If you’ve ever winced at the thought of dental bills piling up faster than a sink full of dirty dishes, worry not! The government recently launched new dental benefits to address the lack of dental insurance affecting more than 30% of Canadians to access dental care.

The new Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) builds on the pre-existing Canada Dental Benefit (CDB) and aims to make oral health care more affordable for almost 9 million Canadians.

We’ve compiled this guide on the CDCP and the CDB—so you can have a brighter, healthier smile and take advantage of the benefit when you file your taxes

Key Takeaways
  1. The Canada Dental Benefit (CDB) is an interim financial measure available until June 30, 2024. It covers a range of eligible oral-health services for children under 12 years of age. 
  2. The Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) will reimburse a percentage of your dental costs based on your adjusted family net income (AFNI).
  3. You are eligible for these benefits only if your AFNI is less than $90,000 and you don’t have private dental insurance.

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Canada Dental Benefit vs. Canadian Dental Care Plan: a snapshot

While both benefits are rooted in making quality dental care accessible to Canadians, they differ on the following parameters.


Canada Dental Benefit (CDB)

Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP)


Interim financial measure until June 30, 2024, to lower dental costs

Federally delivered insurance program for basic dental costs

Benefit period

Period 1: October 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023

Period 2: July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024

December 2023—ongoing

Coverage age group

Children under 12 years of age

Low-income Canadians of all ages

Orthodontic services

Covered under the benefit

Will be added starting in 2025

Benefit amount

Tax-free payment based on adjusted family net income (AFNI)

Oral-health providers will submit claims directly to Sun Life for reimbursement 

Now that you know the key differences between CDB and CDCP, let’s delve into the nitty gritty.

What is the Canada Dental Benefit (CDB)?

The Canada Dental Benefit (CDB) is an interim financial measure—available until June 30, 2024—that lowers dental costs for eligible families in Canada. You can claim this benefit if your adjusted family net income (AFNI) is lower than $90,000 and you pay for dental care for a child under age 12. ​​

The first benefit period of the CDB was operational from October 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. Currently, you can apply for the final and second benefit period—available from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024.

Some of the common eligible oral-health services include:

  • Diagnostic services, including examinations and X-rays
  • Endodontic services, including root canal treatments
  • Oral surgery, including extractions
  • Orthodontic services
  • Periodontic services, including deep scaling
  • Preventative services, including scaling (cleaning), polishing, sealants, and fluoride
  • Prosthodontic services, including removal of dentures
  • Restorative services, including fillings

Who can apply for the Canada Dental Benefit?

You can apply for the Canada Dental Benefit if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • Your child is under 12 years of age as of July 1, 2023. 
  • Your child received dental care in Canada between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024.
  • You have an official receipt for the services provided by a licensed denturist, dentist, or dental hygienist.
  • Your child does not have access to private dental insurance.
  • The dental costs are not fully paid for by another government program. 
  • You receive the Canada child benefit (CCB) for the child (half the amount if you have shared custody).
  • Your AFNI is less than $90,000.
  • You and your spouse/common-law partner filed taxes in 2022.

Note: You can apply for only two payments per child.

What’s the benefit amount you can receive from the CDB?

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) determines the benefit amount based on your AFNI. In the case of shared custody, you and your child’s other parent can split the benefit by applying for an equal payment amount.

Let’s look at how much the payments are, depending on the scenario.  

Adjusted family net income (AFNI)

Full-custody amount

Shared-custody amount

Less than $70,000



       $70,000 to $79,999



      $80,000 to $89,999



        $90,000 or more

    Not eligible

       Not eligible

If you applied for only one benefit period—either October 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, or July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024—and your child’s dental costs are more than $650 during that period, you can get an additional payment. The additional amount will be the same as your original benefit payment.

How to apply for the Canada Dental Benefit

Using CRA My Account is a secure and fast way to complete your CDB application. You can also apply by phone (1-800-715-8836) or use a teletypewriter (1-800-665-0354). The application period is open only until June 30, 2024.

Your CDB application needs to include the following information:

  • The dental care provider’s name, address, and phone number
  • The appointment date
  • Your employer’s name, address, and phone number (if applicable)
  • Your spouse/common-law partner’s employer’s name, address, and phone number (if applicable)

Ideally, keep the receipt or invoice for the dental care service for at least 6 years in case the CRA needs to validate your eligibility.

Is the CDB a taxable benefit?

No, the payments you receive under the CDB are tax-free, but your dental expenses may be used as a tax deduction. You can claim your child’s dental costs as medical expense deductions on line 33099 of your income tax return. If you do so, you need to deduct the claimed amount from your CDB.

With the CDB is ending on June 30, 2024, the government has already initiated the second phase of national dental coverage—CDCP. Let’s look at how this new dental benefit will help uninsured Canadians.

What is the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP)?

The CDCP is a federally delivered insurance program that will cover basic dentistry costs for uninsured Canadians with a household income under $90,000.

While the CDB only covers children under 12 years of age, the CDCP is currently available for seniors aged 70 and above. The new benefit will soon provide dental coverage for low-income Canadians of all ages.

Am I eligible for the CDCP?

You can claim the CDCP if you meet all of the following conditions:  

  • You do not have any private insurance, employment benefits, or pension benefits providing dental coverage.
  • Your AFNI is less than $90,000.
  • You are a Canadian resident for tax purposes.
  • You filed your T1 Form in the previous year.

You can qualify for the CDCP even if you have dental coverage through a provincial, territorial, or federal government social program. Your coverage amount will be coordinated between the plans to ensure there are no duplications or gaps.

When and how to apply for the Canadian Dental Care Plan

The application window for the CDCP first opened to eligible seniors aged 87 and older in December 2023. In January 2024, the process started for Canadians between 77 and 86 years of age, followed by seniors ages 72 to 77, in February. 

Applications for other age groups will be accepted in staggered phases.


Application start date

Seniors aged 87 and above

December 2023

Seniors aged 77 to 86

January 2024

Seniors aged 72 to 76

February 2024

Seniors aged 70 to 71

March 2024

Seniors aged 65 to 69

May 2024

Adults with a valid disability tax credit certificate

June 2024

Children under the age of 18

June 2024

All remaining eligible Canadian residents

Sometime in 2025

If you are an eligible Canadian who is 72 years old or older, you will have received a letter with a personalized application code and instructions on how to apply.

All you need to do is follow those instructions to apply by phone and wait for Service Canada to inform you whether you qualify for the CDCP. Upon qualifying, you will receive a welcome package from Sun Life—the contracted service provider of the CDCP—explaining how and when you can get your care paid for.

If you will be eligible to apply starting in May 2024, you can do so online.

Will seniors get free dental care in Canada?

If you are an eligible senior with an AFNI of less than $70,000, CDCP will cover 100% of your dental expenses. 

However, you may have to pay an additional amount if your AFNI is between $70,000 and $89,999 and you meet any of the following conditions:

  • Your oral-health provider charges more than the established CDCP fees.
  • You agree to receive services that the CDCP doesn’t cover.

Let’s look at the percentage of the CDCP fees you must pay under different scenarios. 

Adjusted family net income (AFNI)

The amount you will cover

The amount CDCP will cover

Lower than $70,000

0% of CDCP established fees

100% of eligible costs 

$70,000 to $79,999

40% of CDCP established fees

60% of eligible costs 

$80,000 to $89,999

60% of CDCP established fees

40% of eligible costs

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