If you are looking for free dental care in Alberta, you have come to the right place.
The province of Alberta subsidizes 10 dental programs.
Alberta residents have access to the greatest number of free dental care programs compared to any other province in Canada.
This blog post is a comprehensive guide to all of the free dental services available in Alberta. We will explain each program, how to qualify/apply and what is covered.
1. (AHCIP): FREE DENTAL CARE UNDER ALBERTA HEALTH CARE INSURANCE PLAN:
(Free Dental Care for all Alberta Residents)
All residents of Alberta are covered by the province's health care plan, the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP), for all medically necessary physician services and some specialized dental and oral surgical procedures. However, routine dental care services, such as cleaning, fillings, and wisdom teeth extractions, are not covered under the AHCIP.
Alberta insures several medically necessary oral surgical and dental procedures; a dentist may perform a small number of these procedures, but the majority of the procedures can be billed to the Plan only when performed by an oral or maxillofacial surgeon.
2. (ACHBP): ALBERTA CHILD HEALTH BENEFIT PLAN:
(Free Dental Care for Kids in Alberta)
The Alberta Child Health Benefit plan pays for health services, such as eyeglasses, prescription drugs, and dental care, that are not available through the standard Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan.
Alberta's Child Health Benefit Plan (ACHBP) helps with the cost of health care for low-income families with children. ACHBP pays for dental services that Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan does not cover.
A family must have a child under 18 years old and meet the income eligibility criteria to be eligible. Children 18 or 19 also qualify if they live at home and attend high school.
Who is eligible for free dental care through ACHBP?
For single parents who make $26,023 or less per year, your child can be signed up. If you have more children, your income can be higher:
- 1 adult + 2 children: $31,010
- 1 adult + 3 children: $36,325
- Couple + 1 child: $31,237
- Couple + 2 children: $36,634
Not eligible if you already have health services paid for through other government programs, including:
- Income Support
- Alberta Adult Health Benefit
- Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH)
- Alberta Child Financial Support Program
- Canadian government programs for people with Indian or Inuit status
If you or other household members have dental coverage through another health benefits plan, you must use that plan first. The Alberta Child Health Benefit plan may cover your remaining costs.
Which dental services does ACHBP cover?
Essential and preventative services like dental exams, fillings, extractions, x-rays, and teeth cleaning are covered.
How do I apply for free dental services under ACHBP?
Mail or fax your completed application form to:
Alberta Community and Social Services
Health Benefits Contact Centre
PO Box 2222 Station Main
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 5H3
Fax: 780‑415‑8386 (Edmonton) or 1‑855‑415‑8386 (outside of Edmonton)
3. EARLY CHILDHOOD ORAL HEALTH SERVICES
(Free Dental Care for infants and toddlers)
Alberta's early childhood oral health program offers free dental services for eligible Alberta infants and toddlers, ages: 0 to 36 months.
Who is eligible for free dental care through Early Childhood Oral Health Services?
A referral is needed. Most patients are identified through a questionnaire filled out by the parent when they attend a Child Health immunization clinic with their child. Parents are contacted with their questionnaire results, and those at risk for decay are invited to the ECOHS program for dental preventive services. Children may also enter the program if they are referred by another health professional (nurse) or if the parent has concerns about their child's dental health.
Which dental services are covered under Early Childhood Oral Health Services?
Only preventative dental services are covered under this plan.
4. FLUORIDE PROTECTION FOR TODDLERS
(Free Professionally Applied Fluoride for Toddlers)
Offers free fluoride applications for children 12 to 35 months to protect their teeth from cavities. Children only need to have a few teeth to start getting fluoride. Applications are given 4 times, once every 6 months.
This program is also known as Preschool Fluoride Varnish, Healthy Teeth for a Healthy Start, Preschool Oral Health Services, Preventive Dental Services, Public Health Dental Services.
Who is eligible for this program?
12 to 35-month-old child is eligible for Alberta Health Services’ fluoride applications if:
a) Family is already enrolled in the Alberta Child Health Benefit (ACHB).
b) "Take home” family income is equal to or less than specific amounts.
c) Two of the following describe your family:
- A member of your family has had cavities in the last 2 years
- You get a subsidy for other government services (e.g., daycare)
- You are a single parent
- You have been in Canada for less than 3 years
- Either you or your partner did not finish high school
- Your children are First Nations but are not able to participate in the Care for a Smile or Children’s Oral Health Initiative.
How is the Fluoride Administered?
Applications are given 4 times, once every 6 months dental assistants and dental hygienists. At the appointment:
- The child sits on their parent's lap while staff puts fluoride on the child's teeth using a brush. It takes less than a minute.
- The child can eat and drink right after the treatment.
- The fluoride sticks to the teeth and protects them. However, it slowly wears off when the teeth are brushed.
5. (FSCD): FAMILY SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
(Free Dental Care for Kids with Substantial Disability)
Parents of children with disabilities sometimes need support so they can raise their children at home and fully participate in community life.
The Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) Program provides a wide range of family-centered supports and services. Services are meant to help strengthen families’ ability to promote their child’s healthy development and encourage their child’s participation in activities at home and in the community.
- Your child must be under the age of 18;
- Your child must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada;
- Your child must have a disability;
- You must provide documentation from a health professional that identifies your child’s disability or diagnosis and describes how the disability affects your child’s daily activities; and
- You must be the guardian of the child with a disability.
