If you aren’t covered for dental care under work insurance benefits or don’t have enough money to afford a private insurance plan but you require dental work, don’t feel as though you’re out of options. There are still ways you can receive dental services without health insurance.
Are there free dental care programs in the city of Toronto? Absolutely! But eligibility will vary per clinic.
If you need to visit the dentist, continue reading about some of the public health programs that can help you pay for the dental services you require.
Healthy Smiles Ontario
This dental program is available for children aged 17 and under. It’s dedicated to ensuring the oral health of your children and toddlers as young as 12 months (around the time they should see a dentist for the first time). They’ll automatically be enrolled in the dental coverage plan if they, or a household member, receive Temporary Care Assistance, Ontario Disability Support, Ontario Works, or Children with Severe Disabilities. Otherwise, they’ll be eligible if:
- They’re, of course, 17 years of age or younger
- Are an Ontario resident
- Are part of a household that meets the income requirements
- If you have one child, family net income should not exceed $22,760
- If you have two children, family net income should not exceed $24,482
- If you have three children, family net income should not exceed $26,205
- If you have four children, family net income should not exceed $27,927
- If you have five children, family net income should not exceed $29,650
Ask your local public health unit about eligibility for six children or more. You can also apply in-person, online, or mail your application.
This dental coverage will extend for one year from the date they were enrolled unless their 18th birthday is beforehand. Once approved, they’ll receive a card that will be required at each dental visit. The dental services covered will include:
- Emergency dental care
- General checkup/examinations
- Preventive care (cleaning, scaling, polishing, fluoride, etc.)
- Restorative care (for example; crowns or fillings)
- Oral surgery (for example; tooth extraction)
- Endodontic care (root canal)
- Periodontal services (gum surgery)
Healthy Smiles Ontario will not pay for teeth whitening or cosmetic dental services.
Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program
If you’re 65 years or older and are considered a low-income senior, then you may be able to apply for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program. Just like the Healthy Smiles Ontario program, this government-funded dental coverage helps completely cover the cost of services such as:
- General checkup/examinations
- Preventive care
- Restorative care
- Oral surgery
- Endodontic care
- Periodontal care
- Prosthodontic services (partially covered – the rest of the cost will come out of pocket)
This dental coverage will extend for one year but unlike the Healthy Smiles Ontario program, coverage will end every year on July 31st no matter the date you enrolled.
Again, you can apply in-person, online, or mail an application. In order to be considered eligible, you must:
- Be a resident of Ontario
- Are 65 years of age or older
- Meet the income requirements
- A single senior’s net income must not exceed $19,300
- A senior couple’s combined income must not exceed $32,300
- Have no other benefits, including a private dental plan under another government program
Low-Cost Dental Treatment Centres In Toronto
There are a few dental clinic locations across the City of Toronto that offer affordable dental care services, including George Brown College and the University of Toronto. Not only are costs low, but you’re helping students gain necessary field experience.
George Brown College, Wave Dental Clinic
Students and practitioners work together to provide clients all over Toronto with affordable dental services during the school year. They take care of patients starting at four years of age and up with a wide range of services, some of which include:
- Regular exams – $20
- Whitening services – $120
- Complete denture care – $300
- White fillings – starting at $15
- X-rays – starting at $15
Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto
The University of Toronto’s dental clinic offers both basic and more complex dental care services. If you do not have a referral, you can apply to become a new patient and receive treatment for:
- Emergency care
- Orthodontic care
- General cleanings and examinations
- Children’s dentistry
Services that will require a referral from your dentist or health care provider include:
- Oral surgery (wisdom teeth removal or maxillofacial surgery)
- Root canals
- Implant surgery
- Gum disease dental plan
- X-rays for specialized imaging
- Denture care
Urban Dental Clinic
Located in Scarborough on Sheppard Ave East, the Canadian Centre for Refugee and Immigrant Health Care opened the Urban Dental Clinic to provide quality oral health services for patients who:
- Are working adults between the ages of 18 and 64
- Have no other employer or government dental insurance benefits
They provide services like emergency care, x-rays, general tooth extractions, fillings and cleaning services with the help of volunteer dentists and dental hygienists. Refugees, immigrants, and those who cannot afford dental services and are under the age of 64 are welcome to receive low-cost dental care so their teeth remain in the best possible state. After all, poor dental hygiene can drastically affect your overall health and wellbeing.
Parkdale Queen West Community Health Care
This public health clinic has three locations – Queen Street West, Bathurst Street, and Roncesvalles Avenue. They offer reduced dental costs for low-income patients with no dental coverage with the help of a dedicated volunteer dentist and dental hygienist, as well as students in the dental program at George Brown College. They offer the following free services:
- Cleaning and general checkup
To be eligible, you must be an adult between the ages of 18 and 64 and have no other health benefits plan. Patients with the Ontario Disability Support Program or Ontario Works are only eligible to receive general cleaning services. If you’re looking for other low-cost health care services, they also offer counselling, primary health care services, harm reduction, and more out of their three locations.
How Are Dental Health Fees & Prices Determined?
All dental clinics across Canada adhere to the guidelines provided by their province’s dental association, but these are just “suggestions”, so you may notice you have to pay your dentist more than what’s listed under the guideline. Your total cost will also be determined by:
- Location of the office
- The licensing and training of the dental health professionals looking after your teeth
- High-quality tools and equipment being used
- Sterilization products
- Employee salaries
Even if you require dental health services but do not have benefits, there are still plenty of options for you. The state of your teeth is important and despite the cost of dentistry, you shouldn’t leave visiting the dentist to the last second, especially if you’re currently experiencing pain or infection. There are government organizations that can supply you with free dental care and various colleges all across Canada who lower their fees so they can gain valuable knowledge in the dentistry field.