November 29, 2019
Ontario Senior Dental Care Program officially announced in Smiths Falls today
SMITHS FALLS — The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit held a local launch of the Ontario Senior Dental Care Program today at the Rideau Community Services Smiths Falls Clinic site.
The Ontario government is investing $90 million annually into the new Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program to provide free, routine dental services for low-income seniors.
Each year in Ontario, preventable dental issues like gum disease, infections and chronic pain lead to more than 60,000 emergency department visits by patients, of which a significant portion are seniors. Many low-income seniors face challenges accessing regular dental care because they cannot afford it, affecting their overall well-being.
“I’m proud that our government is keeping the commitment we made to deliver this dental program to support seniors here in Lanark County and across Ontario. This program will help eligible seniors who face challenges affording access to the quality dental care they deserve, which impacts their overall health and well-being,” said Steve Clark, MPP of Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.
There is a large local need for this program. In Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, 55.5% of the population over age 65 report having no access to dental insurance (Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, 2017).
“It’s a good day when governments fulfill the expectations and commitments they’ve made to the public,” says Randy Hillier, MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston. “By alleviating the financial barrier to dental health care for lower-income seniors, the government has taken a step in the right direction towards improving over-all health care for our parents and grandparents.”
Residents age 65 and over with an income of $19,300 or less, or couples with a combined annual income of $32,300 or less, who do not have dental benefits, will qualify for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program. Eligible seniors can apply to the program online or by picking up an application form at any of the Health Unit offices or services sites across Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Counties.
Once enrolled, seniors will receive an Ontario Senior Dental Care Program card in the mail and will be automatically re-enrolled based on income/tax forms each year. Services are delivered by a network of salaried and contracted local providers, not private dentists. Program delivery is a collaborative effort between Health Units and local partners, such as Community Health Centres and Family Health Teams.
“The Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is pleased to work with our community health centres and other partners on this important provincial initiative,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. “Together we will ensure eligible seniors know about and apply to the program, and then receive quality dental care.”
For more information about the program, eligibility or enrollment, visit the Oral Health section of our website.
Susan Healey, Communications Co-ordinator, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit 613-802-0550 or 613-345-5685.