Pensioner Exclusive: Dental Cost Savings

Oral care is important at every age, however it becomes increasingly important as people age. The dental health issues in older patients are far more complex  than those of younger persons. Old age, lifestyle, eating habits, and other factors can weaken the teeth and gums. These ongoing issues can ultimately cause teeth loss, tooth decay and gum diseases. To rectify these problems dentures are often required and these costs go beyond the initial denture fitting; there are additional costs for relining, or replacement dentures.

Cost Of Dentures For Pensioners

The cost of denture investment depends on various factors, some of which have been outlined below:

● Whether complete or partial dentures are required
● If the dentures are required for immediate fitting or custom-made
● The type of denture material used
● The technique and design required to build the denture(s)
● The complexity of procedure in individual cases

According to data available for the 2019 dental fee survey, the average cost for a set of complete dentures is AUD$4,000.

Saving Dental Costs As A Pensioner

There are a few ways in which a patient can reduce the denture costs. The most impactful way is dependent on a person’s pension status. Certain options allow a greater cost reduction than others – in some cases a pensioner may be eligible for dentures/a denture repair at no cost at all.

Some options to explore are as follows:

● Concession Card For Pensioners
With the use of a pensioner’s concession card an elder is eligible to receive services from their state’s dental health service providers through Medicare. It is worth noting that the allowable services can differ depending on the state on which the person resides. We recommend checking with the state health provider to see if a patient would be eligible for free or reduced dentures before booking the treatment.
Upon visiting their local public dental health facility a patient will be offered advice about all the treatment options available to them. There can, however, often be prolonged wait times for these appointments, therefore in order to see someone quicker an alternative option is to request a treatment voucher. The person issuing the voucher can advise on a visit to any state-approved dental clinic as well as a list of accredited dentists to choose from.

● DVA Gold Card
Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) gold cardholders receive free dental care under the DVA program. They are entitled to treatment by simply presenting their card in a dental facility. It is worth confirming which procedures are covered under the card before scheduling to ensure they are covered. In some cases, prior approval is required on certain treatments.

● Healthcare Card
If a pension concession card isn’t held but an elderly patient receives other forms of government assistance, they may opt to use their healthcare card instead. The government assistance, in this instance, includes widow allowance, care payments, and Newstart. If a person is interested in pursuing this option they will need to check their annual treatment limit first and
foremost. Further to this it is mandatory to present a valid healthcare or Medicare card before commencing dental treatment (regardless of the type of treatment required).

● Treatment From Teaching Facilities
Should the options above not prove available or applicable to a pensioner’s situation, a different lower-cost alternative to receiving cheaper dentures is to seek treatment from teaching facilities. Most Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions with dental clinics are a viable option. The locations are always kept in pristine condition (as usual dental clinics would be) and the teaching staff are on hand to oversee the students’ work. Besides having the best dental clinics, they also have some of the best and latest dental technologies. Should this option be of interest a simple online search will show nearby teaching clinics that offer services at a lower cost. Qualified professionals will be on hand to consult as they are educational institutions. It is worth noting that treatments may take longer than a private dental clinic.

● Dental Insurance Covers
Some dental or health insurance providers cover the cost of dentures. This isn’t common practice, however, as most insurance providers consider the implementation of dentures as a cosmetic surgery procedure. In addition to this, a selection of home insurance providers cover lost dentures under home
items. While the insurance cover may not cater to the initial cost of fixing dentures it can prove beneficial if a replacement is required. As always it is recommended to check with a patient’s insurance provider to know all available and relevant options to them.

Conclusion

There are multiple ways and avenues to explore to save money on the implementation of dentures as a pensioner. Our advice is to shop around for the best deal. Prices and availability vary considerably between dental clinics so it is worth conducting a thorough search before choosing one clinic.