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Canadian Dental Care Plan: What is It and How Can You Use It?

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As Canada shifts its healthcare landscape with the introduction of the $13 billion Dental Care Plan, understanding its nuances is crucial for every citizen. At Smiles Dental Group, we recognize the importance of this development. We understand that such a significant change can be overwhelming, which is why we’re committed to providing clarity and support every step of the way.  Here’s what you need to know about the new Canadian Dental Care Plan and how we’re able to assist you.

What is the Canadian Dental Care Plan?

This new federal program is an insurance plan designed to cover routine dentistry costs for individuals who meet specific income thresholds and do not have private dental insurance. The plan is not limited to basic dental services but encompasses a wide range of treatments and procedures. 

The initiative will initially focus on children under 18 and some senior citizens (87 and above starting in December 2023, and followed by those aged 77 to 86 in January 2024, then those aged 72 to 76 in February 2024 and those aged 70 to 71 in March 2024), with plans to extend coverage to all eligible low- and middle-income Canadians by 2025.

Sun Life Financial has been appointed as the service provider for the CDCP. Their responsibilities include managing applications, processing claims, and ensuring that beneficiaries have access to the covered services. The partnership with Sun Life is expected to streamline the administrative aspects of the plan, making it easier for eligible Canadians to receive the dental care they need.

Eligibility and Coverage

To qualify for the program, individuals must have a household income below $90,000 and lack access to private insurance. The plan is especially generous for families with incomes below $70,000, offering full coverage without co-pays for various dental services. Those in higher income brackets will have co-pay rates depending on their income level.

Annual Reassessment:

To maintain fairness and adapt to changing economic conditions, the CDCP includes an annual reassessment of eligibility. This process ensures that those who need support continue to receive it while adjusting for any significant changes in income or insurance status.

Coverage Details:

The CDCP offers comprehensive dental care services, extending beyond basic treatments. Covered services include preventive care like cleanings and fluoride treatments, diagnostic services such as examinations and X-rays, restorative procedures including fillings, and more complex treatments like endodontics and prosthodontics.

Coordination with Other Health Programs:

The CDCP is designed to work alongside existing provincial and territorial dental programs. It fills the gaps in coverage without duplicating services.

How to Apply

To apply for the program, visit the Government of Canada’s official Dental Plan page here

Applications will be taken over the phone at first, with a transition to a full online system planned for May 2024.

Rollout Process

The program’s phased rollout is designed for smooth implementation, with different age groups having specific timelines to apply. Seniors aged 87 and above can start applying in December 2023. This will be followed by those aged 77 to 86 in January 2024, then those aged 72 to 76 in February 2024, and finally those aged 70 to 71 in March 2024. Children under 18 follow in June 2024, and finally all other Canadians will receive coverage in 2025.

Help from Smiles Dental Group:

At Smiles, we’re ready to assist our patients with the application process. Our staff can provide guidance on eligibility criteria, required documentation, and any other queries related to the CDCP.

Services Covered

The plan encompasses a broad range of dental services, including:

  • Preventive services like cleaning and fluoride treatments
  • Diagnostic services including examinations and X-rays
  • Restorative services such as fillings
  • Endodontic services including root canal treatments
  • Prosthodontic services, including dentures
  • Periodontal services and oral surgery

How We’re Responding

This federal initiative aims to fill gaps in the current system without replacing existing provincial and territorial programs. The plan’s success hinges on the committed participation of dental professionals. The government intends to run an education campaign to inform and encourage oral health professionals to sign up, but Smiles is already on board.

Our team is undergoing training to understand the nuances of the plan, ensuring seamless service to our patients. We’re also updating our systems to align with the CDCP’s administrative requirements.


As dental care providers, we at Smiles Dental Group are committed to keeping our patients informed and assisting them in navigating these new changes. The Canadian Dental Care Plan represents a significant shift in public health policy, potentially improving access to dental care for millions. As more details become available, we will continue to update our patients on how this program can benefit them and how they can access these new services.

We see the CDCP as a great opportunity to fulfill our mission of providing dental care to anyone who needs it, so you can expect us to be a credible source of information about the plan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Canadian Dental Care Plan

Q1: Who is eligible for the Canadian Dental Care Plan?
A1: Eligibility for the plan is based on household income and lack of access to private dental insurance. Households with an income below $90,000 are eligible, with varying levels of co-pay based on income levels.

Q2: What dental services are covered under the new plan?
A2: The plan covers a broad range of services, including preventive (cleaning, fluoride treatments), diagnostic (exams, X-rays), restorative (fillings), endodontic (root canal treatments), prosthodontic (complete and partial removable dentures), periodontal services, and oral surgery.

Q3: When will the Canadian Dental Care Plan start?
A3: The plan begins its phased rollout in December 2023, starting with seniors aged 87 and above. Other age groups will follow in 2024, and the plan will expand to include more Canadians by 2025.

Q4: How do I apply for the Dental Care Plan?
A4: The application process is staggered by age group, starting with seniors. Initially, applications will be taken over the phone, transitioning to online applications in May 2024. Eligible individuals will be contacted by the government with details on how to apply.

Q5: How can Smiles assist with the new plan?
A5: At Smiles Dental Group, we offer comprehensive support, from helping determine your eligibility to providing the covered dental services. Our staff can guide you through the application process and answer any questions you might have about the plan.

Q6: Will I face any out-of-pocket expenses under the plan?
A6: This depends on your household income. Families with incomes below $70,000 will face no co-pays. Those with incomes between $70,000 and $79,999 will have a 40% co-pay, and for incomes between $80,000 to $89,999, the co-pay is 60%. The federal plan covers the remaining costs.

Q7: Can I use the plan at any Smiles Dental Group location?
A7: Yes, Smiles Dental Group is equipped to provide services under the Canadian Dental Care Plan across all our locations in Edmonton, Spruce Grove, Sherwood Park, and St. Albert.

Q8: What if I already have dental coverage?
A8: The Canadian Dental Care Plan is designed for those who do not have access to private dental insurance. If you already have dental coverage, you may not be eligible for this plan.

Q9: Are there any restrictions on services?
A9: While the plan covers a wide range of dental services, certain limitations or exclusions might apply. We recommend consulting with our staff at Smiles Dental Group for specific details on covered services.

Q10: How can I stay updated about the Canadian Dental Care Plan?
A10: Stay connected with Smiles Dental Group for the latest updates. We will provide ongoing information about the plan as more details become available, ensuring our patients are well-informed.

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