the Australian Dental Association
Written by the Australian Dental Association, Oct 15, 2021
Fact Checked

If you have a child with a cleft lip or palate, they may be eligible for the Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Scheme, a government initiative designed to help families with surgical and dental services.


To be eligible for this Government scheme, your child must:

  • Be diagnosed by a doctor with a cleft lip, cleft palate or other eligible condition.
  • Be enrolled in Medicare.
  • Start treatment under the Scheme before turning 22 years of age.
  • Receive treatment prior to the age of 28 (the only exception is for repairs to previously completed reconstructive work which, with approval, can be done after this age).
  • If your child fits these criteria, you must apply to the Department of Health for inclusion in the Scheme, a process which involves applying by mail with supporting medical documents, with a nominated payment option.
  • If your child is eligible, you’ll be registered and will be sent a Prescribed Patient Card by Medicare - you can then seek treatment at a dentist who participates in the Scheme.

Booking an appointment 

When making an appointment, it is important to check whether the dentist or dental specialist performs work under the Cleft Lip and Palate Scheme. If they do not, you will not receive any of the benefits and may find yourself with an unexpected bill.


Dental treatments that can be provided under the Scheme include general dental tooth replacement/restoration services, tooth extractions, some orthodontic work (straightening teeth), and surgery on the mouth, jaws or face.

As well as receiving dental treatment under the Scheme, it is important that your child sees their dentist for regular dental examinations.

If you would like further information on the Scheme, please contact Medicare on 13 20 11 or 1300 652 492 or visit the Department of Human Services website.