Information for parents

The Victorian government's Smile Squad free school dental program is rolling out across Victoria.

Smile Squad provides completely free dental check-ups for all students in government schools. There is no cost to you. See what services are available at the check-up.

To make it easy for you, check-ups are at your child's school during school time.

If your child needs more treatment, like a filling, Smile Squad staff will call you. Those extra treatments are also completely free.

When will Smile Squad visit my child's school?

Smile Squad services are being rolled out in stages, until all Victorian government schools have been invited.

The rollout areas that Smile Squad is visiting in 2021 are listed below.

 

When Smile Squad reaches your local government area, they will invite your school to join the program.

If your school chooses to join the Smile Squad program, the school will send you a consent form. Just fill it out and return it to the school. Smile Squad will take care of the rest.

If your area is not listed, your school has not yet been invited. Smile Squad will gradually roll out until all Victorian government schools have been invited

What will Smile Squad do?

First, Smile Squad will visit your child’s school to check your child’s teeth and provide preventive care. This takes about 15 minutes.

If your child doesn’t need any extra treatment, Smile Squad will see your child again in 12 months.

If your child needs extra treatment, Smile Squad will send home an individual care plan for you to read. Then, Smile Squad will call you to talk about what your child needs and ask for your consent to the extra treatment. Smile Squad will make a new appointment for your child for the treatment. Usually, this appointment will also be at the school. This treatment is also free.

Students will also receive a free dental pack and education on teeth brushing and healthy eating.

More information on the services provided can be found on the general information page of this site.

If you have a dental emergency

If you have a dental emergency or require oral health advice, please contact the Royal Dental Hospital Melbourne on 9341 1000 (outside Melbourne metro call: 1800 833 039) or use the online community dental clinics search for a list of dental clinics in your area. You may also visit www.dhsv.org.au if you require any further information.

To keep your teeth strong and healthy, eat well, drink tap water, and brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

Caring for your child's teeth

More information is available in the Eat Well, Drink Well, Clean Well and Information for Parents brochures on the How to keep teeth healthy page.

For tips on how to care for your child's teeth at Top 10 oral health tips for preschool children on the Dental Health Victoria website.

Frequently asked questions

What is Smile Squad?

Smile Squad is a $321.9 million Victorian Government program which provides free dental care to all Victorian public primary and secondary school students. 

The friendly Smile Squad dental team will visit schools to conduct a free annual dental health examination and provide free follow up treatment as needed.

What does it cost?

Smile Squad is free for all Victorian public school students. This program does not include cosmetic treatment.

Who is eligible?

All students attending public primary, secondary or special schools in Victoria are eligible, with or without a healthcare card.

How can my child be seen?

If Smile Squad is coming to your child’s school, your child will be given a consent form for you to sign. Please fill out the form and return it to the school. Smile Squad staff will do the rest. They will see your child at school during school time.

Do I need to attend with my child?

You do not need to attend with your child. However, if you wish to, we can make an appointment time for you to attend together.

My child doesn’t have a Medicare card or CDBS – can they still get Smile Squad services?

Yes. Every child at a government school is eligible. Just sign the consent form and return it to the school.

My child goes to a non-government school. Are they eligible?

Currently no. The program is in early development and will roll out progressively over the next few years. The Victorian Government has committed to reviewing the program with a view to expanding it to low-fee Catholic and low-fee independent schools.

If your school won't be receiving a visit from Smile Squad, there are two ways you can get dental care for your child:

Option 1

Your child can get free or low-cost dental care at Victorian local public dental agencies if your child:

  • lives in Victoria and
  • is aged 0-12 years of age, or
  • is aged between 13-17 years of age with a Health Care Card or Pension Card or is a dependant of a concession card holder, or
  • is a youth justice client in custodial care, regardless of age, or
  • is a child or young person in out-of-home care provided by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, up to 18 years of age (including kinship and foster care), or
  • is a refugee or asylum seeker, or
  • is aged between 2-17 years of age and is eligible for the CDBS.

For more information about eligibility for public dental services, see the Access public health services page on the health.vic website.

To find your nearest community dental clinic at Dental Health Services Victoria.

Option 2

You can visit your regular dentist or find your nearest private dentist. See: https://findadentist.adavb.org

If your child is eligible, you may be able to get free dental care at a private dentist through the Australian Government's Child Dental Benefit Schedule (CDBS). The CDBS is an Australian Government program that provides up to $1,000 of Medicare-funded dental treatment over a two-year calendar period. Your child can use the CDBS at a private dentist or at a public dental clinic.

You do not need to register your child for the CDBS. Families and teenagers will receive a letter from the Department of Human Services if they are eligible. To be eligible for the CDBS, a child must be:

  • aged between 2-17 years
  • their family must receive Family Tax Benefit Part A or a relevant Australian Government payment. You can find more information on the CDBS on the Dental Health Services Victoria and Services Australia websites. You can also check your child's eligibility and CDBS balance through your Medicare online account at MyGov, or by calling 132 011.

