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Thousands More Children and Youth to Receive Free Dental Care

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Thousands More Children and Youth to Receive Free Dental Care

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ontario is expanding eligibility for free dental care to 70,000 more low-income children and youth aged 17 and under and will improve access to dental care. 

Expanded Eligibility for Healthy Smiles Ontario

Starting April 2014, the province will increase access to oral health services such as cleanings, diagnostic services and basic treatment by expanding eligibility for the Healthy Smiles Ontario program.

In order to qualify for the program, families need to have an Adjusted Family Net Income of $21,513 or less for one child, increasing by approximately $1,500 for each additional child. 

Integration of Six Oral Health Programs and Services

Starting August 2015, six publicly funded dental programs will be integrated into one to provide seamless enrolment, making it easier for eligible children and youth to receive timely dental care.  

This new program will streamline administration and delivery of services, reducing confusion for families looking to access care.

Currently, families are required to determine:

  • Which of six different programs they may be eligible for
  • Which services each program covers
  • Where they can go to access care

The new program will provide eligible children and youth with:

  • A simplified enrolment and renewal process.
  • Access to a full range of dental services, from preventive care such as cleanings and fluoride treatments to basic care such as fillings, extractions and X-rays.
  • Dental coverage for up to a full year.

Children of social assistance recipients will be automatically enrolled into this new dental program, while all other low-income families will be able to apply through a simplified and streamlined application process.

Programs to be integrated include:

  1. Healthy Smiles Ontario is delivered through public health clinics and private dental offices to eligible low-income children and youth aged 17 and under in need of preventive and treatment dental services including check-ups, cleanings, fillings and X-rays. 
  2. The Children In Need Of Treatment program is delivered through public health clinics and private dental offices, and provides a basic range of prevention, treatment and out-of-hospital anesthetic coverage to eligible low-income children and youth aged 17 and under who have urgent needs.
  3. Oral health preventive services provided by Public Health Units to eligible children, including topical fluoride, pit and fissure sealants and scaling.
  4. Ontario Works is overseen by the Ministry of Community and Social Services and delivered by municipalities and First Nations, to provide financial assistance and help in securing employment to Ontarians in need of temporary financial help. Families who receive Ontario Works are automatically eligible to get coverage for basic dental services for children under the age of 18.
  5. The Ontario Disability Support Program Income Support is administered by the Ministry of Community and Social Services to provide financial help and other benefits for people with disabilities who are in need, including dental services for children under the age of 18.
  6. The Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities Program is provided by the Ministry of Community and Social Services to help parents with some of the extra costs of caring for a child who has a severe disability including health related benefits such as dental services.

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    Minister's Office

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