Canada Dental Benefit: what is it? how does it work? who is eligible?

Canada Dental Benefit: what is it? how does it work? who is eligible?

Jan 25, 2023

A look at dental care and accessibility in Canada

One in five Canadians surveyed said cost was the main barrier to accessing dental care, admitting to avoiding dental visits and refusing treatments because they could not afford the care. Alarmingly, up to 90% of Canadians will be diagnosed with dental caries (commonly known as cavities) at least once in their lifetime. Cavities are easily treated by a dentist and largely avoidable with regular preventative dental care. Left untreated, tooth decay and gum disease can lead to serious, life-threatening health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. The connection between oral health and overall health has been well-studied; With such a clear connection, it is still a mystery why dental care is not covered under federal and provincial healthcare. 

In the first big move towards making healthcare more accessible to all, the Canada Dental Benefit seeks to offer financial assistance to help offset dental expenses for children from middle and low-income families. But what is the Canada Dental Benefit? How does it work? Who is eligible? And how can you apply? 

What is the Canada Dental Benefit?

The Canada Dental Benefit (CDB) is a tax-free payment to help offset the cost of dental care for eligible children under 12 who do not have access to a private dental insurance plan. A similar program aimed to assist seniors is set to launch in May 2024. As of February 2024, the program has not yet been extended to adults. However, the government has alluded to expanding the program to cover all Canadians in a phased approach over the next few years. 

Who is eligible for the Canada Dental Benefit?

Canadians who meet the following criteria are eligible:

  • The child was born on or after July 2, 2011 (under 12 years old as of July 1, 2023) and receives dental care services in Canada between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024.

  • The child does not have access to a private dental insurance plan.

    • If the child has access to any dental insurance plan that covers some or all of their dental expenses, even if they did not use it, they are not eligible to receive the benefit.

  • The child's dental costs are not fully covered by another provincial, territorial, municipal, or federal dental program.

  • Only parent or caregiver can receive the full amount CDB for your child as of July 1, 2023, or two parents/caregivers can receive half of the CCB for the child

  • The parent(s)/caregiver(s) filed 2022 taxes

  • Adjusted family net income was less than $90,000 in 2022.

  • No one has applied for the additional payment for the child's dental costs for the first benefit period.

How much does the Canada Dental Benefit pay?

The amount varies based on family income up to $90,000. The payment amounts do not change based on, nor are they dependent on the cost of the dental services. Parents of eligible children can apply for a maximum of two payments of up to $650 each.

Payment based on income

If the family net income is:

  • <$70,000, the payment amount is $650

  • $70,000 and $79,999, the payment amount is $390

  • 80,000 and 89,999, the payment amount is $260

  • > $90,000, not eligible for any payment

If the child's dental costs exceed $650, an extra payment may be given so long as the payment wasn't claimed for the first period, all parent(s)/caregiver(s) filed 2021 taxes and family net income from 2021 was also less than $90,000.

How to apply

Applications for the period from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024 are open. If you are applying for more than one child, the applications can be done together or separately. Applying can be done through. your My CRA Account here, or by calling 1-800-715-8836. More information on how to apply can be found on the Government of Canada site here

Before you apply, be prepared with the following documentation:

  • Your child’s dentist’s name, address, and phone number

  • The dental appointment date 

  • Your employer’s name address, and phone number and your spouse’s employer’s name, address, and phone number (if applicable)

CRA recommends keeping six years of dental receipts in case an application needs to be validated.

Submitting your application

If applying over the phone you will need to confirm your identity with your SIN number and a tax document like a notice of assessment or assessed tax return. If applying via your My CRA, make sure that all your information is up to date and that your direct deposit information is correct. 

Receiving your money

Applications both through the phone or My CRA take 5-10 days. If you have your direct deposit information in your My CRA account, the money will be deposited into your bank account. Otherwise, you can expect to receive a cheque in the mail.

A long way to go for accessible dental care

At snapsmile we believe that dental care shouldn’t be a privilege reserved for the wealthy. We’re working tirelessly to connect more Canadians with the care they deserve. Unfortunately, barriers to access don’t end at cost. If you’re having trouble finding a trusted dental care provider, read our blog How to find the right dentist. Book your first appointment through us before March 31st, 2024 and get rewarded with a free pair of Apple AirPods. Create your snapsmile profile to get started today.


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