The Canada Dental Benefit* is a national dental care program that will provide benefit payments to cover dental expenses for Canadians with annual household incomes of less than $90,000 and no private dental insurance coverage.

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Why do we need the Canada Dental Benefit?

Did you know that the Medical Services Plan in BC doesn’t cover most procedures related to dental health for the majority of people? Although many Canadians have private dental insurance, some don’t. Some people hesitate to see a dentist due to the cost. The Canada Dental Benefit is a step towards helping Canadians get the dental care they need for good oral health.

When does the program start?

The program is being implemented in stages starting this year, until 2025. This year on December 1, phase 1 will start with children under 12. By 2023, the program will include children under 18, seniors and people living with a disability. By 2025, all uninsured families with an annual household income of less than $90,000 will be eligible.

Who is part of phase 1?

The first phase that is intended to start on December 1 will include children under the age of 12 with an annual family income of less than $90,000, with no private dental insurance. Once the program starts, it will cover dental expenses that were paid retroactive to October 1, 2022. The parents or guardians need to apply for the Canada Dental Benefit through the Canada Revenue Agency.

How much is the benefit?

Depending on your family income and eligibility, you could receive a tax-free benefit payment of up to $650 per child per year. 

If your family’s net annual income is less than $70,000, the maximum amount possible per child per year is $650.
If your family’s net annual income is between $70,000 to $79,999, the maximum amount possible per child per year is $390.
If your family’s net annual income is between $80,000 to $89,999, the maximum amount possible per child per year is $260.

Is the benefit enough to cover all dental work needed?

The cost will depend on various factors.

One factor is whether your child is seeing a general practice dentist or a specialist pediatric dentist. Although all dentists are trained to work with children, pediatric dentists have additional training. A specialist’s fees will be higher compared to general dentists in most cases. If you’re not sure whether your child needs to see a specialist or not and you’re located near the Panorama Ridge and Sullivan Station area in Surrey, you could start by booking an appointment with our dental clinic.  Family dentists Dr. Chow or Dr. Bellusci will examine your child’s teeth and discuss what your child needs, and recommend where it could be done.

Other factors include the age and oral health of your child and they can greatly affect how much their dental care would cost. If you would like a more accurate idea of how much a dental visit in Surrey, B.C. would cost, please feel free to contact us for an estimate.

The Canadian Dental Association recommends that children start going to the dentist when they get their first tooth, or when they’re 1 year old, whichever comes first. For majority of children at this age, the benefit amount would be more than enough to cover the visits twice a year. However, a $260 subsidy is typically enough to cover an older child’s first checkup, X-rays, and cleaning. We encourage you to bring your child to the dentist as soon as possible so that small issues, like cavities, can be caught and managed immediately.

*Please note: This article is our understanding of the program and is not meant to be official advice. For details and the most up to date, accurate information, visit the official CRA website.


Baby teeth can get cavities just like adult teeth. If the cavity becomes big, the tooth can become painful or even infected. If the baby tooth can’t be saved, it may need to be removed. We all know that teeth are necessary for eating, speaking and smiling, but did you know that baby teeth are also space holders for adult teeth? Baby teeth are meant to stay in place, until your child is around 12 years old. If a baby tooth is removed or lost too early, neighbouring teeth may tip into the space. By the time the adult tooth is finally ready to come out, the space may no longer be big enough for it to come out straight. 
Baby teeth hold space for adult teeth

When Should my Child Start Going to the Family Dentist?

In addition to brushing at home, early checkups are important for maintaining the baby teeth. The Canadian Dental Association recommends that your child’s first visit be within 6 months of the first tooth appearing or by age one, whichever comes first. 
The first dental checkup should be soon after their first tooth comes out or by the age of one.


  • Read a children’s book about going to the dentist.
  • Watch an educational video on YouTube about going to the dentist.
  • Bring your child’s favourite stuffed animal or comforting blanket to the visit.
  • Role-play at home using toys as dentists and patients.
  • Bring your child along to your own dentist appointment. This may help your child get used to the dentist environment.
Role play using toys as patient and dentist.