Basic dental care
6. (AISH): ASSURED INCOME FOR THE SEVERELY HANDICAPPED PROGRAM
(Free Dental Care for Adults with a Permanent Disability)
The Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program provides financial and health-related assistance to eligible adults with a disability. The disability must be permanent and substantially limit the person’s ability to earn a living. AISH clients may also be eligible to receive supplemental assistance (a child benefit and personal benefits) through the AISH program.
AISH health benefits and supplemental assistance may also assist a client’s cohabiting partner and dependent children.
AISH provides health benefits for adults 18-64yrs with a permanent disability that severely impairs their ability to earn a living; the level of benefits depends on income and assets.
Depending on income, partial or maximum coverage; some diagnostic, restorative, endodontic, periodontal, prosthodontic, and oral surgery services.
Ask your dentist, denturist or dental hygienist for more details about AISH’s basic dental coverage, which includes:
- cleaning teeth
- removing teeth
- other dental services
7. ALBERTA ADULT HEALTH BENEFIT
( Free Dental Care for Low-Income Adults)
The Alberta Adult Health Benefit (AAHB) program supports Albertans with low income to ensure they have access to prescription drugs, dental services, optical services, emergency ambulance, and diabetic supplies that are essential to health and well-being.
The health benefit plan is for individuals and families with limited incomes. It includes children up to age 18 and up to age 20 if they live at home and are attending high school. There are no fees to sign up.
Individuals and families may qualify for the AAHB if:
- You are pregnant, and you have limited income.
- You leave Income Support and you have income from employment, self-employment, or the Canada Pension Plan Disability program.
- You leave Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), and you have income from employment, self-employment, or the Canada Pension Plan Disability program.
- Families must also qualify by income.
If you are a single individual, you qualify for AAHB if your income is under $15,545. However, if you have a spouse or partner or children, your income can be higher.
To receive health benefits, you and your family members must live in Alberta and be Canadian citizens or have permanent residence status in Canada. In addition, you must not be receiving health benefits from other government programs.
Essential services like extractions and fillings.
Some additional services like teeth cleaning and annual examinations are also covered.
8. ALBERTA HUMAN SERVICES INCOME SUPPORT
(Free Dental Care for Low-Income Individuals)
Income Support provides financial assistance to Albertans who do not have the resources to meet their basic needs, like food, clothing, and shelter.
Albertans in four general situations may qualify for Income Support:
1. Cannot work due to chronic health problems or other barriers to employment (Barriers to Full Employment);
2. Looking for work, working but not earning enough, or temporarily unable to work (Expected to Work);
3. Need training so they can get a job (Learners);
4. Faced with an unexpected, one-time Emergency that’s no fault of their own, e.g., sudden eviction due to fire (Emergency Allowance).
The level of assistance varies depending on each person’s situation, including financial resources, ability to work, and the number of children in the family.
Dental goods and services covered are defined by agreements between the Ministry and the relevant professional associations.
9. DENTAL ASSISTANCE FOR SENIORS PROGRAM
(Free Dental Care for Seniors)
The Dental Assistance for Seniors Program is based on income. It provides low- to moderate-income seniors with financial assistance for essential dental services that help maintain a reasonable level of health.
To be eligible you must be 65 years of age or older and have an income level within the limits allowed by the program. In addition, you must have resided in Alberta for at least three months before applying. Finally, you must also be a Canadian citizen or have been admitted into Canada for permanent residence (landed immigrant)
Seniors who are not currently enrolled will need to complete a Seniors Financial Assistance application form.
Includes: checkups, cleanings, fillings, extractions, root canals and basic dentures.
Up to a maximum of $5,000 of coverage for eligible procedures every 5 years under the Dental program.
10. ORAL HEALTH DENTAL TREATMENT SERVICES
( Reduced-fee Dental Care for Families in Financial Need)
Provides reduced-fee dental treatment services by qualified dentists to families in financial need and without access to dental insurance. It is administered through 2 Dental Clinics in the Calgary area.
Emergency patients must show evidence of low income and may receive care for the relief of pain only.
Applicants must provide:
- A completed dental income assessment form
- Proof of family income (Example: “Notice of Assessment” for previous year’s tax return)
- A completed Employer Letter or School Letter explaining dental coverage
People with access to group dental plans (e.g., Blue Cross, etc.) or having similar coverage (e.g. Child Health Benefit, Dental Assistance for Seniors Program, etc.) are not eligible.
Children and Best Beginning patients receive priority for dental appointments.
A limited number of appointments for new adult patients are available monthly.
Patients who have received a full series of treatment from this program must wait three years after treatment is complete before re-qualifying for another full series of treatments. During this three-year waiting period, emergencies (such as pain, swelling, broken tooth, or broken filling) can still be dealt with; however, it will not include full exams or cleaning.
Check-ups, X-rays, fluoride treatment, sealants, scalings, fillings, front tooth root canals, extractions, etc.
The following services are NOT available:
- full dentures;
- orthodontics or braces;
- molar root canals;
- periodontal surgery;
- sedation dentistry;
- complex or specialist services
Fees are approximately 20% of the Alberta Usual and Customary Fee Guide for Dental Services.
CONCLUSION ABOUT FREE DENTAL CARE IN ALBERTA
Alberta offers a variety of free dental care programs for those who qualify. This blog post outlines the different programs available, their eligibility requirements, and the treatments covered. We hope you find this information helpful as you look for ways to cover your dental costs and protect your health.
Suppose you do not qualify for the free dental coverage outlined above. In that case, your next step in finding affordable dental care is to understand the difference between dentist prices and dental costs.