N.L. takes bite out of denture expenses by boosting budget

A denturist works on a set of fake teeth.
The maximum payable amount per standard denture is now $900 in Newfoundland and Labrador, an increase of $150. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Health Department has increased the budget and the maximum payable amount in its adult denture program.

The changes, announced Wednesday, take effect immediately, with a 20 per cent increase to the dentures budget, from $700,000 to $840,000.

In a statement, the department called it a recognition of the importance of good oral health for a person’s self-esteem and overall health.

Further increases were added to the maximum payable amount, which is now $900 instead of $750 per standard denture.

Partial dentures got an increase to $600 from $503.

The maximum annual cap increase has gone from $1,500 to $1,800. 

The provincial adult denture program was implemented in January 2012, with last change to fees happening in 2015. 

In an email to CBC News, the Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association said the increases help maintain the sustainability of the program, not only for patients but also for dental professionals and the government.

“People’s oral health is crucial to their overall health so we are always in support of increases to access to care for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” says the statement.

The Health Department said there have been significant cost increases for providing dentures since, with no reciprocal increase.

Changes requested by denturists’ association

The Denturist Association of Newfoundland and Labrador requested the increase in the denture budget to allow an increase of maximum payable amount for dentures. The dental association said it supported that request from Day 1.

“There hasn’t been an increase in a number of years … so it was time that it had to be re-evaluated and the government did so,” says the statement.

Only people between 19 and 65 years old who are on income support are eligible for denture coverage under the adult denture program.

Dental service providers who participate in the program bill government directly, eliminating upfront costs for those who are financially vulnerable.

“The government and oral health professionals benefit because this increases access to care, and that is our ultimate goal,” wrote the NLDA. 

The program provides coverage for basic dental services and denture services for adults covered under the foundation division of the Newfoundland and Labrador prescription drug plan. 

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