  • A ride in the dental chair
  • A review of the medical and dental history.
  • A checkup of the teeth, gums, and the bite to see if things are developing in the way they should.
  • Depending on the age and cooperation of your child, x-ray images may be taken to check for cavities and dental development.
  • A gentle cleaning to remove plaque, if applicable.
  • Fluoride treatment, if applicable.
  • A review of home care recommendations, along with what habits to watch out for.
  • A meeting with Twinkles, the unicorn dental puppet, to teach your child good brushing and flossing habits.
  • Your child gets a dental care goodie bag and a prize from the treasure chest at the end of the appointment.
The gums, teeth and bite and checked to see if things are developing as they should.


Generally, routine checkups (also known as recall exams) are recommended every 6 months. However, each child is different, so your child’s suggested frequency may vary..
Routie checkups are generally recommended once every 6 months.

Is my child’s visit covered by BC’s Medical Service Plan (Carecard)?

The visit may be covered by MSP if your child is eligible for the Healthy Kids Program. This government-funded program covers up to $2,000 in basic dental services every 2 years for children in low-income families meeting certain criteria. Vivant Dental is pleased to participate in the Healthy Kids Program in an effort to make dental care more accessible in our community. Contact us to find out if your child has active coverage under this program, or visit the Healthy Kids Program on the BC government website to learn more.

Are there other support programs for my child’s dental care?

  • Private insurance: If you have a private insurance policy, such as from your employer, check if you can add your child to your dental plan.
  • Canada Dental Benefit: This is a new nation-wide program starting December 1, 2022 for children under the age of 12 who do not have access to private dental insurance, and whose families are earning less than $90,000 per year . This program is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency. (Related article: The Canada Dental Benefit – Is it for you?)
  • UBC Children’s Dental Program: The Faculty of Dentistry at the University of British Columbia offers free basic dental services to children of low-income families who are not eligible for other government-funded programs. Treatment is provided by dental students during the school year. Visit the UBC Faculty of Dentistry website for more information.
  • Fluoride Varnish Program: Children under the age of 3 who are not under regular care of a dentist can receive a free cavity risk assessment and fluoride varnish application at various Fraser Health Public health units. Visit the Fraser Health website for a location near you.

Who We Are

Dr. Anthony Bellusci and Dr. Vivian Chow are general dentists and owners of Vivant Dental, located in the Panorama area of Surrey, BC. We enjoy working with kids and we strive to create pleasant dental experiences for . If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with us, feel free to contact us. 

SDF, or sodium diamine fluoride is a liquid antimicrobial that is applied at the dental office to stop the progression of small cavities. It is a conservative approach to managing dental decay. When applied to a cavity, it can remineralize, or strengthen the cavitated tooth structure. The procedure only takes a few minutes. It’s quick, and doesn’t require any anesthetic.

Frequently Asked Questions

What situations may SDF be recommended For?

Although we usually manage cavities by removing the decay, and placing fillings, it’s not always possible. These are some situations that may benefit from the use of SDF:

  • for patients with many cavities that can’t be restored right away
  • when there are behavioural, physical, or medical challenges that may prevent getting other dental procedures done
  • when there are barriers to accessing dental care
  • for cavities that are difficult to treat

Can SDF be applied to all cavities?

SDF is used to control early cavities. SDF is not used for very deep cavities that are close to the innermost layer of the tooth (also known as the pulp), or if the tooth is painful. We also avoid using it where esthetics is a concern. 

Are there any side effects?

The main side effect is that SDF leaves a brown or black stain when it is applied to dental decay. However, it doesn’t stain healthy, sound enamel. 

SDF should not be used on patients with silver allergies, or certain gum and soft tissue conditions.

Is SDF the same as THE fluoride that is Typically applied at the end of cleaning appointments?

No, SDF is different from the topical fluoride treatment you routinely get at dental cleaning appointments. The type of fluoride used at hygiene appointments is mainly aimed at preventing future cavities, not arresting existing ones. That type of fluoride does not leave a stain. 

Still have questions?  Contact Vivant Dental in Surrey today.

It’s never too early to think about your baby’s dental health. These tips will answer some commonly asked questions about caring for the teeth of your little one. 

What should I do if there are only a few teeth, or no teeth yet?

Well before the first tooth comes in, you can establish healthy habits by cleaning your child’s gums with a clean, damp cloth. When the first tooth comes in around the age of 6 months, it’s time to start brushing! Caregivers should use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. Simply wet the bristles and gently brush all tooth surfaces and gums at least twice a day. You may find that brushes with bigger handles are easier to hold. The use of fluoridated toothpaste should be discussed with your dentist, and if recommended, the amount should be no bigger than a grain of rice.  

