Publicly funded dental care
Dental care for tamariki and rangatahi (children and young people) is publicly funded. Once you are over 18, you have to pay for most of your dental care privately.
Tamariki and rangatahi
Tamariki in Aotearoa New Zealand who are eligible for publicly funded health and disability services can get free basic oral health services from birth until their 18th birthday.
Enrol them as soon as possible so that you can arrange the first check up.
Their first visit will usually be between the first and second birthdays. You will be given an appointment once you enrol.
To enrol call 0800 825 583 (0800 TALK TEETH).
Standard treatments are free and include:
- routine examination to check teeth for decay and look at the gums and mouth for any problems
- x-rays used to find tooth decay and other problems that cannot be seen
- fluoride treatment, which helps make the surface of the teeth more resistant to decay
- fissure sealants, which are a thin layer of white filling, painted onto teeth that are at risk of developing tooth decay
- cleaning plaque, staining and tartar from teeth
- fillings to restore teeth that have been affected by tooth decay
- extractions to remove teeth that have been badly affected by tooth decay.
Referral for extra treatments
If your tamariki need extra treatments, you will be referred to another oral health service provider.
- Many treatments will still be free, but you will need to pay for some treatments – such as orthodontics (which includes braces on teeth).
- Talk to your local oral health service about the costs and payment options.
Do not wait for teeth problems — take your tamariki for regular check ups.
Your dental therapist, oral health therapist or dentist will let you know how often you need to take them.
Dental check ups mean problems are recognised and treated early. Try to get an appointment for a time when your tamariki is not tired.