Ottawa Public Health is getting two million dollars from the province’s Healthy Smiles program.
That means up to 10,000 local children from low-income families can access free dental care at public clinics.
And that’s good news to people who consider visiting the dentist a luxury.
“I really need to clean my teeth but you know, it’s kind of expensive if you don’t have insurance,” said Lowertown resident Yaya Niang.
Kids 17 and under from families with no coverage and an income of $20,000 or less a year are eligible.
It includes checkups, cleanings, X-rays, fillings and scaling.
“Children with dental pain obviously can’t concentrate in school. They don’t eat well, they don’t sleep well,” said medical officer of health Dr. Isra Levy.
Last month, CHEO’s dental surgery waitlist had 200 names — mostly kids on social assistance who need fillings done under general anesthesia.
“Hopefully over time this will have a tremendous impact because we’ll be firstly picking up preventing a lot of those children from ever needing care, and also we’ll be picking up more and more children who do need care earlier in the process of dental decay and that can be managed outside of the hospital setting,” said Dr. Levy.