Updated on February 1, 2024
7 min read

Canada Dental Resources

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Although Canada has a public health system for its citizens, most Canadians don’t receive general dental health care coverage under The Canada Health Act (CHA). The CHA outlines federal guidelines for publicly-funded health care insurance. 

If Canadians want to visit a dental practice, there are four primary means of access:

  • Employer-funded dental insurance ⁠— Depending on companies, you may receive health benefits that include dental coverage
  • Private dental insurance ⁠— Canadians may opt to purchase their own insurance, personalizing it according to needs and payment plans
  • Out of pocket ⁠— Some dental services may require individuals to pay out-of-pocket to cover a base or additional costs in dental clinics 
  • Publicly-funded dental support programs ⁠— The Canadian government provides federal financial assistance to help vulnerable segments of the population receive dental care 

Canada Dental Benefit

The interim Canada Dental Benefit (CDB) is a nationwide dental plan formed in 2022. The CDB provides dental care for Canadians who don’t have private dental care coverage.

There’s a considerable amount of confusion regarding the Canada Dental Benefit. It’s often referred to by other names, such as:

  • Canadian Dental Care Plan 
  • National dental care program
  • Canada dental plan
  • Dental Plans Canada
  • Dental Plan Canada
  • Federal Liberal-NDP Free Dental Care Program
  • Universal Dental Care Canada

Who is Eligible for a CDB?

A CDB is used to help lower dental costs for low-income families earning less than $90,000 a year and don’t have access to employer-based dental insurance. If you’re paying for dental care for a child under 12, you may be eligible for CDB.

To be eligible, families need to meet all of the following conditions for each child they apply for:

  • A child under 12 years old with no access to private dental care
  • An adjusted family net income under $90,000 per year
  • Filed last year’s income tax and benefit return
  • Be the parent (or legal guardian) who receives the Canada Child Benefit for that child
  • Have incurred (or will incur) out-of-pocket costs for the dental care of the eligible child
  • Provide information on the recent or planned oral health care visit that the benefit would be used to pay for
  • Information about the oral health care provider

Children already covered under another free dental care government program, such as Healthy Smiles Ontario, are also eligible if not all dental care costs are paid by that program.

How Much Does a CDB Cover?

The CDB provides payments of up to $650 per child yearly:

  • $650 would be provided for each eligible child if the family’s adjusted net income is under $70,000.
  • $390 will be provided for each eligible child if the family’s adjusted net income is between $70,000 and $79,999.
  • $260 would be provided for each eligible child if the family’s adjusted net income is between $80,000 and $89,999.

What Services Does the CDB Cover?

CDB can be used for any dental procedure provided by any licensed oral health professional practicing in Canada. CDB covers various dental procedures, including but not limited to:

  • Examinations
  • Radiographs
  • Scaling and deep scaling
  • Sealants
  • Polishing 
  • Fluorides
  • Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Root canals
  • Partial and complete dentures
  • Surgical procedures
  • Non-cosmetic braces

Other Canadian Dental Plans

There are 4 long-standing federal government dental plans that provide free dental care:

  • (NIHB) Non-Insured Health Benefits ⁠— Free dental care for eligible First Nations people and Inuit, paid by Health Canada
  • (IFHP) Interim Federal Health Program ⁠— Free emergency dental care for refugees, paid by the Government of Canada
  • (VAC) Veterans Affairs Canada ⁠— free dental services for Canadian veterans, paid by Veterans Affairs Canada
  • (CSA) Correctional Services ⁠— Canada essential health services to federal inmates paid by Correctional Services Canada

How Good is Dental Insurance in Canada?

Approximately 65% of Canadians can cover partial, if not all, dental-related expenses due to dental insurance. Regarding oral health, Canada ranks favorably among the leading nations in decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT), advanced gum disease, and oral and lip cancer. 

Additionally, wait times for a dental visit and treatment are minimal compared to most other countries. Regarding publicly-funded dental support programs, they typically cover dental care for specific groups of people. 