Should I start flossing baby teeth?

Baby teeth usually come out with spaces between them – you only need to floss places where the teeth are touching. This typically happens around the ages of two to three years when most of the baby teeth have come in. Try flossers with handles if you find yourself struggling with traditional floss! Please note that most children don’t have the ability to brush or floss properly until age six. This is your area to shine! While you’re in the mouth, also lift the lip, and check for any discoloured spots or pitting on the teeth that may indicate decay.

When should I bring my child to the dentist?

The Canadian Dental Association recommends the first visit within 6 months of the first tooth coming in, or by the age of one. In addition to eating, baby teeth serve a crucial role as placeholders for adult teeth. If lost early to decay, other teeth may drift into the space and block the adult teeth from coming in straight. This is why regular dental checkups are important throughout childhood.

The dentists and team Vivant Dental in Surrey provide dental care to children. You can download the toothbrushing chart that Drs. Chow and Bellusci have provided during their presentations to children at early learning centres. We invite you and your little one to visit our child-friendly office!

Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dental procedure to lighten the appearance of one’s smile. Professional whitening services are either performed in clinic or prescribed by the dentist for take-home use.

Did you know…

that teeth naturally darken as we age?  Furthermore, certain foods, beverages, medications and habits can contribute to a darker, yellowed, or stained smile.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a Candidate for Teeth Whitening?

You may be a candidate if you are experiencing teeth discolouration, but have healthy teeth and gum structure. Schedule a consultation with our dentists, Dr. Anthony Bellusci and Dr. Vivian Chow, to find out if these procedures are suitable for you. Unfortunately, kids, pregnant or nursing women and those currently treated by a physician for a serious illness are not candidates for whitening.

What Should I Expect When I Get My Teeth Whitened in Office?

Vivant Dental offers Zoom!® in-office teeth whitening. For this method of whitening, Dr. Bellusci or Dr. Chow will first protect your gums, lips and cheeks before applying a whitening agent to your teeth. The agent is activated and left for a set amount of time. Your results will vary according to the natural shade of your teeth and degree of external discoloration.


Our dental team will take impressions of your teeth to make thin, custom upper and lower whitening trays.  Once the trays are ready, we will instruct you on how to safely apply the Opalescence whitening solution in the comfort of your own home. 

What Post-Treatment Care is Recommended after undergoing Teeth Whitening?

Please avoid consuming highly pigmented food and beverages, such as tea, coffee and wine for 48 hours to reduce staining. Some people may experience tooth sensitivity following professional whitening. Consider using the sensitivity relief products recommended at your appointment.

Do you have a toothache or a broken tooth? When toothaches or dental emergencies happen, waiting several days for a dental appointment might not be an option. 

Urgent problems that threaten the health of your teeth or leave you in pain should not be ignored. Some emergencies are extremely painful, so a visit to the local dentist may provide some palliative relief. 

Injuries from Trauma

Vivant Dental is committed to helping you manage sudden injuries that require immediate treatment.

Did you know…

that the steps you take during a dental emergency may improve your outcome? These are some recommendations from the Canadian Dental Association:

  • If you bite your lip or tongue, use a clean cloth to press down on that part of your mouth. Use an ice pack to keep the swelling down. If the bleeding is not controlled, go to the local hospital emergency department right away.
  • If you lose an adult tooth from trauma, put it back in the socket if it looks clean. If this is not possible, or if there’s a chance that the tooth might be swallowed, then place it in cold milk. Visit a dentist right away. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are EMERGENCY appointments ONLY for TRAUMA?

Emergency dental services are not just for those who have sustained dental trauma. If you are experiencing severe dental pain or swelling, contact us. We aim to provide same day appointments for emergencies.  

What can I do to avoid future problems after an Emergency appointment?

Dr. Bellusci and Dr. Chow will make recommendations to manage your specific situation at your visit. Some general advice to protect your teeth are:

  • Avoid chewing hard foods, such as hard candy and ice that may cause your tooth to chip
  • Wear a properly fitted sports guard if you participate in sports and high impact activities. 
  • Attend regular recall check ups and seek preventative care to spot gum and teeth issues before they cause you discomfort.