You may have heard the news about the new dental benefit replacing the current Medicare Teen Dental Plan (MDTP).

If you haven't, it's the perfect opportunity to get up to speed with the new policy and how it may be able to help your children maintain good oral health and achieve that bright smile that will last them through to adulthood.

The Children's Dental Benefit Schedule

The Children's Dental Benefit Schedule (CDBS) is set to replace the MDTP from January 1, 2014. While the current plan only covers the cost of an annual preventive dental check for those aged 12-17, the new CDBS will cover a wider range of services and children aged between 2 and 17 will be included in the scheme.

To be eligible to receive the benefit, families will need to undertake a means test. It's expected that around 3.4 million Australian children in total will be covered by the CDBS.

Under the new benefit, children will be able to receive a payout capped at $1,000 each over a two year calendar period to cover the cost of basic dental services.

This means examinations, x-rays, cleaning, fissure sealing, fillings, extractions and root canals are all covered by the CDBS. However, orthodontic work and cosmetic dentistry procedures are excluded from the schedule. In addition to this, services provided by a hospital are also exempt from the benefit.

Why earlier is better

With the CDBS, there's more motivation than ever for parents to really commit to the preventive dental approach for their children.

Taking your child along for regular dental check-ups every six months can have a critical effect on their overall oral health. These check-ups provide the opportunity for early detection of any dental issues that may be present in your child's mouth.

The longer dental problems go untreated, the more severe their impact can be on your child. That's why regular check-ups are essential for identifying and resolving these issues before they can pose a more serious problem for your child.

More information is available on the Department of Health website . Information regarding how to claim the benefits and other operational responsibilities in accordance with the scheme will become available in December through the ADA. We will keep you updated if any changes are made to the CDBS. If you have any questions regarding the details of the scheme please call Medicare on 132 011.

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