Brush up on your oral health: locate information to find the care you need and keep costs down

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Most Canadians know that good oral health is more than simply cleaning your pearly whites! In fact, recent research connects poor oral health with health problems such as diabetes, respiratory illness, heart disease, and premature birth. Unfortunately, many people skip out on receiving the necessary dental care because of the associated costs—even if they are aware of the associated health benefits. This article will provide you with the resources you need to care for your teeth without putting a dent in your wallet.

Finding a dentist

Dentists play a key role in helping you maintain good oral health. In Canada, dentists are licensed to practice by their provincial or territorial regulatory authority (e.g., a college of dental surgeons) or association. These authorities make sure all licensed dentists meet the necessary ongoing education and practice standards, ensuring quality dental care is provided to the general public. If you want to find out more or make a complaint about a particular dentist, contact the regulatory authority in your province or territory.

If you are looking for a dentist or need information about the professionals who make up your dental care team, visit the Canadian Dental Association website. It can help you find one in your province or territory, It also provides links to provincial associations such as the Alberta Dental Association and the Ontario Dental Association.

Locating specialized care

If your teeth require more advanced care, your dentist may refer you to a specialist who receives advanced training in specific areas of oral health such as:

  • Endodontics
  • Oral or maxillofacial surgery
  • Orthodontics
  • Pediatric dentistry
  • Periodontology
  • Prosthodontics or dentures

You can contact your provincial regulatory body if you want more information about a dental specialist. Keep in mind that, in order to access this type of specialized dental care, you may require a referral from your dentist.

Obtaining the right information

An important part of maintaining good oral health is staying informed - you need to know what information is out there and where to find it. While your dentist or dental hygienist should always be your primary source of information about the health of your teeth, you may also want to seek out more information on your own. Get started with the Canadian Dental Association website to learn more about oral health for the whole family and find general information about dental exams and oral health complications. You can even get tips on how to avoid seeing your dentist!

Cutting expenses

In most cases, dental care is not covered by provincial health plans. However, there will typically be some provincial coverage available for certain groups (e.g., individuals with low incomes or certain disabilities). Many private insurance plans also cover a set amount of dental care services (which may include limited specialized services) per calendar year.

Accessing provincial and federal dental care programs, understanding private plan coverage and co-payments, and co-ordinating benefits to maximize coverage between multiple plans can all help you manage your oral care costs.

Remember that taking care of your teeth means taking care of your overall health. Keep this in mind whenever you reach for that floss or toothbrush. While dental care can be costly, it isn’t a good enough reason to ignore your oral health. There are public and private programs designed to help you minimize costs, so take advantage! If you make it a priority to take good care of your teeth, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see they’ll take care of you in return!

© 2013 Health Care Services International Inc. (Novus Health) Reprinted with permission.