Many people do not see a dentist on a regular basis. They only go when they have a problem. This is known as “crisis treatment” versus “preventive treatment.” While these patients may feel they are saving money, it often ends up costing much more in dollars and time. This is because many dental problems do not have symptoms until they reach the advanced stages of the disease process. An example is tooth decay. It is typical to hear, “Nothing hurts… I don’t have any problems.”
Tooth decay often does not hurt until it gets close to the nerve of the tooth. It is not uncommon to see a patient with a huge cavity who has never felt a thing. The dentist can usually detect a cavity 3-4 years before it develops any symptoms. This early detection can help you prevent root canal treatment.
There is no one-size-fits-all dental treatment. Some people need to visit the dentist once or twice a year; others may need more visits. You are a unique individual, with a unique smile and unique needs when it comes to keeping your smile healthy.
Yes. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you can still have dental health problems that only a dentist can diagnose. Regular dental visits will also help prevent problems from developing. Continuity of care is an important part of any health plan and dental health is no exception. Keeping your mouth healthy is an essential piece of your overall health. It’s also important to keep your dentist informed of any changes in your overall health since many medical conditions can affect your dental health too.
A schedule for teeth cleaning and dental health maintenance should be established after a complete dental examination, including radiographs. Most people should have their teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist or dental hygienist every 6 months. However, some people may need more frequent visits to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when the dentist examines the mouth. An X-ray examination may reveal:
Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save time, money and often unnecessary discomfort. X-rays can detect damage to oral structures not visible during a regular exam. If you have a hidden tumor, X-rays may even help save your life. Dentist will evaluate your need for X-rays based on the conditions present in development. There are many benefits to having X-rays taken. Any additional questions or concerns should be discussed with your dentist.
Dental check-up radiographs or bitewing x-rays are taken approximately once a year. Every patient is unique so the dentist will establish the frequency of radiographs based on the specific needs of the individual patient.
Dental radiographs allow the dentist to see what is happening inside the teeth and under the gum tissues. The x-rays allow us to examine for cavities, periodontal disease, bone loss, infections, tooth formation and growth as well as normal tooth eruption patterns.
How safe are dental x-rays?
Dental x-rays are very safe. The amount of radiation that a dental x-ray produces is about the same as you would receive from a cross country airplane ride. Radiation is measured in millirems and one dental x-ray has only .5 millirems.
It is recommended that children have a dental exam approximately six months after the eruption of their first tooth.
Bad breath—also known as halitosis—can be caused by oral health issues, systemic medical problems, and/or a combination of both. It is estimated that 80% of halitosis is caused by oral diseases such as bacteria from cavities and bacteria found in the deepened sulcus of the gingival tissue, dorsum of the tongue, and saliva. Certain bacteria in the oral cavity that are responsible for a breakdown of products that contain volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) are most known as the causal agents for halitosis. The VSCs most associated with halitosis are methyl mercaptan, hydrogen sulfide, and dimethyl sulfide.
Additional oral causes of halitosis (usually the causal agent of bad breath 20% of the time) can be from issues such as gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), sinusitis, metabolic disorders, respiratory disorders, and immunologic disorders.
What should I do if I have bad breath?
Bad breath is also known as halitosis. Some people have more severe cases of it than others. Some only experience it in the morning, some all day. The major cause of halitosis is microbial deposits found on the tongue. We suggest brushing your tongue with your toothbrush everytime you brush and rinse with anti-bacterial mouthwash.
What causes bad breath?
Morning – Saliva cleanses the mouth of bacteria and at night your saliva glands all but shut down. Because of this, more bacteria sits in your mouth throughout the night causing bad breath when you wake in the a.m.
Food – If you enjoy eating onions, garlic and other food that has a strong odore this may be the culprit to your bad breath. These odors stay in your body for an extended amount of time and are exhaled causing bad breath.
Poor oral hygiene habits – If you are not brushing and flossing properly, the food particles that remain in your mouth can cause bacteria to grow, which in turn causes bad breath.
