Are You Having Trouble Paying for Dental Care?

For hundreds of thousands of Australians, dental care is unaffordable — essentially a luxury item. The situation is so dire that there's a petition asking the government to subsidise dentistry via Medicare. Of course, everyone needs regular, high-quality dental care. So what are your options when you're unable to easily afford it?

Dental Insurance

Yes, it's contradictory to pay for dental insurance when you're watching your budget. But it's worthwhile to go over your household budget with a fine-tooth comb to see if you can find the funds, as it's a worthwhile investment. Use a price comparison checker — which does a lot of the work for you. Be sure you're aware of what's included, and be mindful of any no-claim period, where you may not be able to make any claims during the early stages of your policy. You should choose a plan that has a gap-free dental allowance, meaning your insurer will cover the costs of basic preventative dental services, up to the value permitted by your policy. If it's possible to obtain dental insurance, it should be considered, as it can make the overall cost of your dental needs far more manageable.

Existing Subsidies

While dentistry isn't subsided for most of the general population, there are some allowances for eligible Australians. These subsidies are typically only available to those already on some form of government benefits, and who have a Health Care Card. Bear in mind that there's likely to be a very long waiting list to get a dental appointment, and there are limits to what's available. For example, a missing tooth may not be replaced with a dental implant, and instead, you may be provided with a dental bridge or partial dentures (which are the less expensive options). Cosmetic dentistry is generally excluded.

Dental Schools

Another option is to check for any dental schools in your local area. These are usually an extension of an existing School of Dentistry at a nearby university or TAFE. It's not free, but the prices can be substantially lower than what you'd pay at a standard dental clinic. The work is usually performed by dental students in the later, practice-based stages of their studies, all under the supervision of an experienced dentist. 

There are several options available when it's difficult to afford dental care. It's vital to find an option that works for you, simply due to the overwhelming importance of accessing regular, top-quality dental care.

Talk to a dentist in your area to learn more about gap-free dental options.