These include: 

  • Seniors
  • Low-income households
  • People with special needs
  • Children
  • Indigenous peoples
  • New immigrants with refugee status 

Canada Oral Health Resources

Each province and community will offer different oral health care services. If you are interested in learning more about your dental care options, you can take a look at the following websites or contact your local public health unit:

Resources for Adults

Governmental Dental Programs in Canada

Smile: Healthy Teeth, Healthy Body

Gum Disease

Oral Health for Adults

Oral Health for Seniors

Daily Denture and Mouth Care

Dental Hygiene Canada

It is estimated that 4.15 million working days for adults are lost annually due to dental visits or dental sick days.

Resources for Children 

Oral Health for Children

TVOKids — Brushing

Oral Health and the Aboriginal Child

Dental Care for Children — Canadian Dental Association

Healthy Teeth for Children — Canadian Paediatric Society

It is estimated that 2.26 million school days are lost annually due to dental visits or sick days.

Vulnerable Populations

It’s important to highlight that when Canadians come from low-income households, the likelihood of seeking a consultation from a dental professional is less than those who live in higher-income households. This holds true even for individuals with and without insurance. 

Compared to the higher-income group, Canadians from lower-income households had a twofold increase in dental health needs identified. As a result, specific population segments are at a much higher risk of oral health care issues like root canals.

Indigenous People 

The Indigenous peoples comprise the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. Although different in cultures, heritages, and practices, these groups are vulnerable populations regarding poor oral health. 

For instance, the 2008-2009 Inuit Oral Health Survey (IOHS) depicts the Inuit’s dental health panorama. Although the Inuit population is commonly younger than the Canadian population, these individuals reported an elevated frequency of food avoidance and oral pain. 

Dental check-ups were uncommon in this group, while coronal caries were extremely high. There is an association between poor oral health and other medical conditions, such as diabetes and respiratory illnesses.

Senior Citizens 

Elderly people living in long-term care facilities present with underlying comorbidities. Oral health methodologies and standards of oral care are necessary for these individuals to minimize further risks to overall well-being. This vulnerable segment of the population can also include low-income senior citizens. 

New Immigrants with Refugee Status

These individuals present with oral health care problems when they arrive in the country. Different dental healthcare providers volunteer their time and services to provide immigrants of this status with the treatments they need. 

People with Special Needs

Dental caries and periodontitis (severe gum disease that can destroy bone and undermine tooth support) are more common in this population. However, as eating and interacting socially is vital for these individuals’ well-being, maintaining optimal oral health care is necessary. 

Low-Income Population

Some Canadians who fall within the low-income brackets cannot afford the growing costs of dental care. Lack of dental insurance or access to dental care increases these individuals’ risk of worsening oral health. 

While the cost of dental care in Canada has increased over time, there has not been a significant change in incomes for those in the lowest economic populations for the last 25 years. However, government-funded dental programs can provide dental care for low-income people. 


Children include all Canadians aged 0 to 18 years. Oral health problems, including early childhood caries, tend to arise between 0-6 years. Fostering proper oral self-care behavior while providing universal coverage of children’s dental services can lead to better oral health in the long term.


Canada ranks favorably among the leading nations in decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT), advanced gum disease, and oral and lip cancer instances. They also provide various dental care services for people who can’t afford private dental insurance.

Canada also has a Canada Dental Benefit (CDB) program that helps lower dental costs for low-income households. It covers dental services from any licensed oral healthcare professional practicing in Canada.

Various programs are used to provide dental care to certain people like veterans and indigenous people. There are also online resources that provide information on dental care.

Last updated on February 1, 2024
5 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 1, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Healthy Teeth, Healthy Lives – Inuit Oral Health Action Plan 2013.” Health Canada, 2013.
  2. Shaw, J., and Farmer, J. “An Environmental Scan of Publicly Financed Dental Care in Canada: 2015 Update.” Canadian Association of Public Health Dentistry, 2015.
  3. The State of Oral Health in Canada” Canadian Dental Association, 2017.
  4. Canada Dental Benefit.” Government of Canada, 2023.
  5. Canada Dental Benefit Benefit Programs Directorate Assessment, Benefit, and Service Branch.“ Government of Canada, 2023.
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