Free Dental Care for Children Sydney
Childhood is the right time to inculcate healthy oral hygiene habits. As a parent, you can help your kids get into the habit of regular brushing and flossing, and adopting healthy eating habits. Regular dental examinations are also helpful in maintaining oral health.
The Australian Government provides free dental services for children under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) programme. This scheme commenced on 1 January 2014 and has been providing services to children across the country. It is aimed at providing comprehensive dental services for children aged between 2-17 years of age. Each child can avail up to $1000 – it can be in the form of different benefits over two consecutive calendar years.
Is your child eligible?
The eligibility is determined by the Department of Health at the start of each year. A child is eligible for free dental services if they are also eligible for Medicare, and are between 2-17 years. Parents or guardian will be notified of their eligibility via post by the Department. At the time of availing services, the parent or guardian should present this letter to the dental service provider.
Authorities conduct this assessment each year, to identify those who are eligible and reach out to as many children as possible. The eligibility is for two years – it holds good for the whole year – so if your child turns 18 in the middle of the year – this scheme is still available for your child, provided the Medicare eligibility has not lapsed at the time of availing treatment. It is not necessary that you need to avail services the same year your child is eligible. If you do not use it in Year 1 of eligibility, you can use it in Year 2.
On the other hand, if required, the entire amount can be used in Year 1 Itself. But you need to remember that you will not be able to use it in Year 2 as the amount has already been utilised. You will need to wait for the next two year cap period.
Also, these benefits are individualised – in the sense, you cannot use the amount from one of your child’s benefits and use it for the other. The allocated amount can be used for that child only. You can check on your child’s eligibility by calling the Department of Health or check online (Health Professional Online Services).
Dental Services available
As mentioned above, these dental services are available for up to 2 years for each eligible child.
The services that are free under the programme are:
- Dental examinations
- X rays
- Cleaning of plaque/stains
- Restoring cracks, fissure sealing
- Root canal
- Tooth extractions
Cosmetic dental services and orthodontic dental services are generally not covered. To obtain more information on the services and to find out which type of dental services are covered in the scheme, you can check with your dental service provider.
Claiming from the scheme
The first thing to do is to make sure that your child is eligible. You should also check the balance amount that is available for your child under the programme. Claiming can be done individually or through the dentist. If the dentist that you have obtained services from does bulk claims – then you don’t have to submit the claim. The dentist will do it through their service centre. But if they do not, then you would need to pay the bill and then later claim from the scheme.
Claims can be submitted online or by sending the form via post. More information can be obtained from Medicare service providers. After the claims are processed, the amount will be remitted to your account. Details such as the name of the patient, the service provided, the date of service, the name of the service provider and the total amount that was charged for the service etc. should be mentioned in the claim form.
More information is available at the Department of Health website. You can also call us for details on the services that we cover under the scheme.