For Canadians, dentistry is not covered under the Canadian Health Act. This lack of coverage disproportionately impacts the lives and health of the most vulnerable. First Nations, Seniors, and low-income adults—these are the Canadians who feel the pain of a lack of coverage the most. Trying to make impossible choices between who, how, or if they even access dental care, the most vulnerable members of our community suffer the mental and physical health impacts of this lack of support. It is true, dental coverage in Canada can be improved and extended to many more members of our community. As good oral health is a core component of overall health, this pervasive issue is one that needs to be addressed.
Imagine, you’ve found yourself out of work, or don’t have a high paying job, or maybe you’re retired, on a fixed income, and don’t have coverage. Now, your tooth begins to exhibit a worrisome pain. What do you do? Many of us have seen the scene from Cast Away where Tom Hanks performs his own tooth extraction using a figure skate, but surely there has to be a better option. Luckily, BLOK Dental offers clients flexible payment options. So, now that you’ve put down your figure skate and have come to your senses, here’s what you need to know about dental coverage for low or no income persons in Saskatoon.
We want to make dentistry accessible in Saskatoon
Finding affordable dentistry options in Saskatchewan can be very difficult, and this can leave many in a tough position, trying to make difficult decisions about their health just to make ends meet. Many people neglect regular dental care because of the cost, leading to irreversible damage, pain, and disease. In Canada, 32 percent of the population does not have dental coverage. Further still, the most vulnerable people in our communities lack coverage at even higher rates. 53 percent of adults between 60 and 79 years of age have no dental insurance, and 50 percent of Canadians in the lower-income bracket have no dental insurance. These statistics show us that the most vulnerable people in Canada are at increased risk for serious dental emergencies, as they are left without regular, preventative care. We believe that everyone should have access to quality dental care services.
Having access to regular dental checkups is vital to your overall health.
When looking at this issue, the data shows that the most vulnerable in our community are disproportionately impacted by a lack of access to dental care. For example, Canadians from lower-income families have been shown to have two times worse outcomes with respect to dental care. Moreover, according to the Canadian Dental Association, 47 percent of lower-income Canadians have identified an unmet need for dental care, and 1 in 6 Canadians cannot meet these needs due to financial concerns.
Regular dental care can significantly reduce the severity of issues associated with the mouth and teeth, gum disease, oral cancer, tooth decay and extractions, root canals, and more. This is why dental coverage and payment options for low-income patients and vulnerable people is extremely important. Not only does regular dental care help combat numerous different dental issues, it also helps to reduce the risk of other health issues, and can even result in early detection of more serious ailments. An entry point to good or bad health is the mouth.
We have flexible payment options for low-income patients
At BLOK Dental Studio, we offer flexible financing and payment options to help increase your access to quality dental care. From consultations and exams to x-rays and cleanings, we want to ensure that your dental procedure does not cause you financial stress. We want those who struggle to access dental care to have options for accessing the dentist regularly. Bi-annual dental appointments are an essential preventative care measure, and should be accessible. We believe that a lack of dental coverage, whether due to finances, lack of employment, insurance qualifications, or aging should not be impediments to receiving quality dental care.
More Options for Low-Income Dental Coverage in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan’s low-income dental benefits, covered under the Family Health Benefits plan, offer assistance for dental care for children of low-income families. In order to qualify for these benefits, one’s notice of assessment, family size, and family income are taken into consideration. Once the Ministry of Social Services determines that an applicant fits the criteria for Family Health Benefits, coverage for dental care and a number of other health services, such as eye care, are provided.
Services that are covered for children of low-income families can include:
- Most dental services
- Eye examinations once a year and basic eyeglasses
- Emergency ambulance
- Basic Medical Supplies
- Prescription drugs in the Saskatchewan Formulary
Although there are options for low-income residents in Saskatchewan to access coverage for dental services, there are limitations to who can access these services. For example, non-working and low-income seniors, and working, low-income adults are not covered by Saskatchewan low-income dental benefits. This gap in coverage demonstrates the difficult situation that many Saskatchewan residents face when accessing dental coverage for themselves and their family. This is why BLOK Dental Studio aims to provide low-income Saskatchewan residents with quality service and options for flexible payment options.
