Going to the dentist is indeed a hassle and a burden. We first think of how we will feel during a dental treatment; the pain or discomfort makes you feel doubtful if you would ever like seeing your dentist again. Moreover, the high cost of having your dental treatments makes it another dilemma that needs solving. So when news spread about free emergency dentist services, everyone became excited and relieved. But is it true? Can we really get free emergency dentist services?
Free emergency dentist: What is it?
The Australian government provides free dental emergency services to its citizens who need publicly-funded dental care. These services are available in designated public hospitals such as The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne and other local health districts and hospitals.
Free emergency dentist: Who can avail them?
Free dental care is available in all Australian public dental clinics for:
- All children under 18 years of age.
- Adults who hold any of the Australian government concession cards
- Refugees and asylum seekers
Free emergency dentist: How can you avail these services?
Child Dental Benefits Schedule. Almost all Australian children with Medicare benefits can take advantage of the Australian Government’s Child Dental Benefits Schedule or CDBS. This government initiative provides assistance for children and teens aged 2 to 17 years for a range of dental services including consultations, exams, x-rays, scaling and cleaning, fissure sealing, dental fillings, root canal treatment, and simple tooth removals. The criteria differ from state to state, but generally, children before turning eighteen are eligible for dental care if they have a particular family tax benefit (Family Tax Benefit Part A). Some states, like Queensland, require a completed medical history and consent form for all children and young people prior to treatment. It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian of the child to accomplish the said forms before the scheduled dental appointment.
National Partnership Agreement on Public Dental Services. Adult patients can also avail themselves of the public dental care being offered by the government. As long as they are owners and receiving benefits from the following concession cards:
- Pensioner Concession Card issued by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
- Pension Concession Card issued by Centrelink
- Health Care Card
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
- Your state’s Seniors Card
If you are also under the protection and custody of the Director-General of the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, you may also be eligible for the government-funded dental services.
Free emergency dentist: What is the catch?
Limited services. Because the list of dental procedures and treatments being offered for free is just too short, many Australians still need to pay for their dental services out of their own pocket.
Long waiting period. Because almost everyone who is eligible for free emergency dentist services wants to avail themselves of these treatments, the waiting list is so long. Many patients consider getting the services of private dentists instead.
Vouchers. In some instances, there are local health establishments who just give out dental vouchers to the people lining up to wait for their free dental procedure. These vouchers serve as their ticket to avail the services of a private dentist for free or at a discounted price.
Now that you know a bit more about the free emergency dentist services offered in Australia, we hope you find time to discover this health initiative so you can better care for your oral health.