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.
Procedures they may perform include delivering local anaesthetics, fillings, primary tooth extraction, professional cleans, fissure sealants and fluoride applications. If care is beyond their scope of practice the dental therapist will refer to an appropriate dentist or specialist dentist.
From the first year of high school to age 18 dental care is provided by private dentists that are contracted by District Health Boards (DHBs). Click here to find a provider near you.
To enrol your child in a free dental service call 0800 TALK TEETH (0800 825 583) or for more information view the Kids Health website
Note: Orthodontic care and tooth whitening is not free for under 18 year olds. Accidents are covered by ACC.
Free dental care for under 18 year olds
All teens from year 9 at school until their 18th birthday are eligible to receive free dental treatment (excludes international students).
These dental services are funded by the Ministry of Health. Many parents and children are unaware of this free service!
Free dental services include:
- Regular check-ups
- Preventative treatments like fluoride or fissure sealants
- You’ll need to pay for orthodontic treatments, like braces to straighten teeth. Children with special medical needs, eg cleft palates, can get free treatment.
* Children in New Zealand are entitled to one free dental examination per year. If there is another problem, they can make another free appointment.
* MOH may not be able to cover the full cost of treatment. Orthodontic care and tooth whitening is not free for under 18 year olds.
* Accidents are covered by ACC.
Free dental care – Kids under 13 years
Children under the age of 13 years are also eligible for free dental treatment on referral letter from a school Dental Nurse.
Your child’s first visit will usually be between their 1st and 2nd birthdays.
What happens when my child turns 18?
Basic dental services are free until you’re 18.
If you need dental treatment after 18, and you’re on a low income or have an illness, disability or injury, you can apply for government support through WINZ.