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Dental insurance

Dental insurance can’t take away the pain of the dentist, but it can help with the pain of the cost.

What you need to know

  • Dental cover is covered by private health insurance extras policies from just $3.02 a week.
  • Medicare doesn’t cover dental, but some states offer limited services for children and other groups.
  • There are different levels of dental cover available, including General, Major and Orthodontics.

Why take out dental cover?

Oral health is really important to your overall health and wellbeing, so dental care isn't something you should neglect. Poor oral health can exacerbate existing health conditions and is associated with a number of chronic diseases.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 32% of Australians over 15 years old have untreated decay. On average, we spend $253 on dental services per year. Health insurance can help reduce those costs.

How does dental insurance work?

Dental insurance is available with extras health insurance, as opposed to hospital insurance. Extras is the cheaper version and covers out-of-hospital servicies not available through Medicare such as dental, optical and physio.

Some policies will pay a percentage of your bill, up to a certain amount, when you visit the dentist. Others will pay a set amount for specific services. It can cover you for:

Simple Extraction

General dental

Covers common procedures such as check-ups, teeth cleaning, fluoride treatments, X-rays and small fillings.

Major dental

Major dental

Covers more complex procedures such as crowns, bridgework, veneers and implants.

Braces

Orthodontics

Covers specialist dentistry for aligning teeth and jaws. Treatments include braces, plates and retainers.

Surgical extraction
What about dental surgery?
Whenever dental surgery is performed in a hospital – for example, dental implant surgery – it's not typically covered by extras. You'll need hospital insurance for this.

Compare policies with General Dental

Here are some extras policies from Finder partners with some level of dental cover, either general, major or orthodonics. All prices are based on a single individual with less than $93,000 income and living in Sydney.

1 - 30 of 59
Name Product Treatments Price Apply
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$12.97
per month
HCF STARTER EXTRAS
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$13.16
per month
black 50 saver
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$14.17
per month
Frank Basic Extras
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$14.48
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$17.42
per month
Basic Extras
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$20.39
per month
Frank Easy Extras
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$21.34
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$22.32
per month
Basic Extras
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$26.80
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$27.10
per month
Simple Extras
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$28.24
per month
HCF FLEX MY EXTRAS
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$29.33
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$32.19
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$34.04
per month
Value Extras
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$34.38
per month
HCF MID EXTRAS
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$35.06
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$35.40
per month
Flex 50
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$36.57
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$37.28
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$38.04
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$38.30
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$40.15
per month
Simple Extras
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$41.96
per month
black 60
Extras cover
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$42.03
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$43.12
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$46.63
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$47.61
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$48.59
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$48.82
per month
  • General Dental
  • Major Dental
  • Orthodontic
  • Endodontic
  • Optical
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Remedial massage
$49.53
per month
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How much does dental work cost?

The price of specific dental treatments varies depending on your dentist, location and specific circumstances. However, a 2019 HealthEngine Survey sought to find the average cost of some common treatments in Sydney.

ProcedureAverage costLowest cost
Dental check-up$166$40
White filling$224$130
Wisdom tooth extraction$366$150
Teeth whitening$470$150
Root canal$1,225$550

More complicated dental work will be even costlier, especially braces. According to Orthodontics Australia, braces can cost anywhere between $6,000 and $9,000.

TypePrice
Clear aligners$6,000 - $9,000
Ceramic braces$6,500 – $9,500
Metal braces$6,000 – $9,000
Lingual braces$9,500 – $15,000

*Costs are based on a 15- to 18-month treatment period that also helps to correctly align the jaw.

Even with health insurance, dental work can still come at a significant cost. Thankfully, many dental practices now offer Afterpay or specialist payment plans to patients.