Periodontal disease – Bacteria and food stuck under gums causing inflammation. Again, if not removed properly on a daily basis or at regular dental hygiene appointments, this will cause bad breath and other dental problems
Dry mouth – If you are on certain medications, mainly breathe out of your mouth or happen to have issues with producing enough saliva this may cause bad breath.
Dehydration or Hunger – Drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow and washes bacteria away. If you are not drinking enough or eating enough this too could be the cause.
Tobacco products – Tobacco use surpresses the saliva glands in the mouth.
Medical conditions and illnesses – Various health issues including diabetes, liver and kidney problems and chronic sinus infections may contribute to bad breath.
Toothbrushing – Brush your teeth at least twice a day with and electric or traditional toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Young children should use a fluoride-free toothpaste until they have developed the ability to spit and not swallow toothpaste.
Flossing – Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Our Hygienist recommends flossing before brushing. If you prefer to floss after brushing make sure and rinse the food particles out of your mouth once done.
Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals as it helps clear your mouth of any food particles that may have been dislodged during brushing and flossing.
FALSE! Regular brushing & flossing is usually all that is needed for healthy teeth and gums.
1. Oral Cancer Detection – this is a serious issue that effects many people.
2. Plaque, tartar and cavities – plaque and tartar build-up is inevitable, regardless of how well you brush your teeth and small cavities that you are unaware of can become big issues if left untreated.
3. Find problems that are under the surface with X-rays.
5. Have a smile you’re proud of! Get rid of stains and yellow teeth by getting your teeth cleaned.
6. Find out what you are doing that is working and what is not. The dentist can tell you by examining your teeth whether your hygiene habits need to be changed.
7. Cost! If you go to the dentist once a year for a check-up and clean you’re far less likely to need expensive, time consuming and possibly painful dental care.
Gums bleed when they are irritated and inflamed which is not considered normal. This is due to plaque (a soft film of bacteria) being left on the teeth which causes inflammation called gingivitis and if not addressed can develop into gum disease. Over time, if not cleaned off through daily brushing and interdental cleaning, the plaque can turn into a hard deposit called tartar or calculus which will require professional scaling by your dentist or hygienist to remove it.
It is important even if your gums bleed they are still brushed to keep the mouth clean otherwise the bacteria build up in the mouth will make gum inflammation worse. After a few days of thorough cleaning, your gums should stop bleeding. If this does not happen you will need to ask the advice of your dental team as you may need professional cleaning.
A good oral care regime should be able to prevent your gums from bleeding if done correctly. We would always suggest that you have regular examinations at your dentist. This can help diagnose and treat anything unusual in your mouth so you get the correct care and advice.
You may have to use a softer brush whilst the gums are inflamed until they become healthier. It is also important to clean in between teeth daily using interdental brushes or floss.
Smoking can cover up a gum problem as it restricts the blood flow to the mouth. If you have recently given up smoking this could allow the gums to get a better circulation and therefore start to bleed.
People often respond to bleeding gums with the wrong method of treatment. Usually, gums that bleed are a symptom of the onset of periodontal disease or gingivitis. But often, people stop brushing as frequently and effectively because it may be painful or it may cause the gums to bleed again. However, when gums are inflamed, brushing could help reduce the inflammation. More importantly, you should see your dentist to have a periodontal screening and recording performed in order to determine the level of disease present and the best treatment course to pursue.
It is also worth noting that chronic dental pain and discomfort are obvious signs of a problem. Over-the-counter drugs may provide some temporary relief. These medications usually only mask the existence of a problem and should be taken on a temporary basis.
It is important to see your dentist as soon as possible if your gums begin to bleed.
Periodontal disease is inflammation and infection of the gums and supporting bone structure, which if left untreated, can cause permanent jaw bone destruction and possible tooth loss. Untreated periodontal disease has been linked to increased risk for conditions such as heart disease, stroke, low birth weight babies, pre-term delivery, respiratory disease, and prostate cancer. An advanced stage of periodontal disease exhibits inflamed gums pulling away from your bone and teeth. Other signs of periodontal disease include:
Treatment of early periodontal disease can be performed in-office. However, advanced stages may require surgery. Periodontal disease can be prevented and treated successfully by seeing your dentist and dental hygienist regularly and following recommended care plans.
