Stories from Ontario Adults experiencing difficulty accessing dental care


I’m a 29 year old mother of two girls. I stayed at home raising them for the last 8 years raising them and am currently looking for work as my husband is now on lay off and trying to go back to school to get ahead. But it’s not easy to get hired anywhere when you have no work experience in an 8 year period of your resume. During the first of my pregnancies (2 within a 2 year period) my teeth became very weak, the enamel began to wear down and I had my 3rd cavity pop up, but for the first time since I had one filled as a teenager I had no dental benefits, and had a baby and another on the way that we were financially struggling to provide for already. I just simply couldn’t afford even the $200 to fix it at the time. During the next year cavities began to just pop up constantly, pieces of my teeth started to fall apart. And my self-confidence began to die a slow death.

My husband has always worked as a Welder in Factories around our town and surrounding areas but the bigger places he’d get into with benefits, would lay him off most times just as they would’ve been put to use. Smaller factories don’t usually even offer them. And so he tried to start his own contracting business to get ahead but work like that depends a lot on the weather, and what’s available… not exactly a bi weekly paycheck deal. Which again meant no benefits. Eventually he realized he needed both medical and dental benefits. So he found a factory (the one he’s laid off from now anyways!) finally that paid alright, had medical benefits, eye care benefits..but the dental benefits..were different..the rest was all covered with cards through companies..the dental benefits were you got the work done, paid your dentist, and then they would reimburse you..on your next paycheck (that’s two weeks later!). Again though, with me struggling to deal with my kids as he worked nightshift and had to sleep still so he was home and awakes maybe an hour a day, I was trying to find a job something with even minimal benefits to help. We tried to move to another city the one where his factory was and be Superintendents of a Building, juggling his work and kids with building chores.

As much as we LOVED the work itself AND the building the owners are notorious in the area for being unreasonable and disrespectful to their employees. Unfortunately because we didn’t know anybody in the area, we didn’t know that until after the move blew up with their crazy demands and fighting between the owners. So we came back to my small home town which I LOVE and would LOVE to raise my kids in. But I literally hand resumes out, and hear nothing back. Or get an interview and once I meet the person doing the hiring..I feel embarassed of my teeth..and try to be discreet and avoid someone seeing them as I talk. I am so utterly embarrassed and horrified by my own mouth that I cry myself to sleep about it some nights. There is literally nothing I can do about it either. Not now. Not until all of my own teeth will just have to be ripped out and get dentures. At not even 30, that’s depressing. I brush my teeth twice a day..I floss, I use mouth wash. I am so utterly on top of my daughters doing the same right when they get up and ALWAYS before bed, and yet they’ve had issues as well. I don’t know if certain people just have weaker teeth more prone to cavities or what but I felt so bad for them…and like a failure as a mother..when I am literally like a broken record telling them to brush first thing in the morning..and checking before bed. They though, I found a program for, took them to the dentist and had them seen; now they’ve had their dental work done and their teeth don’t hurt anymore. But they still have to have silver fillings, as even white ones weren’t available through the basic costs of the program. But there are NO programs for Grown Ups. You can get basic extraction through Ontario Works in an emergency, but they won’t even cover the cost of filling to prevent the extraction? What kind of system is that? Not only that..I believe that Dentists make ALOT of money. I’ve never personally heard of a single BROKE dentist. Heck honestly not even a broke dental hygienist have I ever met. Clearly its not as if they are hurting for money. I just don’t understand how they can’t absorb the risk to let certain people make payments..barter..ask the Gov’t for some funding to cover the costs through a program of some sorts.

I have tried applying to dental colleges around my area to see if they would accept patients.. but I am SO scared of dentists to begin with that even if they did offer me a spot..I’m afraid I’d be terrified to go, not to mention I don’t drive myself and if you miss even ONE appt in the process you are dropped as a patient..which is a BIG hassle to get back and forth by paying rides when I am still looking for work..in a mostly dead town for retail (the only work experience I do have!) work and only factories. So many times in my life since I was 18 (when this all started) have I wished I still had my beautiful smile. That I didn’t have to keep my mouth CLOSED to be pretty. That I wasn’t disgusting, repulsive, and abnormal. None of my friends understand what I am going through.

My husband still says he loves me, but I don’t understand how anyone could love someone who’s mouth is as broken and gross as mine. When I see other people, with straight perfect white teeth..it literally makes me feel SO ashamed of myself and jealous of their teeth intensely. I want that. I want people to look at my teeth, my smile like they used to, like it just made me beautiful. I haven’t felt like that in so long..it makes me so sad to think that before 30 years old, I have teeth that are this bad. I can find NO dentist in my area willing to let me make payments, nor do I have extra money to get anything done while I have to start looking into braces for both of my daughters already coming up. I am curious as to if they are ANY non profit dentists..any situations where the care could be covered? I know dentists use pictures in their offices..before and after ones..anything at this point that could help me find a solution.

