SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Good teeth-cleaning habits and regular visits to a dentist are the best way to take care of your teeth, mouth and gums.
- Seeing a dentist in your local area is your first step for dental health problems.
- Dental health services include dentists, oral health therapists, dental therapists, dental hygienists, dental prosthetists and a range of oral healthcare specialists, including orthodontists.
- Free or low-cost dental care is available through Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) for eligible Victorians. Private dentists generally cost more.
Seeing a dentist or dental health practitioner
Regular dental check-ups will help prevent oral problems from developing.
Types of dental health professionals
Depending on your oral healthcare needs, there are a variety of services and professionals who can help. The following links provide a description of what each dental health professional does:
Public dental healthcare
The following people are eligible for public dental care:
- all children aged 0 to 12 years
- young people aged 13 to 17 years who hold a healthcare or pensioner concession card, or who are dependants of concession card holders
- people aged 18 years and over, who are health care or pensioner concession card holders or dependants of concession card holders
- all children and young people up to 18 years of age who are in out-of-home care (including kinship and foster care) provided by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing
- all people in youth justice custodial care
- all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- all refugees and asylum seekers.
All Victorians can access emergency dental care at the Royal Dental Hospital Melbourne.
Fees for dental health services
How much you pay for public dental healthcare depends on your situation and the type of treatment you need. You may be able to get treatment for free or there may be a cost involved.
For eligible Victorians, free public dental treatment is available for:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- homeless people and people at risk of homelessness
- refugees and asylum seekers
- children and young people aged 0 to 17 years who are health care or pensioner concession card holders or who are dependents of concession card holders
- all children and young people who are in out-of-home care (including kinship and foster care) provided by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, up to 18 years of age
- all people in youth justice custodial care
- registered clients of mental health or disability services, supported by a letter of recommendation from their case manager or staff of a special developmental school
- people receiving care from undergraduate dental students
- people experiencing financial hardship.
The Australian Government's Commonwealth Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) provides dental benefits for children aged from 0 to 17 years in eligible families. For more information on the CDBS, visit the .
Private dental healthcare
Most dentists work in private practice and people often have a regular dentist who has given them dental health service for many years.
If you need to see a dentist and if you do not have a regular one, it is a good idea to ask family, friends or people in your local area to suggest someone who can look after your ongoing dental healthcare needs.
Fees for private dental healthcare
Private dentists and dental health professionals set their own fees, which can vary depending on the dentist and the type of treatment required.
These costs can be offset if you take out dental insurance, which is offered under many private health insurance policies or as an insurance extra.
Finding a dentist
- Tel. (Melbourne Metro), Monday to Friday only: 8:30am-4:30pm.
- Tel. (outside Melbourne Metro), Monday to Friday only: 8:30am-4:30pm.
If you need specialised oral health treatment, your local dentist can provide you with a referral.
Preparing for your dental appointment
Everyone has different oral health needs and risk levels which should be reflected in the frequency of dental visits. Talk to your dentist about your risk level and how frequently you need to see your dentist.
If you are experiencing pain or sensitivity in your teeth, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
To prepare for your appointment, it is a good idea to:
- wear comfortable clothing
- avoid drinks containing or on the day of your visit
- bring a list of any medication and you are taking (name and dosage)
- bring a list of any or bad reactions you have had to local anaesthetics
- have a list of questions to ask.
During your dental appointment
At your check-up, expect your dentist to:
- carefully examine your mouth, teeth and gums
- ask about your general health and any issues you have with your teeth, mouth or gums
- ask about your at home and give advice on ways to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy
- ask about your diet, and
- explain any risks associated with treatment you may need, and the costs
- let you know when your next check-up is due.