You can try using a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth. Rub a little toothpaste into the sensitive area when going to bed as it helps protect the surface.
Try to avoid strongly acidic foods and drinks and wait at least an hour after eating before brushing as this could cause even more sensitivity. Grinding your teeth can also increase sensitivity and a mouth guard maybe necessary.
If the pain continues, speak to your dental team and they may be able to offer further care to reduce your symptoms. A number of things can cause sensitivity and your dental team will be able to identify these and advise the correct care.
A common misconception is that dental restorations last forever but unfortunately this is rarely true. With time dental restorations may break down or become loose, allowing decay to enter the area around the restoration and become problematic. Although you can’t expect your fillings, bridges, and crowns to last forever, you can do your part to make them last as long as possible. Maintain great oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly to keep those restorations in great condition for as long as possible.
Fees vary for each treatment and for each patient. It is almost impossible to let you know roughly especially over the phone as to how much procedures cost without actually seeing your teeth. With any procedure the best thing to do is come in and see either Dr Castro for a consultation. At this appointment you will find out all of your treatment options, have any questions answered and gain an estimated quote and treatment plan.
Depending on your level of dental (extras) coverage will determine what and how much treatment is covered. Most treatment is claimable through your insurance but rebates do vary. At your consultation appointment – which you are able to claim as long as you have a minimum of basic extras cover – you will receive a treatment plan and quote that will contain item numbers you can take back to your private health insurance. They will let you know what and how much you are covered for.
We understand a beautiful smile and great oral health is a significant investment. Naturally, you want to be sure you are getting a good value. One thing to ask yourself, are you concerned that the fee is too high for the recommended treatment or is the amount of the fee difficult for you right now? Perhaps the best way we can help you in your decision is to review the benefits of having the treatment and the risk of not having it. By going ahead with the recommended treatment, you will prevent potentially a small problem getting worst which consequently needing extensive and expensive treatment at later future times. And in terms of appearance, the treatment will put you on your way to smile anyone would be proud of.
While most people wouldn’t mind a brighter or straighter smile, it’s pretty rare to find someone who actually enjoys visiting the dentist, even for basic cleanings. For many, the discomfort of having a veritable stranger taking metal picks, tubes, scrapers and other tools to their wide-open mouths is too much to bear. And given the country’s ever-tightening financial waistband, there’s another aspect of seeing the dentist that’s equally daunting: the bill.
Those who have visited a dentist — or considered it — in recent years know that even the most basic dental procedures can be quite costly. Dental fillings can range from more than $100 to nearly $300 each, depending on the size of the filing, while more invasive and time-consuming procedures like a crown or molar root canal go for about $1,000 per tooth or more.
There are a number of reasons why dental procedures are so expensive. First, services are performed by trained professionals. Dentists are doctors who go through many years of college, dental school and specialized) training. Like many other professionals — lawyers, accountants, expert mechanics — dental services are priced accordingly.
The big boys, of course, play with big toys. The tools on hand at a general dentistry practice include highly specialized equipment that is not only pricey to purchase, but also to maintain. Film X-ray machines cost upwards and newer digital models go for more. A simple dental chair with the necessary light, trays and hookups, meanwhile, costs a lot. This, of course, doesn’t take into account the costs of surgical tools, as well as the anesthesia and other medications used in procedures such as root canals and filings. Additionally, dentists often turn to third-party labs and other dental product companies for things like crowns and dentures, which can also drive up the costs of certain procedures
Yet tools, drugs and lab work aren’t even the most costly part of doing business for many dental professionals. Overhead costs of running a dental office are huge. Anywhere from 60% to 80% of what a patient pays goes toward the expense of running a modern dental practice. Dentists pay for rent or mortgage payments on their office space, payroll for hygienists, office managers and receptionists, health insurance, taxes, supplies, business insurance and technology — just to name a few. “A lot of people would be surprised to know how tight the profit margins are.
