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Dental Health

Dental Screening - Community and School Based

Good dental health is an important part of your child’s general health. Dental screening can identify and inform families that their child has a dental concern. Our staff can provide information and support access to the Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) Program for eligible children/youth and families. The screening program supports all families to ensure children/youth with urgent dental concerns receive the necessary treatment. Screening is FREE and available to all children and youth aged 17 or younger. A dental screening is a safe and simple way to identify dental concerns. It is a quick visual look inside the mouth and is not meant to replace an examination by a dentist. Screenings are offered in schools, childcare centers, community settings and SMDHU branch office locations. 

The information collected at each school helps to focus additional public health efforts in areas where children are at greater risk of dental decay. It provides the opportunity to offer a dental screening at no cost for children who normally would not be able to be seen by a dental professional for a variety of reasons. Even if your child visits a dentist regularly, the screening can be helpful to identify dental concerns that may have arisen between regular dental examinations. At the screening, information will be provided to eligible children and families regarding financial assistance through the Healthy Smiles Ontario Program.

School screenings are mandated in accordance with the Ontario Public Health Standards under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (1990) and infection control best practices are followed.

The dental screening is completed by a Public Health Registered Dental Hygienist and a Certified Dental Assistant. The dental hygienist uses a sterile, single use, disposable dental mirror for each individual. The mirror is used to move the cheek or tongue aside to see all tooth surfaces. Each screening takes approximately one minute or less.

Dental Report Cards are sent home with children who are screened to provide parents with information regarding their child’s oral health. If the dental hygienist finds an urgent dental condition in your child’s mouth, you will also receive a Parent Notification Form (PNF). Please respond to the PNF you receive regarding your child’s dental concern. The Health Unit is mandated to follow up on all urgent dental conditions and can assist parents in seeking professional dental care.

 Ontario Healthy Smiles Program - Filled out ExampleOntario Healthy Smiles Program - Filled out Example2Ontario Healthy Smiles Program - Filled out Example3

Click here to view example on how to fill out the Parent Notification Form.
French version here.

Participation in the dental screening program is optional. Each year families with children in elementary schools will receive a letter indicating which grades will participate in the screening for that year. Non-participation requests are only applicable to the current school. If your child changes schools and you are notified regarding a dental screening at the new school, you must make another request for non-participation. Requests must be received at least 2 business days before the screening begins. There is a chance your child may be screened if we do not receive your request by the deadline indicated.

If you do not want your child to have a FREE dental screening, please fill out the School Dental Screening Non-Participation Form or call the health unit’s Dental Screening Program at 705-721-7520 or toll free 1-877-721-7520, extension 8342, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Please do not contact the school to make your request.

Screening Clinics provide dental screening to children/teens who:

·         Were not screened in their elementary school.

·         Are not yet in elementary school (i.e., preschoolers).

·         Missed their elementary school dental screening.

·         Are in high school or out of school and under 18 years of age.

·         Are home taught.

If your child/teen has an urgent dental concern, please do not wait for their school screening. We can help you find out if they are eligible for free dental care through Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO)

Book an appointment at one of the following clinic locations:

  • Barrie - 80 Bradford Street
  • Collingwood
  • Cookstown
  • Gravenhurst
  • Midland
  • Orillia

For more information about dental screening or to make an appointment at a location listed above, please call 705-721-7520 (or toll-free 1-877-721-7520) extension 8804.



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