Free Children’s Dental Care – Under 18 Years


Children in New Zealand who meet the eligibility criteria for publicly funded health and disability services are entitled to free basic oral health services from birth to 18 years of age.

Your local District Health Board (DHB) pays for basic dental services until you or your child turn 18. Most parents will be given an enrollment form from Plunket when their child is 15 months old.

You can also enroll your child with the free dental service by calling 0800 TALK TEETH (0800 825 583) .

Free dental care – under 18 years

All teens from year 9 at school until their 18th birthday are eligible to receive free dental treatment ( Excluding 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 checkups
  • X-rays
  • Cleaning
  • Fillings
  • Extractions
  • Preventative treatments like fluoride or fissure sealants
  • You’ll need to pay for orthodontic treatments, like braces to straighten teeth. But 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.

* They 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.


If you have further questions or to book your teen in, contact us on 0800 476 453 (0800 4 SMILE) or find your nearest dental practice HERE.

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