Dentistry in NZ is either publicly or privately funded.
Publicly Funded Services
Routine dental care is available to all NZ children and adolescents up to the age 18 free of charge.
Child Dental Services
Children, from birth to year 8 schooling, must be enrolled with the School Dental Service to receive free routine dental care at their school or community dental clinics. Routine dental treatment is provided by dental therapists and if treatment required is outside a therapist’s scope, referral to a contracting dentist occurs which is free under the Combined Dental Agreement.
Special Dental Benefit Scheme for Children
This scheme covers any referrals to a contracting dentist by a dental therapist or provision of emergency treatment out of school hours. If the dentist is not contracted a charge may incur.
Adolescent Dental Scheme
Adolescents from Year 9 until their 18th birthday are eligible for free routine dental care by dentists that are contracted by DHB under the Combined Dental Agreement. A fee may incur for other services that are not routine. Specialist services such as orthodontics and tooth whitening are not covered under the scheme.
For further information about the Community Oral Health Service in NZ phone
0800 TALK TEETH/0800 825 583
Special Needs and Medically Compromised Adults
Hospitals also provide special need services for intellectual, physical and medically compromised individuals that require specialized facilities that cannot otherwise be provided privately. Care is also provided by hospital for those involved in acute trauma or referred in where a patient needs specialized management such as general anesthesia.
Low Income Adults
Most public hospitals may also hold contracts to provide a relief of pain or limited routine dental service for low income adults who cannot access care privately. To access the service a current community services card is necessary and a part charge is also required. Work and Income NZ may also assist with funding for dental care. Contact your local hospital dental unit to enquire whether this service is available and the eligibility criterion.
Private Dental Service
Most New Zealanders receive their dental treatment privately at their own cost. There is no standard fee structure nationally and therefore fees are set by individual practices. Compared to public hospital, there is often more treatment options available such as whitening and implants. Go to www.dcnz.org.nz/cgi-bin/searchohp.pl or search the yellow pages www.yellow.co.nz to find a dentist near you.