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How to Get FREE Braces in Australia | The No Cost Option for Braces

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Did you know that some families can access FREE braces for their kids teeth? This little known, free option will mean that the question ‘how much do braces cost?’ will not be one your family may need to ask. We investigated and found out how to get free braces for low income families in Australia.

What are braces?

Braces are a common orthodontic treatment that can have many benefits for individuals who have crooked or misaligned teeth. They work by applying steady pressure to the teeth, gradually moving them into the desired position.

The benefits of braces include:

Improved oral health: Braces can help to straighten teeth and improve bite, which can make it easier to clean teeth and reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Enhanced appearance: Braces can improve the overall appearance of the teeth, giving patients a more attractive and confident smile.

Increased self-esteem: Many people who have braces report a boost in self-esteem, as they feel more confident in their appearance.

Better functioning teeth: Braces can correct bite issues and improve the overall function of the teeth, making it easier to chew and speak.

Long-term solution: Once the treatment is completed, the results are typically permanent, so patients can enjoy their straight teeth for the rest of their lives.

In addition, with the advancements in technology, braces are now more comfortable and less noticeable than ever before. Many orthodontists now offer clear or ceramic braces, and other options like lingual braces which are placed behind the teeth, and Invisalign, a clear aligner that is almost invisible. This makes the treatment more accessible and appealing to a wider range of patients.

How much do braces normally cost in Australia?

If you want to know how much are braces in Australia, it is important to understand that the cost of braces can vary greatly and it depends on a variety of factors! You will need to think about which type of braces you want. You can choose from Metal, Ceramic, Lingual and Invisalign.

How much are braces in Australia?

Let’s look at what it would cost for braces if you were planning on paying for braces in Australia:

  • Metal braces (traditional braces – top and bottom teeth): $4,500 to $8,000
  • Ceramic braces (top and bottom teeth): $5,000 – $8,500
  • Lingual braces (top and bottom teeth): $7,500 – $12,500
  • Invisalign : $4,500 – $9,000

The sad fact is that prices can depend on where you live – orthodontists in more rural areas may be less expensive than ones in larger cities – and prices may be at the orthodontist’s discretion.

If you are wondering ‘how much do braces cost with a healthcare card’, you might be happy to find out that there is a way to get free braces for low income families in Australia.

Give a Smile™ – how to get FREE braces in Australia

myths about braces - free braces australia

In Australia there is an organisation called ‘Give a Smile’™ that offers free braces to lower income families across the country. Each Give a Smile™ orthodontist welcomes at least one patient per year into his/her practice to receive free braces. All work undertaken for every Give a Smile™ patient is done pro-bono (free) and with the highest level of care and professionalism.

To this day, the Give a Smile™ Committee runs the program with the invaluable help of a willing team of volunteers, generous supporters and, of course, the many Give a Smile™ orthodontists throughout Australia. Give a Smile™ will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2025.

Eligibility for free braces:

1. You need to be a Health Care Card holder or Pension Card holder.

2. You or your child must already be on the waiting list for orthodontic treatment in the public dental service of the state or territory where you live. Contact details can be found below.

NOTE: Patients are allocated to Give a Smile™ from the top of the public orthodontic waiting list.

  • You have the choice of having the treatment done either through the Give a Smile™ program or in the public dental health system.
  • Should you accept the offer of treatment through Give a Smile it will be performed by a specialist orthodontist in his/her office.
  • If you live in SA, WA or Victoria, your state health department requires you to pay a fee (co-payment) for your orthodontic treatment.
  • If you live in SA, WA or Victoria – and if you accept treatment through Give a Smile™ – the relevant co-payment must still be paid. However the payment is made to the Give a Smile™ Trust (details will be supplied).

How to get on the public waiting list for orthodontic treatment

Remember to gain access to free braces, you must be Health Care Card holder or Pension Card holder AND you must be on the public waiting list for orthodontic treatment. To do this you need to contact your relevant state and territory dental health service for further information. These waiting lists can vary in length and can be 2 years or longer, so get started now!


