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  • Writer's pictureRon F

Healthy Smiles Ontario

Given the importance of good dental care at a young age, the Canadian government has sponsored a dental program, the Healthy Smiles Ontario. Parents of children aged 17 years and younger can benefit from free dental care that includes check-ups, cleaning services, and any other dental treatment needed. This program has been specially designed for families belonging to specific income groups that need assistance. Here's everything you will want to know about the program.

Services You Can Avail Under the Program

Under the Healthy Smiles Ontario program, the Canadian government has funded preventive dental care in addition to emergency dental treatment for kids of ages 17 years and below. To qualify for this program, the family must belong to a particular income group as outlined in the program. Here are the services that parents can get for their kids:

  • Regular check-ups and visits to a dental care provider who has the mandatory licensing

  • Teeth cleaning

  • Diagnostic tests like x-rays

  • Tooth fillings in case of cavities

  • Tooth extraction when needed

  • Emergency dental care for kids when they have toothaches

  • Tooth scaling

While the program does cover the essential dental care that kids may need, certain services such as teeth whitening, braces to correct alignment, and cosmetic dental treatments are not included.

How to Enroll Your Child

Your children can receive automatic enrollment if they already qualify for assistance under these programs:

  • Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities

  • Temporary Care Assistance

In addition, if your family and kids are already qualified for these programs, you can avail of the Healthy Smiles Ontario scheme.

  • Ontario Disability Support

  • Ontario Works*

  • Ontario Works recipients living in First Nations community

However, if you live in a First Nations community AND avail of Ontario Works, your kids cannot receive automatic enrollment.

Applying for Enrollment

If your kids are of ages 17 years and under and you and your family are currently residing in Ontario, you can apply by mail for enrolling your kids. In addition, you must have income levels as specified in the table below. It shows you the income brackets as applicable according to the number of kids in your family. These figures are valid as of the 1st of July, 2016.

Time for Which Your Child Remains Enrolled in the Program

Once you enroll your children, they remain eligible for dental care under the program for one benefit year. This year begins on the 1st of August of the current year and ends on the 31st of July of the next year. If your child becomes 18 years of age during the benefit year, he or she can no longer avail of the free dental care under the Healthy Smiles Program. However, if you have enrolled your child for emergency or essential care, he or she will remain enrolled up to the end of the benefit year. Make sure you re-enroll each of your kids after the end of the benefit year.

How to Conduct the Enrollment Process

You can apply for your kids’ enrollment by regular mail or electronic mail. Here’s how the process works.

  1. You will be required to submit this information when submitting your application:

  • Names of Each of Your Kids

  • Birthdates of the Kids

  • Current address in Ontario.

  • Social Insurance Number (SIN) or Temporary Taxation Number (TTN)

  • Proof that you have filed your taxes for the preceding assessment year

2. Having filed your application online, you’ll be directed to a Consent form. Print it, sign it, and then mail the form within 30 days to the address below.

Healthy Smiles Ontario

33 King Street West

PO Box 645

Oshawa ON L1H 8X1

3. Alternatively, you can download the official application form, print it, and fill it. Add your signature and send it by mail to the address above.

4. You also have the option of collecting an application form at the public health unit closest to you or at a Service Ontario location. Fill and submit it by mail to the address above.

5. Once your application is processed and accepted, you’ll receive a Healthy Smiles Ontario dental card by mail.

6. Make sure to bring the card with you each time you visit your dental care provider to avail of the benefits provided according to the program.

How to Apply if You Receive Ontario Works and Live in a First Nations Community

Search online for the HSO Ontario Works First Nations Verification Form. Complete it and mail it to this address:

Healthy Smiles Ontario

Station P, PO Box 2286

Toronto ON

M5S 3J8

Application Process if You Don't Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) or Haven't Filed a Tax Return

While you can still apply to enroll your kids in the Healthy Smiles Program by mail, you’ll also need to present the name of a Guarantor. Each family must have one Guarantor who is at least 18 years of age and a citizen of Canada. Your Guarantor must confirm the following information:

  • Age of the applicant

  • Identity of the applicant

  • Resident status of the applicant and where applicable, the applicant’s common law partner or spouse.