The cost of dental care services varies for a number of reasons, including:
It is important to keep in mind that, when it comes to dental care, the age-old adage is true: you really do get what you pay for. Cheap dentistry is exactly that. The better the quality of your dental treatment, the more likely it is to last for years, or even the rest of your lifetime (if carefully maintained). The boost to your confidence and self-esteem, as well as the actual functioning of your teeth and mouth, should be above looking for the cheapest bargain!.
When you take out health insurance to cover you for dental fees, you should be aware that:
Unlike Medicare, dental fees are not subsidised by the Federal Government and there is no recognised fee schedule.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have “gold standard” health insurance coverage to take care of every possible combination of health care situation.
When it comes to dealing with dental care, having a private dental health insurance plan is your best option to deal with unexpected dental costs.
However, what is the right type of dental coverage for you?
Like most things in life – private dental coverage is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution, so picking the right plan from the outset is imperative. If you don’t, you’ll pay hundreds more than you need to, or worse, risk being improperly covered when you need it most.
There are an overwhelming number of plans to choose from, with different options available (and an overwhelming amount of fine print to read through).
Lets clear up the dental health insurance myth in Australia so that you can make a confident and informed decision.
How It Works: Health Insurance Dental
In Australia, you don’t specifically look for ONLY dental coverage per se, as dental coverage will fall under your health insurance plan.
Basic dental treatments are usually covered by your health insurance plan by default (regular check-ups, cleaning etc.) and you have the option to add on extra’s dental cover for an extra premium (which will cover you for larger dental procedures)
Types Of Coverage – Whats Best For You?
Typically, dental coverage is available in one of two ways in Australia: general and major dental. Exactly what is classified as general or major is not black or white; it varies from one health insurance provider to the next, but in general, according to PrivateHealth.gov.au:
“So, Should I go for a health fund that covers general dental, or look for a plan that covers general + extra coverage for major dental work?”
Selection of an appropriate type of policy is largely a function of your individual dental coverage requirements – For example:
If you are relatively young and your teeth are in good health, there is generally no need to spend money on a plan that covers you for major dental complications. A basic plan that covers you for general dental, will be good enough; just make sure you take advantage of the discounted preventive dental benefits to ensure your teeth stay in good shape!
If you feel like you will need an expensive procedure at some point in the future, for example, dental implants or dental veneers, then a higher level of cover is going to cost you more in the short termbut save you more in the long run.
With so many health insurance providers available to choose from, it’s hard to decide whom to select as your provider of choice. Always do your own research and make decisions based on your own unique circumstances (rather than taking advice from your know-it-all neighbour)
Start by looking at the following obvious factors:
In some cases, a fund might offer priority dental appointments to its members. What this means is that members get preferential treatment when it comes to booking appointments or seeing a dentist, even if it is an unscheduled visit. For busy individuals this might be an invaluable perquisite because of their hectic schedules. Your dental cover rebates will vary significantly depending on the level of “extras” you opt for.
What are the annual limits? Most funds will typically set an annual limit for each of the “extras”, while others may not have limits for certain extra coverage (such as Preventable checkups etc.) options. The lower the limit, the less you will benefit.The higher the annual limits, the more you’ll save.
Is there a waiting period? Make sure you read the fine print on how long your fund expects you to wait before any type of dental procedure is performed. Some funds have a 2 month waiting period (for General and Preventive procedures), while Major dental procedures could have wait times of up to 12 months. The maximum allowable waiting period is 12 months, so ideally look for something with a shorter waiting period.
What will my out of pocket expenses be? always ask what out of pocket expenses will be for general and major dental procedures, to get a good idea of how much you will benefit. Even though you are paying for coverage, there will generally be out of pocket expenses. Pick 5 dental procedures (a few general, and a few major) and ask a few health insurance providers what your out-of-pocket expenses will be.
Do you offer ‘no gaps’ benefits? Some funds offer “NO GAP” provisions to their members; what that means is that members have no gap (out of pocket payment) to incur when they visit their dentist for procedures such as check-ups, removal of plaque, cleaning, x-rays and other routine treatments. Most good providers will offer a no gap option nowadays.
