Hamilton’s Dental Health Bus still closed but wait times for free dental care for eligible clients improving


Published December 11, 2023 at 11:36 am

Dental Health Bus
Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh visited Hamilton's Dental Health Bus last April

The Dental Health Bus may be closed due to “ongoing mechanical issues,” but free dental health care is still available for Hamiltonians with low income and no other dental coverage.

Wait times for eligible adult clients is about two months, which is a marked improvement on the six-month average wait time from last spring. Wait times for clients on the Ontario Seniors Dental Health Care Plan (OSDCP) is still six to nine months, however.

The Public Health Services Dental Clinic provides free dental service, such as dental exams, x-rays, fillings, extractions and cleanings for Hamilton residents who have a low income, do not have dental insurance and also those enrolled in provincial programs such as the Healthy Smiles Ontario – a free dental program for eligible children and youth 17 and under – or the OSDCP, which provides free, routine dental services for low-income ($22,000 annual income or less) seniors 65 and up.

As to the Dental Health Bus, mechanical issues are still plaguing the vehicle and Hamilton Public Health is now exploring an “alternate site” to provide these services, said Dental Services Manager Pat Armstrong. “Until an alternate site is arranged for the Dental Health Bus, we’ve been able to open some limited capacity for dental emergencies at the downtown dental clinic for same-day emergency dental appointments.”

“Adults and seniors experiencing low-income who have no other form of dental insurance – including those on our waitlist – are able to have an urgent dental need addressed. Those already on our waitlist will keep their place on the list for full program enrollment.”

The Public Health Services Dental Clinic, located downtown at the Robert Thomson Building (110 King St. W, 3rd floor), is open Monday to Friday – 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Staff will not be able to see any walk-in patients so you must call (905) 546-2424 (extension 3789) to schedule an appointment.

As of next year, the recently announced Canada Dental Benefit will also be available for seniors and for children in eligible families earning less than $90,000 per year (with no co-pay if you make less than $70,000 annually), giving them free dental care.


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