Dental care is free* for children from birth until their 18th birthday… That’s something to smile about!
Baby (deciduous) teeth are important for eating, speaking, smiling, and holding space for adult (permanent) teeth. Looking after baby teeth early helps set up healthy habits for life- which mean strong, healthy adult teeth!
There’s three easy ways to enrol your child with Bee Healthy Regional Dental Service:
- Complete an online enrolment form, or
- Visit your nearest Bee Healthy Dental Clinic and complete an enrolment form.
Babies born in the Wellington Region are enrolled at birth with Bee Healthy.
If you have questions about enrolment, have recently moved into the Region, have changed address and need to update your details, or can’t remember if your child is enrolled with Bee Healthy, call 0800 TALK TEETH (825 583).
In some cases, we may need to check if your child is eligible for free dental care. You may be asked if you have
- New Zealand permanent residency
- A current work Visa/Permit, which entitles you to remain in New Zealand for two years (does not apply to diplomats or
- Refugee status
- Some New Zealand funded student programmes (conditions apply)
- An Australian National (must live in Australia permanently prior to visiting New Zealand)*
- Citizen of the Commonwealth of Australia and people holing a current permanent residence visa (includes a resident return
visa) issues by the Government of Australia are eligible for the full range of publicly funded health and disability service IF they are able to demonstrate they have or intend to spend at least two consecutive years in New Zealand.
- Australian passport or other passport with Australian permanent resident/resident return visa AND evidence that New
Zealand has been/will be their principal place of residence for at least two years (e.g. employment, house purchase). The two years is counted from their arrival date in New Zealand.
- National of the United Kingdom (have lived permanently in the UK prior to visiting*
- Is your partner a New Zealand citizen/permanent resident, or the holder of a two year work permit? (conditions apply)
*NOTE: The reciprocal agreement with Australia and the United Kingdom, i.e. free treatment, only applies if the patient has their usual place of abode in these countries and is being treated in an EMERGENCY situation.
In order for us to complete your child’s enrolment into Bee Healthy Regional Dental Service, we will need to receive copies of your passport, New Zealand citizenship or other documents to confirm your status. We are unable to enrol your child without these documents.
Call us or go to the Ministry of Health for more information.
Dental Care for Children Under 5 Years Old
Your child will have their first dental appointment after their second birthday. You will receive a phone call or a letter in the post to arrange a suitable time.
If you have any concerns about your child’s teeth at any point (even before they turn two years old), or your child is over two years old and you have not heard from us, call 0800 TALK TEETH (825 583) to make an appointment.
Your child’s first appointment will take 15-20 minutes. It is important to go with your child to their first dental check to help them feel comfortable. The dental therapist may check your child’s teeth while you hold your child in your arms, or ask your child to sit with you or by themselves on the dental chair – whichever is best for your child.
After their first appointment, your child will have an annual dental check up at your local Bee Healthy Dental Clinic. You can sign up to receive text reminders for when your child is due for their next appointment.
If you are unable to attend an appointment, call 0800 TALK TEETH (825 583) as soon as possible so your appointment slot may be offered to another child.
Dental Care for Primary School Aged Children (Year 1 to Year 8)
Bee Healthy Mobile Vans visit most primary schools across the Wellington Region. This means school children are able to have their annual dental checks onsite, at school.
Some schools are difficult to access with the Mobile Vans. Children at these schools will require an appointment at their local Bee Healthy Dental Clinic. You will receive a phone call or a letter in the post to arrange a suitable time.
If your child requires further treatment (e.g. fissure sealant, filling etc.), a letter will be sent home after their check up. Call 0800 TALK TEETH (825 583) to book this appointment at a time that suits you best.
Your children can have their dental checks together, call us to arrange a suitable time for your family.
If you have any concerns about your child’s teeth at any time, you can call 0800 TALK TEETH (825 583) to make an appointment.
For information about dental care for children in Year 9 or above, please click here.
Dental Care for Children with Special Needs
Our team of dental therapists and assistants have a wide range of experience working with children of all needs and abilities and will work with you to support your child to make their check-up as comfortable as possible. If you have any particular concerns about your child’s dental care, call 0800 TALK TEETH (825 583).
Urgent Dental Care (outside of Christmas and New Year Holiday period)
Appointments for urgent care are available everyday at most Bee Healthy dental clinics. To make an appointment, call 0800 TALK TEETH (825 583). If calling outside office hours (Monday to Friday, 8.30am-4.30pm) leave a detailed message and the Bee Healthy team will get back to you the following working day.
Call 0800 TALK TEETH (825 583) to make an appointment if:
- Your child is in pain
- Your child has a loose tooth and it has cracked in half and causing pain. This can sometimes happen when the adult (secondary) tooth is coming through.
- If you notice a white spot has appeared on your child’s gum that may be an abscess. An abscess appears if a tooth is infected. Infected or abscessed teeth sometimes need to be removed so that the abscess can drain away. If antibiotics are taken, but the tooth is left in the mouth untreated, the infection may come back and cause pain.
- You have any other concerns or questions about your child’s teeth
If your child has severe pain, large swelling, persistent bleeding or have difficulty breathing AND it is outside of Bee Healthy office hours (Monday to Friday, 8.30am - 4.30pm):
Contact one of the contracted dentists listed here to book an urgent appointment. If no urgent appointment is available, contact to your doctor (GP) and if they are closed, go to your nearest After Hours Medical Centre or Hospital Emergency Department in the case of an emergency.
If your child has an accident and has injured their teeth or mouth:
Contact a local dentist to arrange an examination appointment. The dentist will ask you to complete an Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) claim form. Accident care for under 18s is covered by ACC, however some dentist may charge a fee so please ask about this when making an appointment.
Bee Healthy are unable to lodge ACC claims thus unable to provide dental care for accident related dental issues.
Service and treatment information
Click here for information about the services and treatments that Bee Healthy provide.
For translations: Te Reo Māori, Cook Island Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Arabic, Burmese
Referral for extra treatment
If your child needs extra treatments that Bee Healthy is unable to provide, you'll be referred to another oral health service provider. Many treatments will still be free, but you'll need to pay for some treatments – such as orthodontics (which includes braces on teeth).
The following services are not provided under the free dental care scheme:
- Orthodontic treatment including the extraction of teeth solely for orthodontic purposes. If you are considering orthodontic treatment for you child, the Dental Council have developed an information sheet and video to help you understand your options. For a list of orthodontists in the Wellington Region click here.
- Tooth whitening
- Accident (ACC) related dental treatment
- Elective dental care provided by a private dentist without a referral from Bee Healthy Regional Dental Service.
If Bee Healthy dental clinics are closed, free urgent care can be provided directly by contracted dentists - see "Urgent Dental Care" section above for details.
Ministry of Health Child Oral Health Service Specifications
Click to here view the Child Oral Health Service Specifications