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Dental Health Insurance in Australia

Megan Fraser Updated: 07 October 2021
Types of Health Insurance

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While having a toothache can be painful, the bill for having it fixed can be even worse. If you’ve needed dental work, you’ll know how expensive these health services can be. People will even think twice about seeking primary care because of the costs involved. This could potentially result in a minor dentistry problem developing into something worse and even more costly.

Health cover that includes dentistry benefits cover can help when you need dentistry services ranging from everyday care to major work. Dental Health Insurance in Australia is offered by several private health funds, typically as a benefit on an Extras policy. Typically, your benefits and level of cover are determined by your insurer.

Key Facts

Dentristy cover is typically offered as a benefit on your Extras policy.
Typically covers General and Major services as well as restorative and orthodontics for braces.
Your insurer usually determines your benefits and level of cover.
Waiting periods range between 2 and 12 months.

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Does Medicare cover dental?

In Australia, dentistry services are generally not covered by Medicare. Most people usually pay for their care out-of-pocket or with the assistance of private health cover. However, all states and territories in Australia provide public dentistry services to its eligible residents, generally, through government clinics.

Eligibility for Medicare dentistry coverage is typically based on your socio-economic status. Concession cardholders and other financially or geographically disadvantaged people usually have access to public dentistry clinics and will receive a limited range of treatment. Waiting periods, fees and subsidies generally vary according to the state you live in.

How does dental insurance work?

Generally, you won’t be able to find dedicated private health cover for dentistry. However, several Extras policies offer extensive benefits for these kinds of treatments. So, if you’d like to apply for dentistry cover, you may want to compare Extras policies from several leading private insurers. This way you’ll be able to find the right cover for your requirements.

Extras policies which include general and major dentristy benefits are designed to help you manage your expenses. The level of cover you choose will determine your benefit limit and the services you can claim for. Generally, only the top range of Extras policies cover orthodontics and endodontics.

Types of dental cover

There are several dentistry services on offer. Typically, these are laid out in four categories for ease of reference and clarity of cover.

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General: Also known as preventative dentistry, these services keep your teeth healthy. These include everyday care such as check-ups, cleaning and custom mouthguards.
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Major: Major dentistry in Australia covers specialised treatments, for example, to repair or replace teeth. Crowns, bridges, endodontics and implants are covered by policies offering this type of cover.
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Restorative: Also known as endodontic, restorative treatments fix common issues with your teeth. Services include basic fillings and extractions.
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Orthodontics: Orthodontic treatments aim to straighten teeth and correct biting, chewing or jaw alignment problems. Braces and palatal expanders are a typical example of treatment in this category.

Does health insurance cover dental braces?

Braces fall into the orthodontics category of dentistry treatments. Typically, health policies that include cover for orthodontics will help you pay for braces. Your choice of health fund and level of Extras you’re covered for determines the amount you can claim and your annual limit.

How to get insurance to pay for braces

If you’d like to claim from your insurer, you’ll need to set up a treatment plan with your orthodontist first. In this plan, your dentist should outline the length of the treatment as well as the potential costs. Once you’ve done this, you can send the plan to your health fund and you’ll generally be able to start claiming benefits.

Waiting periods for dentistry services

When you’ve just purchased health cover or upgraded your current policy, waiting periods apply before you can claim from your insurer. Cover for dentistry is no different.

Insurers set their own waiting periods for Extras and dentistry cover. Generally, you can expect to wait:

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Compare dental insurance policies

Extras and dentistry benefits vary depending on the plan in question. Top Extras plans offer more comprehensive coverage of the four dentistry treatment categories.

PolicyStarting price per monthBenefits
Medibank Top Extras 90$154.75
  • General – no annual limit
  • Major and Endodontic – $1200 combined limit per policy
  • Orthodontic – $1000 per policy ($3,000 lifetime limit)
Bupa Top Extras 90$184.85
  • General – no annual limit
  • Major and Endodontic – $1,200 combined limit per policy
  • Orthodontic – $900 per policy ($2,800 lifetime limit)
  • 4K quality
  • Built-in displaying screen
HIF Super Options$91.90
  • Combined limit for General, Major, Endodontic, Orthodontic & other services – $1,300 per policy
  • Sub-limits apply
HCF Top Extras$102.70
  • General – no annual limit
  • Major, Endodontic and other services – $1000 combined limit per policy
  • Orthodontic – $800 per policy ($2,400 lifetime limit)
HBF Top 70$107.00
  • General – no annual limit
  • Major and Endodontic – $1,000 combined limit per policy
  • Orthodontic – $800 per policy ($2,400 lifetime limit)
  • Sub-limits apply

Source:, February 2021 (Estimates for a single adult with no dependents in NSW)

Best health cover for dental

Each individual is different and needs to find the best Extras cover for oral health based on their specific needs. The best dental insurance plan for you depends on the state you live in, how many people need coverage, the level of cover you want and your general oral health. It might be a good idea to compare your options to find the right oral health cover for you.

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How to choose a dentistry plan?

Factors that will help you determine which Extras policy with dentistry cover is best for you, include:

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Your age: A higher level of coverage is usually required as you get older. Your oral health: Your teeth and gums’ current condition will also help you determine the level of cover you need.
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Your budget: Don’t invest in a policy that you can’t afford, especially considering you’ll have to serve a waiting period before you can claim benefits.
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Your family: If you have children, then you might want to consider a policy that will benefit them now and as they get older.
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Annual limits: Some treatments are subject to an annual limit, which is the total amount you can claim each year.
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No gap dental: Select health funds offer no-gap benefits, which means you have little to no out-of-pocket costs for general services.
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Waiting periods: Compare the amount of time a health fund requires you to wait before you can claim a specific benefit.

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Frequently asked questions and answers

  • How much does oral care cost without insurance?

    Dentistry is an expensive service. The range of treatments come with varying costs. Depending on the procedure, you could pay less than $50, such as in the case of a fluoride treatment, or as much as $2,000 for dentures, for example.
  • How much does an average dentistry policy cost?

    An Extras policy that includes general and major oral health cover can cost between $48 and $174 a month. Top-end policies generally include orthodontics and endodontics, but these come with higher premiums. Benefits, including dental benefits, vary based on the selected plan.
  • What to do when you max out your benefits for oral care?

    Planning will help you get the most out of your coverage. Should you reach your annual limit, you can still visit a dentist that is a ‘member plus’ or ‘participating provider’ of your health cover. Their rates should help minimise your out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Does dentistry cover pay for oral implants?

    Oral implants are a specific treatment usually covered within the major dentistry category. The available benefits and the annual limit for oral implants depend on the Extras policy you have chosen.
  • How to get cheap dentistry cover?

    In Australia, Medicare does pay for some dentistry services for eligible citizens at public dental practices. Patients pay most costs out-of-pocket unless they have private health plan with Extras cover. The best way to save is to look after your teeth and gums. If you need treatment, compare prices by doing a dentistry procedure cost comparison or discuss alternatives with your dentist.
  • Does Bupa cover Invisalign?

    Yes, if you have an Extras policy from Bupa that offers orthodontics as a benefit you’ll generally be able to claim for your Invisalign. However, Bupa orthodontics coverage may not cover the full cost of the aligners. Depending on your policy and level of cover, you may be required to pay a portion out of your own pocket.

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