Dental Health Program
GPO Box 825
Canberra ACT 2601
Tel 02 6205 1088


Department of Orthodontics
Sydney Dental Hospital
Tel 02 9293 3388/89


Oral Health Services NT
PO Box 40596
Casuarina NT 0811
Tel 08 8924 6470


Oral Health Unit
GPO Box 2368
Brisbane QLD 4001
Tel 07 3328 9873


SA Dental Services
Frome Rd
Adelaide SA 5000
Tel 08 8222 8276


Dental Health Services Victoria
720 Swanston St
Carlton VIC 3053
Tel 03 9341 1000


The Oral Health Centre WA
17 Monash Avenue
Tel 08 6457 4400

More benefits of braces

Overall, the decision to get braces is your own. There are many benefits of getting braces. They can help prevent future gum disease and damage to teeth. They can straighten teeth, close gaps in teeth, and better space out teeth, all resulting in a more confident smile.

Straight teeth help an individual more effectively bite, chew, and even speak. They can help prevent future discomfort and weakness due to misalignment of teeth or bite. They can also make you feel better about both your oral health and your appearance.

How to tell if your child needs braces?

Your child’s big front teeth have just come through and as they’ve been growing, you’re watching and wondering… will my child need braces? If this sounds like you, you probably have a million questions about when to start the process, how much it costs, how long the braces will be on for… just to name a few. We personally checked out the process of getting braces in Brisbane and wrote a review (with video) here.

What a great way to save on the cost of living.

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

42 thoughts on “How to Get FREE Braces in Australia | The No Cost Option for Braces”

  1. Hi I’m on a pension concession card I’m wondering how I can apply for the free braces I have been to a orthodontist but it costs too much money for braces I really need my teeth straight thank u

  2. So I’m guessing in Queensland this will only be available for severely mal -aligned teeth (ie. child has issues feeding or closing mouth) as Qld School Dental – Qld Health have taken ortho braces away from those children, with health care cards, that have not overly severe bite issues.

  3. WA sadly won’t put you on the waiting list unless you have “Severely misaligned teeth”. Mine are pretty bad (Worse than most the pictures of severely misaligned teeth on google) and I had a dentist tell me that mine are consider it as needed and refereed me to the government dental saying i’d go on the waiting this and then have to pay a little for it. Government dental did not agree, they said it’s not a serious issue or an emergency (Despite my teeth are getting chipped and cracked from overcrowding issues) and if I want braces I should get insurance. There’s no way I could ever afford to fork out 9-12grand for my teeth.

  4. My son has healthcare card and visit Qld oral health unit in LCCH. but I live in Gold Coast so whether your local families has a dentist that i can take my son closer to once i have waiting list in the system.

  5. Victoria also will not provide ortho unless severely mal-aligned teeth but my children’s teeth are really crooked. Does this mean that we are out of luck with Give a Smile too?

  6. I cud not get into the public system for braces after visiting different orthodontist in Melbourne so i had to go private

  7. Hi my friend has 4 girls 2 need braces one has braces the one has autism and down syndrome he works 50 hrs a week to support his kids his wife died 3 yrs ago he can’t afford braces he doesn’t get a health care card can you help him

    • Hi Jill, we recommend your friend call the number above relating to the state he lives in for more information. Visit their website to learn more.

  8. My son has a braces from overseas, we live in Browns Plains, Queensland, but it needs of adjustment monthly for the rubber and the wires, he is on a health care card, he is in need of help because he is unemployed and still a student.

    Looking forward to hear form you soon,

    Sigrid Smith

  9. Hi my daughter is on the dental wait list ( we have been for over 6mths now) she has a health care card. She saw the school dental van last week and they said her over but it a Category 2. We live on the Sunshine Coast. Please tell me what I need to do to help her. Look forward to hearing from you soon.
    Thank you

