Ontario Dental and Denture Benefits for Seniors
Did you know that if you are 65 or older in Ontario, you may be eligible for dental benefits? The ODSP provides dental coverage for seniors who need it.
If you are 65 or older in Ontario, you may be eligible to receive free routine dental care as well as assistance to cover the cost of dentures.
The Government of Ontario provides free or subsidized services for older residents under the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program (OSDCP). Starting August 1, 2021, the program will be expanded to accommodate even more seniors than before.
You will be eligible for these benefits if you meet the following criteria:
- You are 65 years of age or older;
- You are a resident of Ontario;
- As a single senior, your annual net income is $19,300 or less;
- As a couple, your combined annual net income is $32,300 or less; and
- You have no other form of dental benefits, including private insurance or dental coverage under another government program such as Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program or Non-Insured Health Benefits.
(One note on residency, under the Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP), a resident is defined as someone who is physically present in Ontario for 153 days in any 12-month period. Presumably this also applies to OSDCP.)
If you meet the above requirements, you can apply for one-year coverage under OSDCP from July 1, 2021.
What exactly are the dental procedures that will be taken care of for Ontario seniors under this program?
The full range of benefits is sure to leave recipients with a smile.
Under OSDCP, you won’t have to pay out-of-pocket for
- check-ups, including scaling, fluoride and polishing
- repairing broken teeth and cavities
- removing teeth or abnormal tissue (oral surgery)
- treating infection and pain (endodontic services)
- treating gum conditions and diseases (periodontal services)
And what about dentures?
That’s covered too – to an extent.
The Government of Ontario says that dental prosthetics (prosthodontic services), including dentures, will be partially covered. You will need to speak to your local public health unit for further details as to how much of the cost will be subsidized and how to access this benefit.
As the dental benefit for Ontario seniors is means-tested, it’s important that you file taxes every year in order to ensure a smooth and easy application process.
The Government of Ontario will use your Social Insurance Number (SIN) to run a check on the tax return you filed for the previous year in order to confirm that you meet the income threshold.
To apply, you’ll need to provide your date of birth, a valid Ontario address, and your SIN or Temporary Taxation Number (TTN).
Each individual must apply to participate in OSDCP separately on his or her own application form. This applies even to spouses in a marriage and common-law partners as there is no joint application form for couples.
So what if you haven’t filed last year’s tax return or if you don’t have a SIN?
You can still be admitted to the program if you can get someone to vouch for you (confirming your identity, age and residency). The program will accept you if one of the following agrees to act as a guarantor for you:
- doctor (physician or surgeon)
- dentist or dental hygienist
- professional accountant
- professional engineer
- social worker or social service worker
- teacher, vice-principal or principal in a primary or secondary school
- judge or Justice of the Peace
- municipal, provincial or First Nations police officer or constable
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer or constable
- member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
- minister of religion authorized under provincial law to perform marriages
- municipal clerk or treasurer who is a member of the Association of Municipal Managers or Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario
- notary public
- professor in a university, a senior administrator in a community college
- signing officer of a bank.
As mentioned above, the coverage lasts for a year, starting August 1st of each year and expiring July 31st of the following year. Make sure and get your procedures done within this time frame each year.
You’ll have to meet the eligibility criteria the following year if you are to receive continued coverage.
If you continue to file your tax return and you remain a resident whose income is under the stipulated threshold, the Government of Ontario will automatically keep you on the OSDCP roll and will inform you of this by mail.
However, if you failed to file your taxes for the year prior to the year for which you need coverage, you’ll need to send in a fresh application.
Those who applied through a guarantor will have to apply anew the following year.
So how do you apply?
You can submit your application either online or by regular mail.
Applying online is quick and easy. Click HERE to go to the online form.
If you prefer to apply by regular mail, you’ll need to download the application form and print it, or get one in person from your local public health unit. Once you fill it out, mail it to the following address: Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program
Station P, P.O. Box 159
Once the Government of Ontario receives and approves your application, they will mail you a welcome package that will include a dental card.
The welcome package will go into details as to how you can access the dental services; where and how you’ll be able to book an appointment; and what you’ll have to present each time you go for an appointment.
You will have to show dental provider the dental card you received in the welcome package each and every time you want to have your procedures covered by OSDCP.
The card will be valid up to July 31 of each year.
Note that this will be the case regardless of when you applied. So if you waited until, say, February to apply and got your welcome package in April, it means you’ll have only three months to get your free dental procedures.
That’s why it’s best to get your application in early to ensure you can take full advantage of the benefits available to you from August of one year to July of the next.
As more residents of Ontario get vaccinated, the province is starting to emerge from the restrictions imposed in 2021 to curb the spread of Covid-19. You can therefore look forward to the gradual resumption of non-emergency dental services under ODSCP.
Bear in mind that the gradual re-opening may mean that dental clinics may continue to provide limited rather than full services to protect the health and safety of dental care providers and patients. However, you can still apply for ODSCP at this time so that your registration will be in place and you can make use of the dental benefits as an Ontario senior as soon as dental services become more readily available.
Those who are already enrolled in the program, are advised to contact the local public health unit by phone for assistance with dental needs and more information on the gradual restart of local services.
And where will you get these dental services?
You can check with your local public health unit for dental providers in your area who take patients under OSDCP. You’ll find contact info for you public health unit by clicking this link.
The free and subsidized dental services for Ontario seniors are provided through Public Health Units,
partner Community Health Centers, and partner Aboriginal Health Access Centers.
If you lose your dental card and need a new one, of if you just have questions and need further information, you can contact your local Public Health Unit, or the main office of Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program:
Toll-free TTY: 1-800-855-0511.
One final note: It’s important that you protect yourself from scams that target those who apply for dental benefits for Ontario seniors. Remember that forms of contacts used by the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program are phone or mail.
OSDCP will not send invoices.
Treat any email claiming to be from the OSDCP as suspicious. Do not open attachments or click on links in the email. Instead, contact the OSDCP using the above phone numbers provided above and check to determine if the email message is genuine.