2nd Feb 2012

Medicare-funded dental system

Rachel Tyler Jones

Tony Abbot called for the introduction of a Medicare-funded dental system on Tuesday this week. The Opposition Leader stated in his first major speech for the year that cheaper dentistry was “an aspiration not a commitment” and that such a program would not be possible until the Budget returns to a strong surplus.

Abbot stated that the current Medicare system supports treatment for almost every part of the body except the mouth, and that one in three Australians has avoided dental treatment because it is unafordable.

The initiative would cost $4 billion a year, but with Australia’s ageing population, the need for dental cover will only continue to increase.

Fun fact: Tony Abbot is the son of a dentist.

Read Rachel’s opinion of Tony Abbot’s speech and the promises (or lack thereof) which he made. Have your say on the issue.

Find out more
Read the Herald Sun article for more information about Tony Abbot’s speech, including his promise to spend one week of every year living in an Aboriginal community if he is elected as Prime Minister.

Are Abbot’s costings correct? The dentists to whom the Financial Review spoke think he’s way off target. Read the article to find out how much it would really cost for Medicare to cover dental.


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Stella starlight
3rd Feb 2012
Well stopping the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme (CDDS) to be able to teach more Dentists won't help the ordinary citizen get treatment. More dentists might ease the queue but not help pay for treatment.
Nan Norma
3rd Feb 2012
I had dental work done under the CDDS scheme. I have no idea what my treatment would have cost. I was never asked what treatment I received. Not everything was done that I needed. I have no idea what the dentist claimed. Again, the government possibly paying money for work that was never done. Another bats scheme?
3rd Feb 2012
I had treatment done under the CDDS scheme & was not shown any figures on the treatment I had done. I was not told anything about it at all by the dentist treating me. I tried to ask but was told everything was fine. What checks are made with the dentist and patient & who keeps an eye on what is charged for? I never had anyone call me to ask what I had done. I wouldn't know what is the regular fee for any dental work. I think dentists get away with an awful lot. Time to regulate that area I think. But do not take it away unless something replaces it as pensioners just cannot afford to pay for treatment.
Nan Norma
3rd Feb 2012
terrib.So I'm not alone. Sounds just like my 'treatment'. I saw on TV a female dentist, from overseas by her accent, she had been making big claims from the same scheme and only cleaning teeth . A friend of mine saw a dentist under the same scheme and was told he only needed a clean. Good if the dentist was honest. The government can be so slack unless they're onto a pensioner over an extra dollar.
4th Feb 2012
Good idea, but as the above people say, it has to be monitored properly. I am lucky, I am covered by DVA but I have to sign for each treatment when I go. My dentist said that after 55 majority of people who have looked after their teeth and used Sydney water with fluoride in the water, mainly just need clean and check every 6 - 12 months and he is one of the honest ones in my community. It this scheme is introduce the Medicare levy will have to be increased, only commonsense, if it is to benefit all.
The main thing now is to get the younger people to clean their teeth, we have to do our part, the dentist cannot clean our teeth for us once a year, it is a daily event to be done by all. Betty
16th Feb 2012
Hi All,Even though my doctor does a chronic care plan every year(over 12 years now) I could not receive CDDS from the government . I am in the process of paying out nearly $1900 for a new set of dentures. Maybe my health is considered good.
16th Feb 2012
It is supposed to be $4250 every 2 years. So unless you are not a pensioner with chronic health problems Judy14 you should be entitled to it.
21st Jul 2013
I'd love to know how you can dental care plus denture care when you life in the country. Our dentists (Jurien Bay) doesn't do dentures, yet the town is full of over 65yr olds. It means we have the added expense of traveling to the city (Perth) to get dentures repaired or replaced. Disgusting to think that we as senior members of society can't even get our dentures repaired let alone think about private health care, whats the use of paying private health care when their is no service in the country for new or repaired dentures, we only life 300klms north of Perth, sometimes it feels like we live in the middle of the Simpson Desert.

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