Bruxism and Access to Dental Treatment

Last updated: 
14 July 2020

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is a specific medical condition that you may apply to have approved as an accepted condition. Under the 2016 DVA Statement of Principles, Bruxism is defined as, ‘a disorder of jaw muscle activity characterised by repetitive, involuntary clenching or grinding of the teeth or by bracing or thrusting of the mandible [lower jaw], occurring during wakefulness or sleep.’

DVA currently classifies Bruxism as a mental health condition based on compliance with international convention. This means that DVA funded treatment for Bruxism is mental health focused and provided by a mental health practitioner such as a Psychologist or Psychiatrist. See Mental Health Support for information and services that you can access to assist with your mental health.

A consequence of your bruxism may include cracked, broken or worn teeth. These dental conditions are caused by the excessive or long term grinding of the teeth and jaw.

Access to the DVA dental program.

Having an accepted condition of Bruxism does not automatically entitle you to dental treatment.  Access varies depending on whether you are a Veteran Gold Card or Veteran White Card holder.

Veteran Gold Card holders

Your card type covers all conditions including the dental consequences of bruxism.  Some restrictions may apply and these are described in the section below.

Veteran White Card holders

Your card only allows you to receive treatment for your accepted condition. Access to dental treatment depends on you having an accepted dental condition.

Veteran White Card holders with an accepted dental condition are eligible to receive dental treatment for the dental consequences of their Bruxism. Some restrictions may apply and these are described in the section below.

Veteran White Card holders who do not have an accepted dental condition are not eligible to access dental treatment for cracked, broken or worn teeth due to their bruxism.  In this case, you will need to submit a new claim for acceptance of a dental condition in order to access the program.

The only exception to this is that you may be eligible for provision of a mouth guard (occlusal splint) to address bruxism if it is an accepted condition on your White Card. You should seek advice from your medical practitioner regarding the need for a mouth guard.

Allied Veteran

If you are an allied veteran, you are eligible for treatment of war caused disabilities accepted by your country of enlistment. 

What restrictions apply?

A key restriction is the Annual Monetary Limit (AML).

The AML:

  • is a legislatively imposed financial limit that applies to all DVA clients except where an exemption exists.
  • limits the amount of funding that DVA will approve for a small number of high cost items such as crowns and bridges.
  • is an annual limit that operates on a calendar year basis and is not cumulative, so any portion not expended during the year cannot be used in subsequent years.
  • is waived for DVA clients who meet the following criteria:
    • are ex-POW
    • have a specific dental condition as an accepted condition
    • have cancer affecting the mouth
  • increases each year by a small amount and your Dentist will be able to advise you what the current AML is.

For information on restrictions that may apply under DVA’s dental implant policy, see  Dental Implants for the Veteran Community

The table below describes the eligibility criteria and restrictions regarding the funding of dental treatment for clients with Bruxism.

Card holder type and accepted conditions Conditions covered and dental policies that apply
Veteran Gold Card holder – Bruxism, but no accepted dental conditions
  • All conditions covered
  • AML applies
  • Implant policy applies - single tooth implants are limited to two per two years
Veteran Gold Card holder – Bruxism and accepted dental conditions
  • All conditions covered
  • AML does not apply
  • Implant policy applies - single tooth implants are limited to two per two years

Veteran White Card holder – Bruxism, but no accepted dental conditions

  • No access to the dental program
Veteran White Card holder – Bruxism and accepted dental conditions
  • Only accepted dental conditions can be treated
  • AML does not apply
  • Implant policy applies - single tooth implants are limited to two per two years

Contact us

DVA General Enquiries

Phone: 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372)

Open Arms Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling

A range of counselling services are available to veterans and their families through Open Arms.

Phone: 1800 011 046 

Email: openarms.coord [at] dva.gov.au

Open Arms Website: www.openarms.gov.au

At Ease Website: www.at-ease.dva.gov.au