Are you looking for bulk billing dentists in Brisbane? This article will help you understand how these types of dentists work.
Are there bulk billing dentists in Brisbane for kids?
Yes and no. Bulk billing dentists are dentists that bill Medicare directly for your dental treatment. Because Medicare doesn’t currently refund adult dental services, there are technically no general bulk billing dentists in Australia for adults.
However, the Federal Government Subsidised Dentistry Scheme is currently in place so some kids’ dental services can be bulk billed. You’ll need to find a Brisbane dentist willing to provide the service.
About the subsidised dental scheme
- On 23 April 2016: The Australian Government announced its intention to close this program from 1 July 2016. Their reasoning? It only had a 30% take-up rate!
- On 15 December 2016: The previous Minister for Health announced changes to the benefits cap entitlement commencing 1 January 2017 (including changing the benefits cap to $700).
- On 8 February 2017: The Minister for Health, announced that the benefit cap entitlement under the CDBS would be reinstated to $1,000. All eligible children will continue to have access to a benefit cap of $1,000 over a two-calendar-year period. Learn more about the scheme here.
- As of 2023: Up to $1,052 is covered over 2 calendar years for basic dental services under CDBS. The cap amount is indexed yearly on 1 January.
Not every child qualifies for bulk-billed dentistry. Your child must be aged between 0 and 17 years at any point in the calendar year in which you’re seeking the dental treatment. You can check your eligibility here. The benefit is capped at $1052 over a two calendar year period and can be used for a variety of dental services – but not orthodontic ones!
Nope, you won’t currently be able to get your child’s braces free under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule, but you may be eligible through the ‘Give a Smile’™ charitable organisation. If you’re not covered, don’t stress. Some dentists will provide emergency dental care on a “pay as you go basis” stopping any immediate pain and then allowing you to return for the full treatment when you have the money.
Look for dentists with payment plans if you’re concerned about money, but don’t put up with toothache!
Public-funded oral health centres
In addition to the subsidised dental scheme, there’s publicly funded oral health centres – aka The Dental Hospital and local government-run dental clinics. These places also cover work that costs more than the thousand dollar limit. The wait times are usually lengthy and it is these centres that the Child Dental Benefits Schedule is looking to use for dental work for eligible children and adults – no more private dental work done locally by your own dentist if you qualify under the scheme.
Bulk billing dentists and nervous kids
Like a bulk billing doctor, you get the awesome ones and the ones who are so rushed that you don’t feel well cared for. It’s crucial that the first dental visit goes well for your child lest they start life with a fear of going to the dentist! Look for a dentist who provides pediatric care under the dental scheme but will still take the time to make your child feel relaxed and confident about going to the dentist. There is a great article here on preparing your child for their first dental visit.
This contribution is by Robert Duhig, Dentist, Brisbane. Rob provides “gentle dental” to Brisbane families and is a proud supporter of the dental scheme. Your dental visit may be bulk billed, just talk to the receptionists when you book in to make sure!