Ottawa Valley dentists applaud new national dental care plan for children

As of Thursday, eligible Canadians can apply for funding for the first federal dental care program.

The Canada Dental Benefit will be offered to children 12 and under in families that do not have private dental insurance, and have an annual income of less than $90,000.

Depending on income and circumstances, the program could see parents claim $260 to $650 per child, per year tax free.

“It’s a great benefit and the dentists are very excited about it because it gives us the ability to see patients,” says Lisa Bentley, president of the Ontario Dental Association.

“There’s not any limitations on what services we can provide for patients.”

At Dentistry at Arnprior, owner and dentist Neeraj Bansal says just five to seven per cent of his clients are children 12 and under.

“Families will come and say we just don’t have the money to afford it,” Bansal tells CTV News Ottawa. “We see children with so many cavities.”

It is recommended you visit the dentist twice a year. Bansal says this benefit should cover the full cost of a routine appointment.

“It would cover a good cleaning for a year, fluoride application, and maybe a couple of fillings.”

“There are 30 per cent of Ontarians that don’t have access to dental coverage,” says Bentley. “And these are the people that we hope this plan will focus on and help.”

Canadians can apply for the benefit online through the Canada Revenue Agency’s “My Account” portal or through their Service Canada account. The CRA has also set up a phone line to receive dental applications. More details can be found here.

The federal government says the new national benefit is expected to help half a million Canadian children receive dental care.

“There’s a lot of changes that happen from three years to 12 years,” says Bansal, on the importance of regular dentist visits. “There are a lot of baby teeth they will loose and new teeth are coming in.”

The Canada Dental Benefit is seen as unexpected relief by patients and practitioners, as every day living costs soar, leaving expenses like dental appointments as unaffordable luxuries.

“We actually kind of never anticipated that this was going to happen,” added Bansal.

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