Shire Dental is pleased to hear that the Federal Government is putting its money where its mouth is, with Health Minister Greg Hunt announcing the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) cap will be reinstated to $1,000.
The CDBS commenced on 1 January 2014 and provides access to benefits for basic dental services to around 3 million children aged 2-17 years.
The scheme plays a significant role in stopping the growing trend in recent years that has seen four out of 10 children aged five to 10, and three out of 10 children aged nine to 14, with decay in their baby and permanent teeth respectively.
One of the most important aspects of childhood development is good oral health, said Shire Dental’s Dr Peter Bouboulos.
“Healthy baby teeth enable children to eat solid foods and are essential in the development of their jawbone, ensuring there is enough space for adult teeth to come through in the correct position. Baby teeth also help with sounding words correctly as children learn to speak,” Dr Bouboulos said.
“Adult teeth start coming in when children are aged 6-7, so it is important children have the best dental care available as they transition from their baby teeth to their adult teeth. Regular dentist visits mean early detection, and when abnormalities or decay are caught early, then treatment can be minimal and less invasive.
“You only get one set of adult teeth, so regular dental visits to the dentist between the ages of two and 17 are key to ensuring natural teeth stay healthy for life.”
Under the previous Minister for Health, the cap had been dropped to $700, limiting access to individual benefits for a range of services including examinations, x-rays, cleaning, fissure sealing, fillings, root canals and extractions.
Now, all eligible children will continue to have access to a benefit cap of $1,000 over a two calendar year period. Benefits are not available for orthodontic or cosmetic dental work and cannot be paid for any services provided in a hospital.
The CDBS has a means test, which requires receipt of Family Tax Benefit Part A or a relevant Australian Government payment.
Families can check whether their child is eligible for the CDBS by contacting the Department of Human Services. General information about the program can also be found on the Department of Human Services website.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) says two government reviews have confirmed the scheme is working to provide children in low income families access to dental care—though the ADA believes better promotion of the scheme is needed to ensure that more of the 3.4 million eligible children can receive the CDBS’ benefits.