What are the dental coverage options for seniors?
For seniors in Saskatchewan and throughout Canada, accessing dental coverage continues to be difficult. This is problematic, as poor dental health is linked to many other serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, and more.
“Most seniors in Canada do not have coverage for dental care, apart from specific oral surgery procedures that are performed in hospital. This lack of coverage has serious health implications for older Canadians, which puts this vulnerable group at higher risk for both dental and systemic disease.”
In addition to the challenges associated with being a low-income senior in Saskatchewan are the realities of aging. That is, more than half of elderly people have continuous health concerns and conditions. We also know that these issues typically become more severe or prevalent as we age. Even arthritis can impact our ability to brush thoroughly. In more severe cases where a loss of mobility has occurred, we can see that caring for one’s oral health becomes almost impossible. We understand the importance of dental coverage and flexible payment options for seniors in Saskatchewan. In addition, we also offer virtual consultations for any questions and concerns that don’t require an in-office visit. This allows those who are experiencing mobility loss to access their dentist in a more convenient way.
Resources for Low-Income Dental Coverage in Saskatchewan
Aside from the support that BLOK Dental Studio provides for clients to be able to access dental coverage, there are other resources available online that host helpful information. This is especially important, as government-funded dental programs vary from province-to-province.
- Government Funded Coverage
For low-income Canadians seeking information about how to access dental coverage, the Canadian Association of Public Health Dentistry has provided links to what dental assistance programs are available to individuals throughout Canada. This helpful information is organized by province. In Saskatchewan, individuals can explore their eligibility for Supplementary Health Benefits, a program that is designed to provide assistance to low-income families and those on social assistance.
- Individual Insurance
If you are able to access coverage on your own, there are options for individual insurance coverage through brokers like the Saskatchewan Blue Cross, which can help provide some dental coverage for those whose jobs do not have benefits. Unfortunately, eligibility for coverage can exclude those with pre-existing conditions, houseless persons, and those lacking a bank account—so it is not an option for all. At Blok Dental, we can direct-bill your insurer, making it easier for you to access care.
Financing dental costs, especially for high-cost procedures such as dentures, root canals, Invisalign, major restorative work, implants, and more can provide you with the flexibility you need in order to access these services. We are able to walk you through the financing process in the clinic, so you’re able to decide if it is an option that will work well for you and your family.
The High Cost of Low-Income Dental Assistance for Adults
So what is the true cost of a lack of dental coverage? Well, for the individual, neglecting one’s oral health to save money can mean much more significant costs in the end. When cavities haven’t been detected and dealt with, they move from the realm of fillings or even to the realm of extractions, which is going to cost more. If issues are allowed to progress even further, patients may be forced to see a specialist to resolve their issue. It’s no secret that treatment from a specialist tends to come with a higher price tag. Then there’s those missed school and work days. In Canada, over 4 million working days are estimated to be missed annually due to dental sick days. At BLOK Dental Studio, we know that it is in the best interest of patients, and the communities that we are all a part of, to provide flexible payment options for patients. In dollars and cents this translates to fewer missed days at work and to lower costs when visiting the dentist. Best of all, for patients, flexible payment options means no more navigating impossible decisions between health and well-being, food and shelter, and the pain that a lack of low-income dental assistance can bring.
We aim to provide access to routine dental care.
While the coverage options for the most vulnerable is limited, it is our goal to make dentistry more accessible for all. We are located at the intersection of Saskatoon’s downtown, Riversdale, and King George neightbourhoods, and we want our community to access routine dental care. If you need dental support, but do not have coverage and cannot afford to pay high costs up front, contact us at BLOK Dental Studio to discuss the flexible payment options available to you and your loved ones.