To serve as a Guarantor, the person you choose must be an esteemed member of a provincial regulatory organization and working in one of the following professions:

  • Healthcare: Chiropractor, optometrist, veterinarian, physician, surgeon, pharmacist, nurse, dietitian, psychologist, dentist, dental hygienist, or midwife

  • Education: Teacher, vice-principal, or principal in a primary or secondary school, senior administrator in a community college, or professor in a university

  • Administrative: Notary public, mayor, municipal clerk or treasurer who is a member of the Association of Municipal Managers or Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario, or member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario

  • Judicial: Lawyer, judge, Justice of the Peace, municipal, provincial, or First Nations police officer or constable, official or constable of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

  • Social worker or social service worker

  • Engineer

  • Accountant

  • Minister of religion who has authorization under provincial law to perform marriages

  • Signing officer of a bank

Having completed the application form, you can mail it to the following address:

Healthy Smiles Ontario

33 King Street West

PO Box 645

Oshawa ON L1H 8X1

How to Make Changes in the Information You’ve Submitted

Get a Change of Information form for your child, fill it, and mail it to the address below:

Healthy Smiles Ontario 33 King St W PO Box 645 Oshawa ON L1H 8X1 [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]However, if you receive Ontario Works, you need not fill a Change of Information form. You only need to contact your caseworker and inform him or her about the changes you need to make.

In addition, if you have entered your child for emergency or essential services, you need not submit the Change of Information form. Contact the program administrator (Accerta) and change the information by calling these numbers.

416-363-3677 (local) 1-877-258-2658 (toll-free)

How to Find a Participating Dentist in the Healthy Smiles Ontario Program

If you’re already working with a dentist, check with his or her office if he or she is associated with the Healthy Smiles Ontario program. If you don’t have a dentist, contact the public health unit close to you and look for information about a good doctor.

Getting Emergency Dental Care

If your kids need emergency dental care, get in touch with your dentist’s office and ask if he or she is supported by the Healthy Smiles Ontario program. If you don’t already have a regular dentist, contact the local public health unit closest to you and ask for information. Do keep in mind that if your child is enrolled with the Healthy Smiles Ontario program, he or she can continue to get treatment for 12 months beginning on the date of enrollment. Remember to renew your child's eligibility at the end of 12 months to continue to qualify for free treatments. Here are the criteria for your child eligibility:

  • Clinical condition that needs dental care

  • You must be able to show that you and your family’s financial situation will be adversely affected if you have to cover the dental bills yourself. For instance, any household or utility bill you will not be able to pay if you cover dental expenses.

Applying for Eligibility if Your Child has Dental Insurance

If you have dental insurance for your child, you can still have your child enrolled in the program. Go ahead and apply according to the directions listed above. Make sure to inform your dentist about the insurance coverage at the time of getting treatment.

How Dental Screenings in Elementary School Progress

Local public health units may visit your child’s elementary school all through the year for dental screenings. Here’s everything you need to know:

  • Every school works out a date and time schedule for the screening.

  • You’ll receive information about the schedule two weeks in advance by way of an email or a letter that your child brings from school. The school may also choose to put up a notice on their official website.

  • All kids in kindergarten and Grade 2 are given a free routine dental check-up. This activity makes sure that even those kids that have never been screened before, receive a check-up.

  • Since kids in Grade 2 have cut their first permanent molar (back) teeth, the check-up is essential to spot the first signs of tooth decay.

  • In case your child needs emergency treatment, the check-up will spot the issue. You’ll receive information by way of a letter the school sends home with your child.

  • If you need assistance with getting your child the care he or she needs, you can check with the Healthy Smiles Ontario program for the eligibility criteria and other information.

How to Opt Out of the Check-ups

If you feel you don't want your child to get the check-ups, you can follow the instructions in the information letter you receive from the school. You can send a mail to the address specified in the letter or call the number also given. It is recommended that you send your "Opt Out" request as soon as you receive the notification letter from the school.

Do You Have Questions?

You may have more questions regarding the program. For instance, you may need information on how to update the details you've submitted or re-apply for new cards once they expire at the end of the benefit year. You can get all the information by calling the numbers listed below.

ServiceOntarioINFOline Toll-free: 1-844-296-6306 TTY toll-free: 1-800-387-5559 416-327-4282 (TTY Toronto only)

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