Ontario Dental Care Programs for Seniors and Children

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Now that the pandemic has eased somewhat, non-emergency dental services under the Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) program are gradually restarting. The Ontario government has issued guidelines for both seniors and childrens dental care programs.

Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program:

The new Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program (OSDCP) provides access to free dental services to seniors aged 65 and over who meet the required income conditions and do not have dental benefits either through private insurance or other government programs. There is a large local need for this program; it is important to note that in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, 55.5% of our population over age 65 report having no access to dental insurance (Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, 2017).

In order to qualify for OSDCP, a single senior must have an income of less than $22,200 per year, while a senior couple must have a combined annual income of less than $37,100.

The income eligibility for the new OSDCP is based on a senior’s net income (line 236 from their income tax forms). Seniors can apply online or pick up a paper copy of the application form at their local public health unit’s office. Dental services covered under this program include:

Examinations/assessments

  • Preventive services (e.g., cleanings)
  • Restorative services to repair broken teeth and cavities
  • X-rays
  • Oral surgery services to remove teeth or abnormal tissue
  • Anaesthesia
  • Endodontic services (root canals) to treat infections and pain
  • Periodontal services to treat gum conditions and diseases
  • Prosthodontic services, including dentures, are also covered to a certain extent under the OSDCP. 

For more information about the OSDCP program: www.ontario.ca/page/dental-care-low-income-seniors.

Teeth cleaning, check-ups and dental treatment for kids:

Healthy Smiles Ontario is a government-funded dental program that provides free preventive, routine, and emergency dental services for children and youth 17 years old and under from low-income households.

The program includes regular visits to a licensed dental provider and covers the costs of treatment including:

  • check-ups
  • cleaning
  • fillings (for a cavity)
  • x-rays
  • scaling
  • tooth extraction
  • urgent or emergency dental care (including treatment of a child’s toothache or tooth pain).

Cosmetic dentistry, including teeth whitening and braces, are not covered by the program.

Children are automatically enrolled in the program if they receive assistance under Temporary Care Assistance, or Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities, or they or their family receive Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support.

Once your child is enrolled, they are covered:

  • up to one benefit year (August 1st of the current year to July 31st of the following year), or
  • up to their 18th birthday. If your child turns 18 during the benefit year, they’re no longer eligible.

If your child is in the program for emergency or essential care, they are covered for 12 months from the date of enrolment. Clients receiving emergency or essential care must re-enrol after 12 months.

You can enrol in the program online or by mail. Once your child’s enrolment is confirmed, you will get a Healthy Smiles Ontario dental card in the mail. You must present your card to your dental provider at each visit to receive services under the program.

Note: The Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) program contacts applicants/clients by phone or mail, and does not send invoices to applicants/clients. If you apply online or contact the program through Ontario.ca, you may receive an email from Healthy Smiles Ontario. If you have not applied online or contacted us recently, please do not open attachments or click on links in the email. Contact us using the above information to determine if the message is authentic.

More information about how to apply online or by mail, along with income eligibility requirements, ca be found at: www.ontario.ca/page/get-dental-care.

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