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What is the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), and is my family eligible?

Chris Stanley

Chris Stanley

Updated 13/04/2023

The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) is a program run by the Australian Government, to help you cover the cost of caring for your kids’ teeth. Here’s what you need to know:

What is the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), and is my family eligible?

A guide to the Child Dental Benefit Schedule (CDBS)

Affordable dental care is often a struggle for parents. It’s one of the bigger healthcare ‘gaps’ that Medicare just doesn’t cover for your family - but that’s changed a bit with the The Child Dental Benefit Schedule (CDBS).

Key Points

  • Children who were eligible for the CDBS in 2022 may receive up to $1,013 over 2 calendar years for preventative and restorative dentistry (i.e., until 2024)*.

  • If your child/ren become/s eligible in 2023, their benefit amount rises to $1,052 over the next 2 calendar years (i.e., until 2025)*.

  • Cover extends for 2 years from the date of eligibility (that’s your kid’s eligibility, not yours)*.

  • There are some restrictions for basic dental services.

  • Cosmetic dental procedures (like tooth crowns), and orthodontics are not covered by the CDBS, regardless of your eligibility.


What is the Child Dental Benefits Schedule?

The CDBS takes care of some, or all, of the cost for basic dental care of your children, if your family is eligible. This initiative is designed to benefit parents with children aged 2-17 years, if your family receives government payments*. 

What Services are covered by the CDBS?

The CDBS assists with the costs of preventative and restorative dental procedures, including some surgeries. Procedures that are covered include:

  • Examinations

  • X-rays

  • Cleaning

  • Fissure sealing

  • Fillings

  • Root canals

  • Extractions, and

  • Partial dentures^.

What procedures aren’t covered by the scheme?

There are several dental procedures you can’t get for your kids under the CDBS program, including orthodontics and cosmetic dental work. For example, if your child has their teeth chipped during a sporting match, any procedure to correct this isn’t covered by the CDBS. There are also a few additional restrictions for basic dental services. The following aren’t covered:

  • orthodontic dental work*.

  • cosmetic dental work*.

  • any dental services in a hospital*.

Before agreeing to any dental procedures for your child/ren, check with your dentist regarding the CDBS restrictions.

Is my child eligible for CDBS?

If your child is eligible for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), you’ll receive a letter from Medicare letting you know this. Usually, your child can get CDBS when:

  • they're eligible for Medicare.

  • they're between 0 and 17 years old for at least one day that calendar year.

  • you (or they) receive an eligible Services Australia payment at least once in that calendar year.

The CDBS is means tested*. This means that you, and your child, must meet certain Centrelink criteria in order to receive any benefits from the CDBS. If you already receive a benefit from Centrelink, then your means testing is likely already available to the CDBS administration.

If not, you will need to let Medicare know your family tax benefit status. This is used to decide on your eligibility for the CDBS..

Are Centrelink recipients eligible for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule*?

Broadly speaking, yes though it depends on which Centrelink payments you’re getting.  You can check your eligibility through Medicare online or read more on the Medicare website.

Eligible payments that entitle you to the CDBS include disaster relief assistance, both here and in New Zealand*. 

Can I use private health insurance alongside the Child Dental Benefits Schedule?

Yes, but not for the same dental procedures. There are dental procedures you can’t claim under the CDBS - such as orthodontic work and any dental surgery requiring a hospital stay. 

Your private health cover can assist with these costs#.

It’s possible to use the CDBS benefit for procedures such as:

  • dental checkups.

  • teeth cleaning.

  • dental x-rays.

  • fillings.

  • fissure sealants.

  • extractions.

  • root canal.

Depending on your level of health cover, further dental care such as orthodontics, dental cosmetic procedures, and mouthguards can be claimed via your private health cover`. You can find out more about private health insurance and orthodontics in our guide here.

Dental crowns can be an important  consideration if your child/ren play any contact sports. Your private health insurance can cover dental crowns as well as mouthguards, which the CDBS doesn’t. Our guide for health cover that includes dental crowns can be found here.

As noted above, check your health cover to ensure your family has the dental cover they need, and you’re not overpaying for any benefits you can access via the CDBS. To walk through it with an expert, contact a Compare Club advisor today. 


How Long Can I Use The CDBS Benefit?

Your CDBS benefit is available for the 2 year period following your child’s eligibility. So, if your child becomes eligible in 2023, your benefit limit of $1,052 is available to you until 2025 - but if you don’t use it all in that time, you lose any remainder. You’ll then need to wait for your new 2 year cover period to start.

After the two year period is up, your child’s eligibility is reassessed and you may receive another 2 years’ worth of benefits, or not, depending on the results of this assessment*.

Can I Use the CDBS for anyone else in my family besides my kid/s?

No, because the CDBS benefit is only designed to assist the people in your family who are eligible. You can only use the CDBS to assist in dental care costs for your eligible child/ren. 

Any family member who isn’t eligible can’t use the Child Dental Benefit Schedule^ benefit. 

How do I use the CDBS?

The good news is that most dentists who allow CDBS also bulk bill. Speak with your dental healthcare provider. Let them know your child is qualified for CDBS at the time you make your appointment. You can get child dental benefits for services at most dentists. Don’t forget you can only claim benefits for the following:

  • up to $1,026 if 2022 is year one of the 2 calendar year period*

  • up to $1,052 if 2023 is year one of the 2 calendar year period*

At your appointment, ask:

  • what will each service cost?

  • can CDBS cover the services?

If you can use CDBS to cover some or all of your dental costs in your appointment, you’ll get a consent form to sign saying you agree to the costs. Both public and private dental health providers allow you to claim their costs via the CDBS^.

Do I need to Register for CDBS?

There’s no need to register for the CDBS. Medicare will be in touch with eligible families and teenagers in the year of eligibility.

The letter is usually sent to the person receiving the government payment.

These services don’t count towards the threshold of either the Medicare Safety Net, or the Extended Medicare Safety Net*.

Does the Child Dental Benefits Schedule vary from state to state?

Yes, because each state has their own dental programs in place, with different eligibility criteria. For further information on your state's dental programs, click here.

What if my child/ren need/s more dental care than the CDBS covers?

That’s where a health fund extras policy comes in handy. Private health cover can include general dental care, all the way through to orthodontics and major dental surgeries. Speak to our dental health cover experts about how you can get better dental cover for your family, on a budget**.

*Who can get CDBS? ^Child Dental Benefits `CDBS and private health #Oral Health **Compare Club compares selected products from a panel of trusted insurers. We do not compare all products in the market.

Chris Stanley is the sales & operations manager of health insurance at Compare Club. With extensive experience and expertise, Chris is a trusted leader known for his deep understanding of health insurance markets, policies, and coverage options. As the sales & operations manager of health insurance, Chris leads a team of dedicated professionals committed to helping individuals and families make informed decisions about their health insurance needs.

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Chris Stanley

Sales & Operations Manager for Health Insurance