Free dental care for kids aged 13-18

Children in New Zealand are entitled to free basic dental care services from birth right through to the age of 18 as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

Your local District Health Board (DHB) will cover the cost of basic dental services up until your child turns 18.

At Hamilton Dental Centre we are able to see children from 13 to 18 years for their general dentistry provisions, excluding orthodontic work that may be required.

How do I enrol my child for free dental care in New Zealand?

Many parents and guardians will be handed an enrolment form from Plunket when their child turns 15 months old. This is typically the first time a child will need to see the dentist as their baby teeth start to come through.

You can also enrol your child for free dental care by calling your Community Oral Health Service on 0800 TALK TEETH (0800 825 583). You can find a lot more information about this on the Ministry of Health website.

What happens between the age of 0 and 13?

From age 0 to Year 8 (last year of intermediate school) dental care is provided by dental therapists in a school or community dental clinic. Dental therapists provide routine dental care and oral health education to under 18 year olds.

It is important to organise your first visit with a dentist as soon as your child’s baby teeth first start to come through. Regular check-ups increase the chances of finding and treating any tooth decay early. Your dental therapist will tell you how often your child should have a check-up.

During this time, dental therapists may deliver the following services to your child aged 0 to 13:

  • Delivering local anaesthetics
  • Fillings
  • Primary tooth extraction
  • Professional cleans
  • Fissure sealants
  • Fluoride applications

Regular dental checks should be carried out between these ages and good oral health practices should be encouraged from a young age. It’s important once their adult teeth start to come through that you arrange regular checkups to ensure no issues develop.

Free dental care – under 18 years

From the first year of high school until their 18th birthday, dental care is provided by private dentists that are contracted by District Health Boards. Hamilton Dental Centre is one of those dental practices contracted by the DHB and we can provide free dental services for children aged 13 to 18.

Free dental services include

Many dental services are available for free for kids including:

  • Annual check-up
  • X-rays
  • Cleaning
  • Fillings
  • Extractions
  • Fissure sealants
  • Fluoride applications

There are some treatments that are not covered for free and these include all orthodontic work, like braces to straighten teeth. That’s why it’s important to schedule regular visits to the dentist from an early age to ensure any issues are picked up quickly and the correct treatment can be provided.

If your child is involved in an accident that requires dental treatment, this will often be covered under ACC, however, you will need to check with your dentist that the accident meets the eligibility requirements.

What happens after my child turns 18?

Basic dental services are free up until your 18th birthday and after that, you will be required to pay for dental services here in New Zealand.

Talk to a dentist at Hamilton Dental Centre

Hamilton Dental Centre is a registered dental practice that offers free dental care for kid aged 13 to 18. Talk to the team today and register your child for free dental services at Hamilton Dental.