effective alternative that provides coverage for services received outside of the hospital environment, such as dental care, vision care, and physiotherapy, which Medicare does not cover. Dental insurance can work in different ways, depending on the policy.

What does dental insurance cover?

Here’s a breakdown of what dental insurance can cover:

Can I get Dental Only Cover

It’s rare to find a standalone policy exclusively for dental treatment; most dental services fall under Extras policies, covering areas like physiotherapy, optical, and chiropractic care. Hospital insurance typically doesn’t cover dental treatments since they’re often conducted outside of hospital settings. However, combined policies can offer coverage for dental procedures both in and out of hospitals, making them ideal for those requiring surgeries like wisdom tooth extraction and subsequent dental visits.

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Compare Dental Cover

Insurer (Policy Name)Monthly Premium (before rebates/discounts)General DentalMajor DentalOrthodontic
Australian Unity Health Limited (Prime Extras)$102.25$900 per policy (2 months waiting)$900 per policy (combined with endodontic, 12 months waiting)Limits increase with time: Year 1-3:$700, 4:$800, 5:$900, 6:$1,000; Lifetime Limit $3,200 (12 months waiting)
ahm health insurance (Super Extras)$120.50No annual limit (Sub-limits apply)$1,100 per policy (Sub-limits apply)$900 per policy, $2,900 lifetime limit
HBF Health Limited (Top 70)$134.30No annual limit (Sub-limits apply, 2 months waiting)$1,000 per policy (combined with endodontic, 12 months waiting)$800 per policy, $2,400 lifetime limit (12 months waiting)
Health Insurance Fund of Australia Limited (Top Extras)$133.50No annual limit (2 months waiting)$1,500 per policy (combined with endodontic, 12 months waiting)$1,000 per policy, $2,500 lifetime limit (12 months waiting)
Medibank Private Limited (Top Extras 90)$164.15No annual limit (2 months waiting)$1,200 per policy (combined with endodontic, 12 months waiting)$1,000 per policy, $3,000 lifetime limit (12 months waiting)
CBHS Corporate Health Pty Ltd (Ultimate Extras 75)$157.69$2,000 per policy (2 months waiting)$1,200 per policy (combined with endodontic, 12 months waiting)$900 per policy, $2,700 lifetime limit (12 months waiting)
Bupa HI Pty Ltd (Top Extras 90)$185.75No annual limit (2 months waiting)$1,200 per policy (combined with endodontic, 12 months waiting)$1,400 per policy, $2,800 lifetime limit (12 months waiting)

Source: Privatehealth.gov.au(September 2023; Premium estimates for a single individual living in NSW)

dental illustration

How to choose cover for dental treatment

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Frequently asked questions and answers

  • Does health insurance cover dental in Australia?

    In Australia, general health insurance does not automatically cover dental treatments. Dental coverage is typically provided under Extras health insurance policies, which are separate from standard Hospital insurance. These Extras policies can cover a range of dental services, from routine check-ups to more complex procedures. However, the extent of the coverage varies depending on the specific policy and insurance provider.
  • Is health insurance worth it for dental in Australia?

    Whether health insurance for dental is worth it in Australia largely depends on an individual’s dental health needs and financial situation. Having dental insurance can significantly reduce out-of-pocket expenses for dental treatments, especially for those who require regular check-ups or anticipate needing major dental work. However, it’s essential to compare the cost of the premium with potential savings on dental treatments to determine if the insurance offers good value for money.
  • How can I fix my teeth if I don’t have money?

    If you’re facing financial constraints and need dental care, there are several options to consider. Many dental schools offer reduced rates for treatments as students (under the supervision of experienced dentists) perform the procedures. Additionally, some community health centres provide dental services on a sliding fee scale based on your income. It’s also worth checking for local charities or organizations that might offer free or low-cost dental clinics. Payment plans or financing options might also be available through some dental practices.
  • Can dental work be covered by Medicare?

    In Australia, Medicare provides limited coverage for dental services. Generally, Medicare does not cover most routine dental treatments like check-ups, fillings, or cleanings. However, there are specific circumstances, especially for children and some adults with chronic conditions, where Medicare might provide some coverage through schemes like the Child Dental Benefits Schedule. It’s essential to check the specific criteria and conditions under which Medicare would cover dental services.
  • Will Centrelink pay for my teeth?

    Centrelink itself does not directly pay for dental treatments. However, individuals receiving certain Centrelink benefits may be eligible for public dental services at reduced costs or even for free, depending on the state or territory in which they reside. The availability and criteria for these services vary by location, so it’s advisable to check with local public dental clinics or health departments to understand the benefits available to Centrelink recipients.

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