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Dental Insurance

Looking for dental health insurance? Compare 30+ Australian health funds and find cover to smile about.

Dental treatment in Australia can be a prohibitively expensive, especially if you don't have health insurance. Here we take a look at how dental procedures are covered by the private health system, and discuss the advantages and limitations.

Compare dental health insurance

Use the comparison engine to filter by dental service

Tired of trawling through multiple policies trying to work out which type of dental treatment is covered? Simply complete the form above, hit Search Policies and use the blue filter button in the top right-hand corner to sort policies by general dental, major dental, endodontic and orthodontic.

finder.com.au dental insurance comparison updated for 2017

Extras coverAnnual benefits for dental servicesPremium cost*
HCF Silver Plus ExtrasGeneral dental. $600 (shared with major)
Major dental. $600 (shared with general)
$27.44 per month
Australian Unity Bronze ExtrasGeneral dental. $600 (shared with major)
Major dental. $600 (shared with general)
$28.26 per month
nib Core ExtrasGeneral dental. $600
Major dental. $600
$28.65 per month
ahm Black 60General dental. $650
Major dental. $600
$30.37 per month

*Pricing based on a single male under 65 years of age earning less than $90,000 living in NSW. Prices reflect the April 1 premium rise and are accurate for 2017 but are subject to change in the future. Please use the comparison engine above for current pricing. Corporate policies, policies from restricted funds and policies offered by funds' subsidiaries were not included in this comparison.

What type of dental treatments can I get cover for?

The type of dental cover you choose generally depends on your age, family status, income and health. Individual dental services are typically categorised under:

  • General dental. This includes cleaning, small fillings, plaque removal and X-rays. If you're young, healthy and single and only visit the dentist once or twice a year for minor treatments, it might be all you need.
  • Major dental. This option may be more suitable for families and older people, as it covers more complex procedures such as braces, dentures, orthodontics, wisdom teeth removal, crowns, bridges and root canal work. 
Keep an eye out for no-gap dental programs

Some health funds allow you to access general or preventative dental treatments such as cleaning, scaling, fluoride treatments and mouth guards for free, or with no out-of-pocket expenses. You can learn more about how these programs work here.

Factors to consider when comparing dental policies

What waiting periods apply to dental claims?

Waiting periods exist to stop people from only taking out health insurance if they suddenly have to undergo an expensive procedure. This benefits both policy holders and health funds, as abuse of the system would quickly result in increased premiums:

  • Major dental. Waiting periods generally range from six to twelve months depending on the treatment.
  • General dental. Waiting periods can be as little as two months or waived altogether for simple preventative treatments.

In order to attract new members health funds regularly offer sign up deals that allow you to instantly claim on extras services such as general dental. However, it's uncommon for major dental treatments to be included in these promotions.

Is a dental plan worth considering?

As well as taking out private dental cover, there is the option of a discount dental plan (queue in everyone's collective minds, "Lisa needs braces ... Dental plan ... Lisa needs braces ... Dental plan ... Lisa needs braces ... Dental plan ... etc.). These plans do not pay for dental expenses, but provide discounted prices from a network of participating dentists in exchange for an annual membership fee. Both schemes have their advantages and drawbacks, which are summarised below:

Type of dental coverProsCons
Dental health insurance
  • Choose the dentist who treats you.
  • Access a wide range of dental services.
  • Your costs are fully or partially covered.
  • Higher tier dental policies can be expensive.
  • Waiting periods apply to claims.
  • Benefit limits cap the amount you can claim per year.
Discount dental plan
  • Lower membership fee.
  • No waiting periods apply.
  • Receive discounts on dental care.
  • Must use a participating dentist to receive benefits.
  • Discounts may not fully cover your dental bill.

Does the public health system offer any cover for dental?

The only instances where Medicare covers dental work for adults are:

  • If it is needed to protect the patients general health.
  • If it forms a part of a Medicare approved treatment, such as dental work prior to radiation treatment for oral cancer.

Hospitalisation for dental-related treatment may also be covered by Medicare (e.g. if you develop an infection from having a tooth removed), but it typically won't pay for any follow-up dental care once the condition has been treated, or for specialist fees not related to the specific condition being treated.

What is the Child Dental Benefits Schedule?

The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) is a program run by the Australian Government for around 3 million eligible Australian children. It provides up to $1,000 in benefits over two consecutive calendar years. Dental services that are covered include:

  • Examinations
  • X-rays
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Fissure sealing
  • Fillings
  • Root canals
  • Extractions
  • Partial dentures

Services can be provided in a public or private clinic, although no cover is available for orthodontic or cosmetic dental work, and there are no benefits for treatments in a hospital.

To receive benefits under the CDBS, a child must be eligible for Medicare, aged between 2 and 17 years at any time in the calendar year and have received a specified payment from the Australian Government (e.g. Family Tax Benefit A) at any stage during the calendar year. In most cases you will be notified if your child is eligible at the beginning of the year.

Are there any risks associated with dental tourism?

Due to rising health insurance costs in Australia, a new industry has sprung up known as dental tourism. Major dental procedures are often much cheaper in developing countries, so many people opt to travel overseas to receive treatment. You can pay as little as one quarter of the cost of having the same procedure in Australia. However, you must be aware of the dangers associated with this industry:

  • No travel insurance. Medical tourism is typically excluded from travel insurance policies. This means you cannot claim for any direct or related costs if there are complications with the treatment.
  • Higher chance of something going wrong. Developing countries often don't have the same standards and expertise as medical professionals in Australia.
  • You may end up paying more. Fixing a botched procedure can end up costing you even more, especially if it has to be rectified in Australia.
  • No recourse for reimbursement. If you fall victim to fraud or medical malpractice your ability to pursue legal action is minimal to non-existent.

Dental coverage offered by participating health funds

This is a broad overview of how dental treatment is covered by health funds in the finder.com.au fund panel. You can find a complete breakdown of how each Australian health fund covers specific dental treatments by using the navigation portals at the top of this guide.

Health fundAnnual benefit limits for dental treatments*Waiting periods
HIFPreventative. Unlimited
General. Up to $1,500
Major. Up to $1,500
General. 2 months
Major. 12 months
ahmGeneral. Unlimited
Complex. Up to $1,000
Major. Up to $1,100
General. None
Complex. 12 months
Major. 12 months
Australian Unity General. Up to $1,000
Major. Up to $800
General. 2 months
Major. 6 to 12 months
CBHS Health Fund Preventative. Unlimited
General. Unlimited
Major. Up to $7,340
Preventative. 2 months
General. 2 months
Major. 6 to 12 months
CUA HealthGeneral. Unlimited
Major. Up to $1,100
General. 2 months
Major. 12 months
HCF Preventative. Unlimited
General and Major. Up to $1,000
Preventative. 2 months
General. 2 to 12 months
Major. 12 months
NIB Preventative. Unlimited
General. Up to $1,000
Major. Up to $1,300
Preventative. 2 months
General. 2 months
Major. 12 months
Teachers Health Fund General. Unlimited
Major. Up to $1,300
General. 2 months
Major. 12 months
Orthodontics. 24 months

*Disclaimer: The benefit limits listed on this table are taken from the highest level of extras cover offered by these health funds. Lower tier policies may pay a smaller benefit amount or not cover certain dental services. Benefit limits are based on a policy quoted for a single male under 65 years of age earning less than $90,000 living in NSW. 

More information about specific dental services

Compare health insurance for dental from 30+ Australian health funds

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