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ONTARIO: Dental Association wants Ford to invest more in public programs

According to the President of the Association, the province can save millions in unnecessary hospital and doctor visits

Going to the dentist can be very expensive if you don't have a dental plan, which is why the Ontario Dental Association is asking the Ford government to invest in public dental programs.

Dr. David Stevenson is the President of the ODA who said dental health can be just as important as your physical health, but due to costs some people are forgoing seeing the dentist.

"They end up seeing an emergency room doctor for a tooth pain or a gum problem and they're not getting the care they need."

Which results in unnecessary costs on the healthcare system. Dr. Stevenson said dentists are covering some of the cost in running their practices in order to treat as many people they can. 

"We're more than happy to donate our time, donate our expertise, but what happen with the lack of funding, or the stagnate funding over the decades, is dentist are now actually paying to treat these people. So we're actually subsidizing this."

Dentist in the province currently treat 260,000 children through the Healthy Smiles program, but the association said more needs to be done to treat 540,000 children and youth who are eligible for the program. 

The Association is asking the province to invest in the programs as well as increase reimbursement rates to help cover the cost of running a dental practice.

"The cost of practicing and overhead costs can be up in the range of 75 per cent and so we're asking the government to fund it specifically for that."

According to Dr. Stevenson, the main obstacle to better dental health over the last decade was securing the funding and convincing the government to make it a priority. He said they want the Ford government will take meaningful action in helping children and low-income families obtain quality dental care.