PRO TIP: Keep your eye out for “special offers” from funds, during which they may waive (or reduce) the wait times associated with some of the “extras”. This is the best time to sign up to a new health insurance provider – during a sale!
With so many providers available to choose from, it’s hard to decide whom to select as your provider of choice. Since dental coverage falls under your health insurance plan, a very common question we get asked is: “What is the best health insurance for dental?”
Here are a few that you may like to take a closer look at for general and major dental care:
The Best Dental Insurance For General Dental Coverage
Chances are that you already have private health coverage, but the confusing question is, exactly what type of dental work are you covered for?
If you you have ancillary or extras with your health insurance cover, you should be able to get free (or low cost) preventative dental care, which is the best way to prevent expensive dental complications from arriving in the future.
PRO TIP: If you current health insurance provider does not provide you with reduced cost or free preventative dental care, consider moving to a company that does. Prevention is always better than the cure.
“Coverage for major dental procedures in Australia is quite weak”
And you’re right! Unfortunately, Australian health insurance providers do not provide amazing benefits by any means for patients seeking major dental work. Considering that some procedures can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars, it’s just to risky in their eyes.
While certain health providers do provide levels of coverage of up to $2000, you can only access this rebate once you’ve been with the company for 5 + years.
Your Preparation: The Best Dental Coverage
Health insurance exists to ensure that you’re protected in case of unexpected dental costs (e.g. Root Canal Costs – which can be VERY VERY expensive if you’re not prepared, or wisdom teeth removal, which always seem to cost more than you were quoted for!)
As we age, we become more susceptible to diseases, including dental decay and orally borne illnesses – thats a fact we have to live with.
As we’ve revealed, coverage for major dental work is limited in Australia, meaning you’ll likely have to fork out a good deal of your own savings if you unexpectedly require any type of major dental work. So what can you do about?
Prevention is better than the cure – always strive to take care of your teeth and this means making use of your health funds general/preventative benefits: make use of the free regular checkups and subsidies preventive dental care!
Don’t leave choosing a dental health plan until it’s too late – join a policy that has great general dental coverage ASAP and start making use of your preventative dental care benefits.
Always read the fine print – Before signing up to a plan, to ensure you’re getting the best benefits your money can buy. These points are what you should be looking at.
Plan ahead for the chance of major dental work – You now know that your health insurance coverage will be limited and weak at best, so have a backup plan ready to go. This can be either putting away savings, asking your dentist if they offer payment plans, or considering dental tourism to save money.
Being covered by an appropriate dental health insurance plan will help relieve the stress of having to deal with such unexpected costs.
What Benefits Will I Receive From My Health Fund?
Read more http://www.phio.org.au/facts-and-advice/dental-and-oral-surgery.aspx
Many Australians use private health insurance to pay for dental care. Most health funds will only pay about half of the cost and you will need to pay the rest yourself.
Policies vary widely between different health funds. There are differences in what they will cover and how much they will pay. There may also be limits on how much you can claim each year. It’s important to check what’s included in your cover before you receive dental care.
You can find what your health fund covers in the ‘General treatment, Extras or Ancillary’ section of your policy. Funds use different terms to describe what they will pay for, so you will need to check the policy carefully:
Some health funds have preferred providers, meaning you see dentists that they recommend. This way you get lower fees, higher rebates and more preventive services, but you don’t have a wide choice of dentists.
You can compare polices at privatehealth.gov.au
The Australian Government does not cover the costs of most dental services in the way it does with other health services. Most dental costs are paid for by patients.
Medicare does, however, pay for some essential dental services for some children and adults who are eligible.
Child Dental Benefits Schedule: This pays $1,000 over 2 calendar years for children aged 2 to 17 for basic dental services, including dental examinations, x-rays, cleaning, sealing cracked teeth, fillings, root canals and extractions. It does not cover orthodontic or cosmetic dental work or any dental care provided in hospital.
