How to save money on dental treatment
Dental treatment is not cheap. There’s no denying that. So, what tips do we have to reduce your dental costs?
Go through the questions below and read what applies to you.
Do you have a healthcare card or a pension card?
Do you have children under the age of 18 that are eligible for the Medicare Children’s Dental Benefits Scheme (CDBS)?
- We accept CDBS gap free.
- The Medicare scheme provides eligible children with $1000 over 2 calendar years on a good range of dental services, including check ups, cleans, fillings, extractions and more.
- Although 3 million Australian children are eligible, it is estimated that only 30% are making use of the scheme.
- Check eligibility by contacting Medicare, or you can call us and providing your medicare number and we can check for you.
The CDBS is for children aged 2 to 17 who are eligible for Medicare and who also receive at least one of the following benefits:
- Family Tax Benefit Part A
- Carer Payment
- Disability Support Pension
- Parenting Payment
- Special Benefit
- Youth Allowance
- help under the Veterans’ Children Education Scheme (VCES) if the child is 16 to 17 years
- help under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act Education and Training Scheme if the child is 16 to 17 years
In some cases, CDBS payments are made to parents, guardians or approved care organisations.
- For more information about the scheme: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/child-dental-benefits-schedule
Do you have private health insurance with extras? Understand how your health fund works.
- We are partnered with several health funds, but accept all health funds.
- Most health funds are calendar year (a few are financial year, it is important to know which one yours is). If your health fund runs calendar year, this means that your limits will reset at the start of each year and any unused limits will expire at the end of December.
- Know your limits and know how dentistry is categorized. I wish this was as straightforward as it sounds, but unfortunately every health fund is slightly different. Here, I will write generalized information.
- You will have a total dental limit. But that limit would be spread across the categories that dental is split up into:
- General Dental (Check ups, cleans, fillings, simple extractions, etc)
- Major Dental (Crowns, Implants, Dentures, root canal)
- Orthodontics (braces - most funds have a lifetime limit)
- I would recommend that you know what your dental limit is for the year, when it resets and how it is split. Why?
- Let’s say it’s December, you have just had your second check-up and clean for the year and you’ve used up your general dental limit but you haven’t used any major dental. It has been recommended you get a crown on a back tooth, but you’d also like to replace some stained fillings on a front tooth you don’t like the look of. To get the most of your health fund, you should do your crown in December to use your major dental limit before it expires, and the fillings in January – if you get the filling in December you won’t get any rebate as you have no remaining general dental limit left.
- But you can’t plan if you don’t know! We want to work with you and help explain health funds to you, so I would recommend that you bring with you the answers to:
- What is my general dental limit
- What is my major dental limit
- Do I have orthodontic cover (if this is something you are interested in)
- Do I have any waiting periods on any of my cover
We will note this in your chart and make our treatment plan, for which you can get a quote from your health fund.
- From our end, we have partnered with a few of the healthfunds: Bupa, HCF and Westfund, to get you the best rebates.
- Bupa patients: We are Bupa preferred provider on all dental treatments – this means we charge their fees, not ours, and are contractually not allowed to charge more. In return, Bupa give our patients a premium rebate meaning they pay more of your treatment.
- HCF patients. We are a HCF Preventative Provider: 2x checkups, 2x cleans, 1x fluoride, 2x xrays and other preventative dental treatments such as mouthguards are FULLY COVERED by HCF.
- Westfund preventative provider. Same as abovem 2 check up and cleans and xrays (we only take if required) fully covered by your healthfund. So no excuses!
Do you have a DVA Gold card
Did you know veterans are more at risk of dental disease? This is recognized and there has been a big push to get our veterans dentally healthy, as we know this will improve general health, wellbeing and confidence.Department of Veterans Affairs will cover most dental treatments, within limits. We accept DVA gap free and do all the paperwork for you. They will completely cover 2 check ups and cleans every year
Get a comprehensive examination with xrays.
- I can’t quote for anyone but our practice as everyone has the right to set their own fees, however we charge (in 2020 in case I forget to update this!) $71 for a comprehensive exam (not including xrays), or $59 for a periodic examination if we see you every 6 months.
- An emergency examination (limited exam) is $55. We charge this if you come in with a specific problem that you want us to deal with, that wasn’t on your plan.
- So think about it!
- $71 + 2 xrays = $151. We look at every single tooth’s health, chart every filling you have or that we think you need, check your jaw joint, check your muscles, do an cancer screen, look at your bite, look for cracks, check your gum health around every tooth! That’s a lot of information!
- THEN we make records of it all, and go through it with you, and together we sit down and decide on a treatment plan.
- Anything that is on your treatment plan that you come in to get, you just pay for the treatment – we have already done the exam, diagnosis and consultation of options.
- BUT! If you only come in whenever you have a specific problem, you generally pay an extra $100 on top of treatment every time. $55 for examination + $46 for xray.
- Legally, we have to charge for a limited examination, as from our auditors perspective, you can’t just start invasive treatment without first doing an examination and ticking all the boxes: we assessed it, took an xray/ran tests, made a diagnosis, went through options with you, you fully understood and agreed to the treatment, etc etc!
- Plus we are more stressed because we don’t have the opportunity to plan for it ahead of your appointment and give ourselves the time we think we need depending on the job.
- Is it that limited exams are expensive? No in my opinion, it’s because comprehensive exams are incredibly cheap, as we operate at below-cost on comprehensive exams! We don’t want the barrier to be on coming in, finding out what’s going on and getting information!
- Also, as a gesture of goodwill, if we see you regularly (roughly every 6 months) and something happens that was unexpected, we waive our emergency dental examination fee as we want our patients to be reassured that they’re covered.
- So, don’t waste your hard earned money on emergency exams