Private dental health insurance is a type of insurance that covers the cost of dental treatments and services. It differs from public dental care, provided by the government, and typically only covers basic dental services. While public dental care is available to all Australians, it often comes with long appointment waiting times and limited coverage. Private dental health insurance, on the other hand, offers access to a broader range of dental services and reduced out-of-pocket costs.

The importance of oral health

Maintaining good oral health is essential for overall health and well-being. Poor oral health can lead to various dental problems, such as cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. These issues cause discomfort and pain and affect a person’s ability to eat, speak, and socialise comfortably.

Moreover, poor oral health has been linked to other health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections. For example, gum disease has been found to increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, and poor oral health has been linked to respiratory infections, especially in older adults.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), dental issues are prevalent in Australia, with 1 in 5 Australians having untreated tooth decay and 3 in 10 adults experiencing moderate to severe gum disease. In addition, the National Oral Health Plan 2019-2024 states that around 90% of all dental problems are preventable with regular check-ups, cleaning, and early intervention.

Oral health

By investing in private dental health insurance, individuals can ensure they have access to preventative care and early intervention for dental issues. This can help maintain good oral health and reduce the risk of developing more severe health conditions.

Benefits of private dental health insurance

Private dental health insurance offers a number of benefits over public dental care:

  • Access to a broader range of dental services: Private dental health insurance covers a more comprehensive range of dental services than public dental care, including major procedures such as orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. This allows individuals to receive the care they need to maintain good oral health and achieve their desired smile.
  • Shorter appointment waiting times: Private dental health insurance often provides shorter waiting times than public dental care. This means individuals can receive treatment more quickly and reduce the risk of developing more serious dental issues.
  • Less financial stress: Private dental health insurance can help individuals save on dental treatments by covering the cost of regular check-ups, cleanings, and more extensive dental procedures.

Potential savings

Dental insurance can lead to savings when you consider:

  • Covering the cost of regular check-ups and cleanings: Private dental insurance can cover the cost of routine dental check-ups and cleanings, which can help prevent or detect dental problems early on. By catching dental issues early, individuals can avoid more extensive and expensive treatments in the future.
  • Reducing out-of-pocket costs for more extensive dental work: Dental treatments such as fillings, root canals, and extractions can be expensive. Private dental health insurance can help reduce the out-of-pocket cost of these treatments, potentially saving individuals money in the long run.
  • Encouraging preventive care: Private dental health insurance can enable individuals to prioritise their oral health by covering the cost of preventative treatments such as fluoride and dental sealants. These treatments can help prevent dental problems from developing.

Investing in private dental health insurance is a wise decision for anyone looking to maintain good oral health while potentially saving money on dental treatments in the long run. According to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), as of June 2021, around 55% of Australians had private health insurance, with dental being one of the most common types of extra cover. Considering that the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that the average cost of dental treatments is $275 per visit, it makes sense to seek insurance. Insurance can provide financial security and peace of mind, since it may help you add regular preventative dentistry to your oral care routine which reduces your likelihood of developing oral health issues.

Dental care

Factors to consider when choosing a policy

Standalone dental insurance policies are designed to cover dental treatments and services exclusively. On the other hand, extras cover, typically included as part of a general health insurance policy, offers additional benefits beyond medical care. These additional benefits often include coverage for dental, optical, and physiotherapy services, among others.

When choosing a policy, individuals should consider their individual needs and budget. The different levels of coverage available include:

  • Basic coverage typically includes preventative dental services such as check-ups and cleaning.
  • Mid-range coverage may also cover primary dental treatments such as fillings and root canals.
  • Comprehensive coverage offers the highest level of coverage and may include major dental treatments such as orthodontics and dental implants.

When choosing a policy, individuals should consider factors such as the cost of premiums, annual limits on benefits, waiting periods, and whether the policy covers pre-existing dental conditions. Choosing a policy that meets individual needs and budgets while providing adequate coverage for dental services is essential. It is also recommended to compare policies from different insurance providers and read the fine print to ensure that the policy meets specific needs and requirements. By choosing the right policy, individuals can be confident that they have the necessary coverage to maintain good oral health.

Investing in private dental health insurance is a smart move for individuals who want to safeguard their oral health while also potentially saving money on dental treatments. By choosing the right policy and prioritising preventive care, you can enjoy peace of mind, financial security, and regular access to the dental care you need.