I want to feel pretty. I want to have NO pain. I want to eat FOOD again..REAL food without it hurting!! I don’t want to start a new decade of my life feeling like a dirty failure. I want a new beginning, the confidence to go out and get my job, maybe go back to school and get my diploma since I wouldn’t feel embarrassed interacting in a class situation because of my teeth, my husband to look at me the same way he did when he met me!




Video – My Life Without Dental Insurance








I am 22 years of age with no privileged upbringing or post-secondary education. I have no criminal record.
I work in the hospitality industry and support myself.
According to my dentist, I have softer enamel and thicker saliva, which means I am more-so prone to cavity and infection and everything bad that has to do with oral health, on top of having multiple concerns that I can’t afford to deal with..

I have applied for Ontario Works and will not likely get any financial aid for my oral health; I do not make enough to pay for what I need in terms of oral health treatment.

When I search online for Financial aid regarding oral health-care all I can come up with is Ontario Works (but not for me) and everything under the sun that helps children.

Do you have any information that can help me? Can you possibly refer me to somebody or any organization?

I know I will lose all of my teeth before I turn 40.. I don’t want to live with infection and sickness until then. I am desperate.

Any information you can give me will be very much appreciated. Thank you so much for your time!
I was on your website and didn’t see anything that would specifically help me in my situation and was hoping you could help me somehow.

I have terribly soft teeth, even with proper oral hygiene my teeth decay. 9 years ago right after my senior year of high school during the summer I was raped by a co-worker. My plan was to take a year to work to save up for higher education but I got pregnant as a result of that rape. I lost the pregnancy a few weeks later but the trauma left me unable to work. Years ago I received a compensation check from criminal injuries compensation board because I was unable to work,we used it to pay off debts, some dental related. I outgrew my parent’s dental coverage a year after high school because I wasn’t in school. Around the same time I did get married but up until a year ago my husband’s insurance didn’t include dental. I briefly went back to work part time about 6 years ago and we started to put out the major dental fires as we could afford them which wasn’t often. 4 years ago I was having trouble with work and had to leave due to medical issues, I’ve since been diagnosed with several medical conditions which should in theory make me eligible for Ontario Work and disability income but I have been denied because my husband makes what they consider to be too much and we own a house, apparently you can’t own and be on disability. When my husband got dental insurance just over a year ago I was in as soon as possible fixing as much as we could within the yearly limits and then some out of pocket. Right now I am missing at least 4 molars that had to be pulled, another 2 molars need to come out and possibly a 3rd as well. The front half is in no better shape, I lost 1 tooth that cracked at the gum line, another one is going to be in the same state, I saw the dentist today who tried to do a root canal but stopped seeing the crack in the tooth. Those will need implants done. 75% of the remaining teeth I haven’t mentioned need fillings or will face the same problem of cracking or needing to be pulled. At this point I am resigned to the fact that my back teeth aren’t going to be able to be saved and I will have to wait till one day I can replace 1 a year with implants and the crown a year later assuming we can pull together that money somehow. I just want to save my front teeth, retain a smile that isn’t gaps all over. Please what can I do and where can I turn for help? I am in near constant pain from one tooth or another treating it with antibiotics as it gets infected to try to manage. I need help.



My boyfriend is 22 years old, and has not seen a dentist since he was 15. Therefore, over the past seven years, his teeth have developed many issues. He has enormous cavities that cause him pain and discomfort daily. It has gotten to the point where he isn’t able to eat certain foods as they hurt his teeth too much.

At this rate, I am seriously worried about his health. He works predominantly as a part time employee. Being a part time employee, health/dental benefits are not offered to him, except for a hefty price every month that he cannot afford.

Therefore, I was just wondering if there are any options available to him. It’s very frustrating knowing his teeth need to be fixed as they are only getting worse, yet, there is nothing we can do because we simply cannot afford it. Any kind of information you could offer would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,


Good morning. I’ve been dealing with oral pain for about three years. Dental care is so expensive me and my husband cannot afford three hundred dollar visits on one income. We have a two year old son I stay home to take care of him, because if I was to work, child care would be what I would make and gas. My husband has teeth breaking and he has a life history of bad health from a small child, and he needs help with extractions and dentures. I think it is really sad that my parents gave there life to Canadian AIR Force, 31year’s they served. They could hardly afford densest but they did the best they could. I in a way went without my parents so this world could become better and now when I need a little help to fix my teeth I can’t even get it. My husband works 60 hour weeks and makes about $48,000 per year to support our family. I asked for social assistance for dentist I even asked if I could pay it back and I was turned down. I need a test for my learning disability but can’t get help with that either.. please help me and my family. My family gave there all to you and the lease Canada can do now is help their own before Iraq my dad spent lots of time away from our family I moved all over, I have a mother with pdsd