Gary Ross Hunter

I always get my dental covered through ahm. You get free dental check-ups if you book with Pacific Smiles. They've got a practice near where I live and another by my work, so I can be in and out in less than 45 minutes – because nobody wants to spend a lot of time at the dentist.
— Gary Ross Hunter, insurance expert

Child Dental Benefits Schedule

The Services Australia Child Dental Benefits Schedule does offer dental benefits to some children. To be eligible, your child must

  • Be eligible for Medicare
  • Be between 0 and 17 years old
  • Receive a payment from the Australian governmnet at least once a year

You can check if your child is eligible on the Services Australia website.

State dental benefits

Queensland icon

Queensland

The following groups can receive free publicly funded emergency dental treatment in Queensland:

  • All children between age 4 and year 10 of secondary school.
  • Children outside of that range who have a concession card or are dependents of a concession card holder.
  • Children in the custody of the Director-General, Department of Communities or Child Safety and Disability Services.
  • Adults with a Pensioner Concession Card from the Department of Veterans' Affairs or Centrelink, a Health Care Card, a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or a Queensland Seniors Card.

You must be a Queensland resident and you must receive your treatment in a public dental facility.

New South Wales icon

New South Wales

In New South Wales, emergency dental care is free for the following people:

  • All children under 18.
  • Any adult with a valid Centrelink concession card (plus anyone else listed on the card).

You must also have a valid Medicare Card and get your treatment at a New South Wales public dental clinic.

Australian Capital Territory icon

Australian Capital Territory

You are able to access dental services in the ACT if you hold a:

  • A Centrelink-issued Pension Concession or Health Care Card.
  • A Veteran’s affairs card.
  • An ACT Services Access card.

Victoria icon

Victoria

In Victoria, the following groups are eligible for free emergency dental care in a community health centre or public dental hospital:

  • All children up to the age of 12.
  • Children up to 18 who are eligible for the Child Dental Benefit Schedule, are in out-of-home care provided by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing or in custodial care.
  • Children up to 17 who have a valid concession card or are the dependent of someone with a concession card.
  • Refugees, asylum seekers, Indigenous Australians, Torres Strait Islanders and mental health patients.

Adults who have a valid Health Care or Pensioner Concession Card will receive emergency dental care in a community health centre or public dental hospital for $29.50. Everyone else can use the public facilities, but you'll be charged rates that are similar to what you'd find in a private facility.

Tasmania icon

Tasmania

The following groups are eligible for publicly funded dental treatment in Tasmania:

  • All children up to 18 years of age will receive free treatment.
  • Adults with a Health Care or Pensioner Concession Card will receive treatment for a small fee.

You must visit a public dental facility to be eligible.

South Australia icon

South Australia

If you belong to one of the following groups, you are eligible for publicly funded dental treatment in South Australia:

  • Dental treatment is free for all babies and children not yet in school as well as school-aged children under 18 who have a Health Care Card, are members of the School Card Scheme or are dependents of someone with a Pensioner Concession Card.
  • All other children under 18 are eligible for dental treatment if they pay a small fee.
  • Adults with a Pensioner Concession Card or a Health Care Card are eligible for dental treatment if they pay a small fee.
  • Adult Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders with a Pensioner Concession Card or a Health Care Card are eligible for free emergency dental treatment.

You must have your treatment in a public facility.

Western Australia icon

Western Australia

The following groups are eligible for publicly funded emergency treatment in Western Australia:

  • All children 4 and under.
  • Children 5-16 who are in school.
  • People 17+ who hold a Health Care or Pensioner Concession Card.

You must receive your treatment in a public dental facility. If you live in a rural community and don't have access to a public clinic, you can use a private clinic but you will have to pay full price for treatment.

Northern Territory icon

Northern Territory

You can access free public dental services in the Northern Territory if you meet one of the following:

  • You're under 18 years old, as long you haven't finished school and don't work full time.
  • You have a Centrelink Pensioner or Health Care Card.
  • You're a remote resident in need of emergency dental care and don't have access to private care.
  • You're part of the Australian Government's cleft lip and cleft palate scheme.
  • You're more than 100km from your nearest health service.

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