Many years ago a mother took her young daughter to the dentist for a checkup. In utter fear, the little girl thought the doctor was going to hurt her with those shiny little tools on his tray. 

So, when he approached her mouth, she gave him a swift kick. 

The dentist immediately ordered the mother to take her unruly child out of his office, which she did in haste, never to return. 

Today, that same mother still chuckles about the incident, particularly after receiving a letter from the federal government regarding the new Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP), which is reportedly causing some confusion among many seniors.  

According to the Ontario Dental Association (ODA), many patients will be in for a surprise when they find out this dental care may not be free (depending on their income).

Not all dentists will agree to participate in the new benefits plan, which could come with a lot of red tape. Therefore, people are encouraged to talk to their dentist about the plan and whether they support it. 

Dr. Rob Wolanski, president of the BC Dental Association, admits the plan is an unprecedented opportunity to improve the health of Canadians, but it lacks clarity and collaboration. 

As a result, he says dentists cannot make an informed decision whether to participate or not, noting the plan won’t proceed if it is carried on the backs of oral health care providers.

Further to this, Dr. Brock Nicolucci, president of the ODA, says there is an unrealistic expectation that care will be free under the new program.

The mom with the unruly child, who is not so unruly now, is waiting for a response from the government on what the plan will cover.  

On the Government of Canada website (canada.ca), it answers some questions about the plan, including how to apply, what services are covered, and who is eligible. 

For example, to qualify for the CDCP, you must not have access to dental insurance and must have a family net income of less than $90,000.

If you have dental coverage through a government social program, you can still qualify for the CDCP.

The website notes that oral health providers’ participation in the CDCP will be on a voluntary basis.

For more information, see


Lyonel Doherty, editor