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Does Medicare Cover Dental Implants?

The short answer is no, Medicare does not generally cover routine dental treatments like check-ups, cleanings, or cosmetic procedures. However, Medicare may cover some emergency and major dental treatments and dental implants that are classified as medically necessary, depending on your individual circumstances. 

In this article, we’ll explore Medicare, coverage for dental implants in Australia, and alternative ways to pay for dental implants in Perth.

What Does Medicare CoverOverview of Medicare’s Coverage

Medicare is Australia’s universal health insurance programme. Medicare ensures that all Australians, as well as certain international visitors, have free or low-cost access to a comprehensive range of healthcare services. Medicare covers a wide range of healthcare costs including hospital services, medical services, and diagnostic tests, such as scans and imaging. No matter where they live or how much money they have, Medicare helps Australians pay for the medical treatment they need.

Eligibility for Medicare

Eligible patients include Australian citizens, New Zealand citizens, permanent residents of Australia, and citizens or permanent residents of Norfolk Island, Cocos Islands, Christmas Island or Lord Howe Island. 

What does Medicare cover?

Medicare covers emergency treatment, most operations and procedures (with a waiting period for non-emergencies), in-hospital medication, and follow-up care for public hospital patients. Medicare covers a variety of medical services, including doctor visits (both primary care physicians and specialists), preventative care (such as check-ups and immunisations), and mental health care (including evaluations, plans of care, and medications). Medicare also covers some dental procedures under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule

Medicare coverage for adult dental procedures

Dental procedures and dental care for adults, including dental implants, are generally considered to be elective and not medically necessary under Medicare guidelines. However, if your general health is being affected and your GP believes dental implant surgery is medically necessary, you can get a referral from your GP and Medicare will subsidise the costs. 

Medicare will usually cover oral and maxillofacial surgery related to an accident or injury, or dental treatment that is required for another medical condition. For example, if you were involved in a car accident and dental implants are necessary to aid your ability to eat, then Medicare will likely cover your teeth implants

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are synthetic roots for teeth that are surgically implanted into the jawbone to anchor a dental prosthesis such as a crown. They are usually composed of titanium (a biocompatible material) and integrate/grow into the jawbone through a process known as osseointegration. This creates a strong, durable framework for replacement teeth.

The dental implant procedure typically involves several steps, including the placement of the implant, a healing period to allow for osseointegration, and the attachment of the dental prosthesis. Dental implants can be used for single tooth replacement, or to replace several teeth or an entire dental arch that has been lost.

Benefits of dental implants

Dental implants offer several benefits over other replacements because they give you a natural-looking smile, make chewing and speaking easier, last longer, preserve your jawbone and stop it from shrinking. Moreover, dental implants are more convenient because they stay in your mouth permanently and don’t need glue, adhesives, or to be taken out at night. 

How Do Most People Pay for Dental Implants in Australia?

As a major dental procedure, dental implants can be a significant financial investment. While Medicare may not cover the costs, there are other options available:

  • Private health insurance: Some private health insurance plans offer dental coverage, depending on the level of private insurance coverage that you have. Some plans may provide partial coverage, while others may offer full coverage up to certain limits, and may even have specific dental insurance programmes or dental health funds. It’s important to review your policy and discuss your options with your insurance provider to make sure you understand the specifics.
  • Dental financing: Dental implant costs can be spread and separated out over time with the help of flexible payment plans or financing alternatives offered by many dental practices. 
  • Personal savings or loans: Some individuals choose to save up or take out a loan to cover the cost of dental implants. Due to the cost of dental care, many patients also opt for dental bridges while saving up for their implants. 

How much do dental implants cost?

Factors that affect the final price of dental implants include the patient’s oral health, the difficulty of the surgery, the number of implants required, and the specific location of the dental clinic. On average, a single implant in Australia can range from $2,000 to $6,000 per tooth. On the other hand, All-on-4 dental implants generally range from $25,000 to $45,000 in Australia, depending on multiple factors, such as the materials used.

Additional costs may include dental consultations, X-rays, any necessary bone grafting or extractions, as well as the costs of repairing/recovering from implant failure. It’s important to schedule a consultation with a dentist to get an accurate cost estimate based on your specific needs. 

At Radiant Smiles in WA, we provide thorough consultations and individualised procedures and treatment plans targeted to your specific needs. We’ll discuss all the potential pain and problems you may experience, and how we will address each of those issues, should they arise. Contact us today to book your consultation and start your dental implant treatment plan.