Note that you may have to pay if the treatment costs more than $1,000 over the two-year period, or for treatments not covered by the CDBS. Your dentist can tell you if your child's treatment will be covered by the CDBS.

My child goes to preschool/kindergarten. Are they eligible?

Children in preschools and kindergartens are not eligible for this service. Unless your kindergarten has the Smiles for Miles program, there are two ways you can get dental care for your child: All Victorian children aged 0-12 years can get free or low-cost dental care at Victorian local public dental agencies.

To find your nearest community dental clinic at Dental Health Services Victoria.

My child attends the Virtual School. Are they eligible?

Students attending Virtual School Victoria are eligible for free treatment at their local community dental agency as soon as Smile Squad reaches the local government area where they live. Contact your community dental agency to make an appointment. Use this link to find your nearest community dental clinic.

Smile Squad isn't at our school. How can I get low-cost or free dental care for my child?

If Smile Squad isn't coming to your school, or you don't want to wait, there are two ways you can get dental care for your child:

Option 1

Your child can get free or low-cost dental care at Victorian local public dental agencies if your child:

  • lives in Victoria and
  • is aged 0-12 years of age, or
  • is aged between 13-17 years of age with a Health Care Card or Pension Card or is a dependant of a concession cardholder, or
  • is a youth justice client in custodial care, regardless of age, or
  • is a child or young person in out-of-home care provided by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, up to 18 years of age (including kinship and foster care), or
  • is a refugee or asylum seeker, or
  • is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or
  • is aged between 2-17 years of age and is eligible for the CDBS. 

For more information about eligibility for public dental services, see the Access public health services page on the health.vic website.

To find your nearest community dental clinic at Dental Health Services Victoria.

Option 2

You can visit your regular dentist or find your nearest private dentist.

If your child is eligible, you may be able to get free dental care at a private dentist through the Australian Government's Child Dental Benefit Schedule (CDBS). The CDBS is an Australian Government program that provides up to $1,000 of Medicare-funded dental treatment over a two-year calendar period. Your child can use the CDBS at a private dentist or at a public dental clinic.

You do not need to register your child for the CDBS. Families and teenagers will receive a letter from the Department of Human Services if they are eligible. To be eligible for the CDBS, a child must be:

  • aged between 2-17 years
  • their family must receive Family Tax Benefit Part A or a relevant Australian Government payment. 

You can find more information on the CDBS on the Dental Health Services Victoria and Services Australia websites. You can also check your child's eligibility and CDBS balance through your Medicare online account at MyGov, or by calling 132 011.

Note that you may have to pay if the treatment costs more than $1,000 over the two-year period, or for treatments not covered by the CDBS. Your dentist can tell you if your child's treatment will be covered by the CDBS.

What if my child has urgent needs/dental pain?

If your child has dental pain, you can contact the nearest dentist or community dental clinic for help. To find your nearest clinic, you can use the Community Dental Clinic Locator or contact the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne on 03 9341 1000 (Melbourne Metro) or 1800 833 039 (outside Melbourne Metro) or email enquiries@dhsv.org.au.

Private dental services

If you prefer, you can visit a private dentist.

If your child is eligible, you may be able to get free dental care at a private dentist through the Australian Government's Child Dental Benefit Schedule (CDBS). The CDBS is an Australian Government program that provides up to $1,000 of Medicare-funded dental treatment over a two-year calendar period. Your child can use the CDBS at a private dentist or at a public dental clinic.

You do not need to register your child for the CDBS. Families and teenagers will receive a letter from the Department of Human Services if they are eligible. To be eligible for the CDBS, a child must be:

  • aged between 2-17 years
  • their family must receive Family Tax Benefit Part A or a relevant Australian Government payment. You can find more information on the CDBS on the Dental Health Services Victoria and Services Australia websites.

You can find more information on the CDBS on the Dental Health Services Victoria and Services Australia websites. You can also check your child’s eligibility and CDBS balance through your Medicare online account at MyGov, or by calling 132 011

Note that you may have to pay if the treatment costs more than $1,000 over the two-year period, or for treatments not covered by the CDBS. Your dentist can tell you if your child's treatment will be covered by the CDBS.

Feedback, suggestions and complaints

We would love to hear what you think of Smile Squad, and how it can be improved to meet the needs of all Victorian students. We'd also like to know if you have any problems with the service. You can email us at smilesquad@health.vic.gov.au.

Questions for your local Smile Squad team

If you need to contact your local Smile Squad team about a specific issue, email smilesquad@dhsv.org.au.

For complaints or suggestions email Smilesquad@health.vic.gov.au.