Most of the services are bulk billed, so you don’t pay anything. The payments are only available to families who are already receiving other government benefits. To see if your child is eligible, visit the Department of Human Services website.
Public dental services: The states and territories provide public dental services both for children and adults. These may include emergency dental services or referrals to specialist services like orthodontics in hospital. Adults must generally have a Health Care Card or Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card to be eligible, although the rules vary depending on where you live.
Each state and territory offers different services and you may have to wait up to a year or more to see a dentist.
To find out what’s available where you live, visit your state or territory health department website:
Avoiding the dentist is tempting, especially because having a cavity filled or a tooth pulled is not anyone’s idea of fun. But there’s another reason why people would prefer to avoid the dentist: Dental work isn’t cheap.
The cost of dental care per person has increased. And once you have a family, you might have to pay for multiple dental procedures each year, which can really add up.
While the costs are a nuisance, skipping the dentist can put your health at risk. Untreated cavities are a pain (literally), and dental problems potentially can also lead to more serious health issues, like heart problems. Dental visits are just as important as visits to your physician—you don’t want to put them off for too long.
While the costs are a nuisance, skipping the dentist can put your health at risk.
Because most medical plans don’t include dental work, dental insurance is often sold separately. And even if you have dental insurance, there’s no guarantee that it will cover the entire cost of an expensive procedure.
Fortunately, there are a few ways for you to pay for dental work if it isn’t covered by your insurance. Let’s take a look at what dental work your medical insurance might cover, payment plans for dental work, and dental loans.
USING INSURANCE FOR DENTAL WORK
Your medical insurance provider may only offer coverage for dental work it deems “medically necessary.” And what is medically necessary varies from provider to provider. Because dental health affects the rest of your body, there can be a fine line between what’s considered a dental procedure and a medical procedure.
Oral surgery could potentially be billed as a medical procedure. And while dental procedures aren’t typically covered by medical insurance, there may be components that are covered under certain circumstances.
Since it can be a case-by-case basis, before you move forward with any dental procedures, it’s probably a smart idea to talk to your medical insurance provider to see if you’re covered. That conversation alone can be a good start to understanding potential out of pocket costs that may come up.
One important thing to note is that there is a difference between a dental office that takes your insurance vs a dental office that you are in-network with. A dentist may take your insurance even though you are out of network with them.
When a dentist says that they take your insurance, that likely means that they will file a claim to your insurance for you. But if your insurance doesn’t cover a procedure or service, the price will generally be set at your dentist’s discretion—and you would typically be responsible for paying the costs out of pocket.
Generally, using an out-of-network dentist means your insurance would cover less and you’d pay more. Being in-network, on the other hand, usually means that your insurance company has pre-negotiated the fees with the dentist and they generally can’t charge more than that. So you’d typically pay less with an in-network dentist because more of it might be covered by insurance.
PAYMENT PLANS OFFERED BY YOUR DENTIST’S OFFICE
Paying a bill on a weekly or monthly basis can be much more manageable than paying it in a lump sum. That’s why dental offices may offer flexible payment plans for procedures not covered by insurance.
Because payment plans differ from dentist to dentist, it can be helpful to speak to your dental office about the specific terms of any payment plans offered. For example, you might want to ask what procedures qualify for a payment plan.
Is there an interest fee, and if so, how much is it? Do they have to check your credit before offering you a payment plan? Asking these questions beforehand may help keep you from getting blindsided by any unexpected costs.
These payment plans may be offered directly through your dentist office, or they can be offered by third-party services like CareCredit . Check with your dentist to see which type of financing options they offer to see if they are a good fit for you.
TAKING OUT A DENTAL LOAN
A personal loan is an unsecured loan that you can use for almost anything. And because of this flexibility, many people use personal loans to pay for out of pocket medical expenses.
And personal loans tend to have lower interest rates than credit cards.
Using a personal loan to finance dental work (dental loan) might be a better option to finance dental work than using a credit card. The lower the interest rate, the lower your monthly payment. And personal loans tend to have lower interest rates than credit cards.
