Australians aren’t always great at caring for their teeth. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 58% of children at age 14 have permanent tooth decay, and 3 in 10 adults between 25 and 44 have untreated tooth decay.
In total, there are 32,000 hospitalisations each year due to preventable teeth issues. What are some of the reasons for this? Finances could be an issue, with the same study showing more than 1 in 3 people in Australia go without proper dental care because they can’t afford it.
If your private health insurance policy includes dental cover, your dental care can be more affordable.
The following tables show a selection of five policies from various providers that offer cover for general dental (and wisdom teeth in the case of hospital cover). These tables are based on cover for couples in NSW, born in the year 1980.
These results only show a snapshot of the total market. To access policies tailored to your needs and circumstances, visit our health insurance comparison table:
Extras policies that cover dental
The star ratings in the below table are based on cover for couples in NSW, born in the year 1980. Products sorted by Monthly Premiums.
Hospital & Extras policies that cover dental
The star ratings in the below table are based on cover for couples in NSW, born in the year 1980. Products sorted by Monthly Premium.
What is general dental?
If you require dental treatment, then there are two levels of coverage found in insurance policies:
- General dental
- Major dental
General dental covers routine dental treatments, like oral exams, fillings, bleaching, x-rays and more. It is different to major dental, which refers to more specialised procedures like braces or the removal of wisdom teeth.
According to privatehealth.gov.au, you can be expected to pay an average of $53.11 for a periodic examination, while a full crown can set you back a whopping $1,441! So if you’re someone who likes to take care of your teeth and visit the dentist regularly, then taking out general dental under your extras policy might not be a bad idea.
Hospital policies that cover wisdom teeth extraction
Wisdom teeth extraction is not usually covered by general dental, but is instead a significant portion of the claims made under major dental. According to privatehealth.gov.au, getting a tooth removed can cost around $140-170 on average depending on the state you live in. If you want to be covered for wisdom teeth removal, then the table below shows the top 5 hospital policies by Star Rating.
The star ratings in the below table are based on cover for couples in NSW, born in the year 1980. Products sorted by Star Rating.
What are the waiting periods for dental cover?
The waiting period is the amount of time you need to wait from when you open your policy to when you can make your first claim. This is to stop people playing the system by taking out a cheap health insurance policy, using it then cancelling before paying any substantial amount to the provider.
Although the waiting periods can vary from provider to provider, The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman states the following to be rough averages of the waiting periods you can expect for dental services:
- General dental: two months
- Major dental (wisdom teeth): 12 months
- High-cost procedures such as orthodontics: 0ne to three years
The pros and cons of dental cover under health insurance
If you’re tossing up whether or not to take out a health insurance policy that covers you for the above treatments, weigh up these pros and cons:
You get your choice of dentist or hospital
|You can end up behind if you don’t make enough claims
You can choose from a wide range of dental services whenever you want (after the waiting period)
The waiting periods can be long
The costs are partially and sometimes even fully covered by your provider
Benefit limits can restrict the amount you can claim
The higher tier dental policies can be costly
Ultimately, it’s up to you to weigh up these pros and cons to see if a policy is a worthwhile investment. The tables above in this article only represent a snapshot of what’s available in Australia. To see a comprehensive list, visit our health insurance comparison tables and compare your options.