Free Dental Care for Low Income Seniors Expected in Budget

Officials at the Windsor Essex County Health Unit are anxiously waiting to see if a dental program for seniors will be in Thursday's budget.

The Canadian Press has learned the provision would provide free dental care for low-income seniors.

Kim Cassier is the Oral Health Manager at the health unit and has been part of a province-wide working group along with the Oral Health Alliance to develop the program.

Speaking on AM800's The Afternoon News, Cassier says the goal would be to prevent dental problems becoming serious.

"I think it would be for, you know, relief of pain function," she says. "So again extractions, probably fillings, potentially dentures."

Cassier says the program would be similar to the Healthy Smiles program.

"It doesn't cover braces, it doesn't cover a lot of expensive things.  I'm thinking this program would provide relief of pain and ensure some type of functions so  the senior is able to eat without pain and be able to communicate."

A senior government source has indicated the program would be available to seniors 65 years and over.

It would be for individuals with an income under $20,000 or couples with a combined income of under $32,000.

It's expected the program would cost $100-million but would eliminate upwards of 60,000 emergency room visits for preventable dental issues.