Paying for Dental Care on a Low Income

April 18, 2019
Oral health is vital to your overall hygiene. Here in Canada, oral health care is not included in the Canada Health Act, which means that Canadians must go to private clinics to get dental care. Sadly, it also means that low-income families often lack the money to get the dental care they need. If you are in such a situation, what are your options?
Paying for Dental Care on a Low Income

Community Programs

Some communities across Canada have programs that offer free or low-cost dental services to some of their residents. Eligibility requirements vary from one clinic to the next.

Government Benefits

If you are a First Nations resident registered under the Indian Act, or an Inuk recognized by an Inuit land claim organization, there is the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program provided by the Canadian government. This program covers a wide range of dental services.

Payment Plans

If you are not eligible for free or low-cost dental services, ask your dental clinic if they have payment plans. A payment plan allows you to spread your payment, plus interest, over a certain amount of time.

Line of Credit

If you have good credit, you can ask your bank for a line of credit. This is perfect if you do not know exactly how much your dental work will cost. A line of credit gives you access to a certain amount of money, but you only use what you need. The interest you pay is calculated on what you have used.

Bank Loan

A personal loan with your bank is another great solution if you have good credit, as they can offer you interesting interest rates. The only downside with bank loans is that their minimum loan amount is often more than what you need.

Online Loan

An online loan is helpful when you have bad credit and cannot get a loan from a traditional financial institution. Online loans have high interest rates, but they do not take your credit score into consideration when evaluating your loan request. The loan amounts are small, so you won’t be tempted to spend more than necessary, and you pay back the loan in three to four months, depending on the amount borrowed.

Credit Card

Credit cards are easy to get and easy to use. Their downsides: they have high interest rates, and when you make a payment on your card, that money becomes available for you to spend again, which can get you trapped in an unending wheel of payments.

Ask a Friend or Family Member

Asking a friend or family member to lend you money should be a last resort solution, as it can put a strain on your relationship. If it is your only solution, tell your friend or family member about your financial situation, why you need the money, how you plan to repay the loan and what interest you can pay. If they agree to lend you the money, put your agreement in writing. If you value your relationship with the person lending you the money, honour your agreement and make your payments on time.

Keep a Good Oral Hygiene

As in many other domains, prevention is always best. If you can go to the dentist at least once a year, problems are detected sooner, and cost less to fix. Get into the habit of flossing, using mouthwash and brushing your teeth at least twice a day. Good oral hygiene diminishes the risks for more serious dental problems and gives you a beautiful smile.