You may have noticed that dental care is not part of your Manitoba Health Insurance. Services like cleaning, extraction, braces, filling and repairs are not covered. Unless you have a condition that needs surgery and hospitalization, you will have to pay for these out of pocket or with the support of dental insurance.
Regular dental care and hygiene are important to good health. The good news is that high quality dental services are available in the province. Here’s how you can avail of them:
What are your options?
If you’re employed, private dental insurance may be part of your benefits. Check with your employer and know the extent of your coverage. Another option is to purchase a personal dental insurance plan.
Most plans have basic benefits that cover exams, cleanings, fillings and extractions but may have limits on complex treatments. Plans can also have different payment structures. Some pay for the entire cost of treatment or a percentage of it, others require you to pay a deductible. A deductible is a specific amount or percentage of the cost you have to pay for a treatment or service. Ask an insurance agent for options that best fit your needs or better yet, compare plans from various providers.
Community oral health clinics
These provide dental services to underserved and vulnerable populations including patients who are elderly, of limited mobility, Indigenous or those who have low-income. Go to this page for a list: Centre for Community Oral Health Clinics. You can also read this booklet: Where to go for dental Care in your community by the WRHA if you’re in Winnipeg.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and your oral health, College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario CDHO
How to find a dentist in Manitoba
If you’re not eligible for community oral health clinics mentioned above, the best first step is to ask for referrals. Talk to your neighbours and friends who can recommend a good dentist. Your second best option is to look for prospects online. Use Manitoba Dentist.ca or 211 Manitoba (scroll down to “Discover services near you” indicate your zip code then and type “Dentists” on the “I’m looking for…” line) to find clinics near you.
Important questions to ask when looking for a dentist
First off, you’d want to know if your prospects have the right education, training and experience. Asking this can be awkward but it’s perfectly acceptable to interview your dentist. Another option would be to search for their website or call to learn about the dentist’s credentials and specialization. Most clinics have their own website nowadays where you can see a list of services they offer. Some even have a testimonial page where you can read their patients’ reviews and comments.
Questions to ask to see if the dentist is the right fit for you:
- What is their specialization? Know whether you need a general dentist, pedodontist, orthodontist, or another type of dentist.
- Can they accommodate specific health issues that have an impact on your dental health (e.g. diabetes, HIV, etc)?
- What are their hours of operation? Can they accommodate dental emergencies beyond their hours (if you have a condition that may require it)?
- Is the dentist accepting new patients?
- Can they bill your insurance directly?
- Do they have a payment plan? This is helpful to know if you need an expensive procedure done and you can’t afford to pay in full.
- Do they offer their initial consultations for free?
- Do they have staff who speak other languages (or a specific language you prefer)?
Your first appointment
Once you decide on a dentist, call for an appointment. They may tell you what to bring for the first meeting and the protocols they have during the pandemic (if they don’t you can ask). New patients can expect to supply personal details and contact information. You may also be asked to get an x-ray so that the dentist can evaluate your oral health and see if there are areas that require further treatment.
It’s important to take charge of your oral health. Talk to your dentist about your dental needs, ask questions, and request them to explain whenever something is not clear to you. You may bring a friend with you if your English is not so good. A good dentist will tell you your options first before performing anything on your teeth. Remember, you have the right to refuse any treatment that you don’t feel comfortable doing. You may ask for help from the Manitoba Dental Association if you have a concern with a dentist.
Sources: Dental Care FAQs, Canadian Dental Association. Accessed March 10, 2021.
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