Dental care access too unequal

Toronto Public Health Dental Services


Toronto Public Health provides free non-emergency and emergency dental care for eligible children and youth (0-17 years).

School dental screening
Toronto Public Health provides annual dental screenings in local public and separate schools for children from Junior Kindergarten through to Grade 8. Parents are notified in advance of the screenings and are able to opt out if they do not want their child to be screened.

The school screening programs do not replace a dental examination that is done at a dentist's office. The screening can provide an early sign of possible problems that should be looked at more closely.

Oral health workshops for high school students and youth
Toronto Public Health offers workshops for high school students and community youth groups. Schools and community agencies that provide programs and services to youth can call 311 to book a workshop.

Parents who are enrolled in select Toronto Public Health perinatal or parenting programs may be referred by their public health nurse, dietician or home visitor to a Toronto Public Health dental clinic for dental services. A referral form must be completed by the program staff.

If you are not eligible for this free service, you may qualify for dental care at a reduced cost at another facility.

Community Oral Health Outreach Program
Toronto Public Health also provides oral health workshops for parents and caregivers of young children through groups. The workshops have information on oral health, disease prevention and other health concerns specific to adults and for parents and caregivers of young children. Call 311 for more information.

If you are 65 or older, you can get free dental care at a Toronto Public Health dental clinic if you are eligible.

Dental screenings in seniors' facilities
Toronto Public Health provides the following services to nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes and collective living centres:

  • Screening of residents for potential dental issues
  • for caregivers and/or independent seniors on the importance of good oral health, disease prevention and other dental health concerns specific to seniors
  • Professional cleaning and identification of dentures (denture labelling) for residents in the facility
  • Demonstrations on brushing techniques for residents and/or their caregivers

These screenings are organized by the facility, and not all facilities offer this program.

These on-site dental screenings are conducted by dental hygienists, not dentists. The screening can provide an early sign of possible problems that should be looked at more closely. As a follow-up, a Toronto Public Health dentist will visit the facility to assess any residents who have been identified with dental problems. Minor denture adjustments such as tightening or loosening of clasps and relieving denture sores are also done at this time, if required.


How do I organize dental screening in a seniors’ facility?
If you work at a seniors’ facility and want to arrange for a dental screening, please call 311.

Toronto Public Health provides annual dental in local public and separate schools for children from Junior Kindergarten through to Grade 8. Parents are notified in advance of the screenings and are able to opt out if they do not want their child to be screened.

The dental screening process is as follows:

  • The school informs parents and students of the dates
  • A dental hygienist does a visual inspection of the gums, teeth and mouth
  • The hygienist can answer any questions the student might have, provide guidance on oral hygiene and may encourage the student to get a follow-up visit with a dentist


How do I organize a dental screening program for my high school students?
If you are a teacher or school administrator in a high school, call 311 to book a free school dental screening for your students.

How do I organize a workshop for youth?
TPH offers workshops for youth in high schools and to community youth groups. The focus is on good oral health, disease prevention and other concerns specific to youth. Teachers and community agencies can call 311 for more details about this service.



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