Credit cards currently have an average interest rate of around 17% , but online lenders such as SoFi offer personal loans with lower interest rates to qualified borrowers.
How much you can borrow is also flexible when it comes to personal loans to finance your dental work. In short, a dental loan might be a good option to cover additional dental needs, from basic cavity fillings to more complex, high-cost procedures.
EARLY RELEASE OF SUPERANNUATION FOR DENTAL TREATMENT
Do you need major dental work but have no idea how you’re going to pay for it? You could qualify for the Early Release of Superannuation (ERS), which has been established to provide you with access to your funds when you need them most.
Instead of waiting until you are 65 years old, you are able to access your funds immediately, regardless of you are in your 20s or your 40s. That’s why requesting an early release of superannuation for dental treatment can provide enormous financial relief, especially if you have limited private health cover.
How does early Release of Superannuation (ERS) work?
The early access to superannuation funds has been designed to allow you to receive essential dental treatment that is paid for by funds that belong to you.
However, you should note that you need to meet select criteria to apply for the early release of funds. This option should also be a last resort and one taken after all other considerations have been exhausted. Speaking to a financial counsellor before you go ahead is a good idea.
How can I apply for Early Release of Superannuation (ERS)?
First, you need to establish if you are eligible to access the funds. Depending on the superannuation fund you are with, you are allowed access to a lump sum to pay out-of-pocket expenses for dental treatment for yourself or your dependents.
The specific requirements for applying for early access based on compassionate grounds include:
How does a dental ERS application work?
Australian Tax Office (ATO) has strict rules for what qualifies as a treatment you can finance through ERS. Here’s how the procedure usually begins:
Qualifying for ERS for dental
Your superannuation is there to help protect your quality of life in retirement. Accessing it before that time is strictly regulated of course. However, for cases where your quality of life will be lower if you don’t access those funds, the government makes allowances.
It must be justified on medical grounds. If your teeth aren’t fit for purpose – if you can’t chew and can’t eat – that is good grounds for an ERS application.
Cosmetic veneers and things like that are not really an option. But if you need the porcelain to adjust your bite, that’s different. So, it really depends on your circumstances. All-on-4 is probably the most common treatment which people have been funding via the super route, that is when you need all your teeth replacing because they are terminal so this certainly fits the criteria.”
Before embarking on a trip abroad for dental treatment there are a number of factors to consider.
It is important to do your research and familiarise yourself with the process in the country you are looking at having the treatment, as well as speaking about it with your dentist here first. The things you need to think about are:
Many people who are going abroad are wanting more advanced (higher cost) procedures which are more likely to result in complications. No matter how skilled the clinician, there is always a risk of treatment failure. If complications do arise once you are home, it will not always be easy to return to the clinic which provided the treatment, especially if there is an infection. Your insurance may not cover the travel costs involved in returning to the clinic, especially if you wish to return with a partner or friend.
Procedures such as crowns, bridges, veneers and implants are not easily carried out rapidly. Expertise and time are essential to achieving a good outcome. For instance, to achieve a perfect bite, the patient can require repeat visits and a series of adjustments. This may not be possible if the dentist is abroad.
It is always important that your clinician can communicate with you and explain the treatment provided and recommendations for post-surgical care. This is always more difficult when English is not the first language of your practitioner. He or she needs to know exactly what you want and you need to know exactly what you are getting. Problems and complaints often arise from communication issues.
Varying standards and approaches
Different countries have a different concept of aesthetic beauty. For example, in the USA very white and even teeth are thought attractive, whereas in the UK they prefer a more natural smile. There are also varying clinical standards and while in the UK, dentists are more likely to save a tooth, in some countries, dentists may be more ready to extract. Not all countries have the same high standards of cross-infection control, and in developing countries there can be a higher incidence of infectious diseases.
Many of those considering travelling abroad believe that private dentistry is not affordable. However, sometimes this is based on an assumption. It is advisable to talk to a number of dental practices, check prices and ascertain if they have a payment plan in place. This can help spread treatment costs, making treatment both affordable and accessible.