  10. My son has been on the wauting list since Dec of 2015 – I just called the dental hospital only to be told that there is still at least 1-2 year wait.
    This is what I was told in the beginning.
    My son was initially placed on the list when he was in yr 7, so 12 yrs of age – the local community dental health centre completed the paper work there , when i went back 12 momths later for his check up the dentist had told me whoopzie sorry I forgot.
    I then finally got an appt in the main dental hospital when I was told he is now on priority waiting list and it wil be 1-2 years. My boy was happy because in his little mind they would be on in his yr 10 formal pics but off by the time he finishes school…
    My son now has 1 term left of high school and here I am still wondering where I stand !
    Every time I talk to someone they tell me the same time amount of waiting and yet 2012 has jumped to 2015, to 2016 to now. Its crazy.
    I think gov employees should be honest when you’re honestly wanting to know so you can weigh up your options fairly.
    I was just told now by the dental hospital nsw that “Give us a smile ” takes in 1 child annually.
    There went my excitement out the door.
    If I had of know all of this back in 2012 I would of got private health with extras only and did it thst way. My son is 18 come August and my options have decreased . I’m kick g myself for believing anything nswgov employees say.
    It sucks being low income hard working mum in this country it really does.

  11. Hey, just wondering… i got told by my dentist, that I have a serve 10mm over bite. My over bite affects the way I talk and chew. Do you think I’m able to qualify? My mum has my Medicare card and I’m too on the waiting list cause braces are very expensive!
    It would be great if you can reply thanks ☺️

  12. Hi my daughter is been to Westmead hospital several time for treatment but now they say she need braces but been to napean hospital also but they say she made be aligible for free braces but we hane been waiting for a phone call but no one have been in contact with us if possible pl tel me what to do noe she got no treatment at all

  13. My daughter has a severe overbite and I am on the disability pension as such it is very hard to be able to afford braces .My daughter experiences bullying at school because of her overbite .We live in Canberra and our state does not offer public health orthodontist. Please consider her for a reduction in cost .

  14. My daughter has recently visited a private dentist as I could not get her in to see a government or public dentist as the waiting list was too long . I was told that she would need braces for her teeth and that the government subsity would not cover the costs . I am a low income earner and have a health care card and prices for braces are way out of my price range here in Queensland . A friend referred me to you in the hopes that you could help.

  15. How do you choice which patient is given free braces from the orthodontist waiting list ?

    My son is on the list with waiting times of 4-6 years and his the highest category

  16. As much as I’ll love for my daughter to have better teeth I a single mother meant to afford 5/8k
    I’ve taken her to a private dentist witch they have said she would need braces then took her to the government one where they said she has to go privately due to her teeth are OK but would benefit from them
    The government system is a joke.. and no help what so ever as a mother I feel hopeless

  17. My son has been on a waiting list for 2 years. His disability is Down Syndrome he has a very narrow mouth. We were told he would need work done. But my problem now is he has turn 18 has his own pension card. Is he still eligible for free dental as he is classified as an Adult

  18. I’m just enquiring about braces I’m a mother of 2 on centerlink and want braces but can’t afford them.

  19. Hello I’m looking to get braces and can’t afford them I need them really bad and my teeth are getting worse I am on the waiting list

  20. I’m just a regular 13 year old girl and I have an over bites and I want braces but I would pay because I don’t have money so can u help me

  21. I didn’t realize my daughters had to be on a orthodontic waiting list as we have been receiving the basic dental care with the kids dental voucher.
    I will ring the number provided above.

  22. My daughter has a gap and she hates it and every day she ask me can I get braces and unfortunately I can’t give that to he because i can afford it and I would love to see the day when her teeth are straight and see her smile on your faces It would mean the world to me

  23. Hi We live in Alkimos W.A. My daughter is in waiting list from last 2 year and have to wait more years She is 11 now and Is there any way to do earlier than waiting for so long..

  24. I really like the article and how it was very easy to read with very important information.
    I hope that GiveASmile will continue doing this amazing work for those families who cannot afford to do braces for their children.

    Thank you.

  25. Same here I’m headed for the wait list if I can braces are way out of my budget as I’ve got studies in my plans to help myself make proper pay checks .

  26. My son has been advised that he will need braces by the community dentist in nsw but there is no waiting list for public orthodontics, there is no funding for it, so despite being a carer with a pension card for my son with autism and him having a severe deep bite and overcrowding we cannot access this funding option either 🙁


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