News Release Archive

Changes announced today to the children's dental program are
aimed at providing quality, sustainable oral health services for
children, said Health Minister Bernie Boudreau.

"The new Nova Scotia children's oral health program focuses on
oral health promotion, education and prevention for our
children," said Mr. Boudreau. "Private practice dentists will
continue to provide annual exams for children up to their 10th
birthday and, for children who meet the new guidelines, selected
preventive services such as sealants. The program aims to improve
oral health status over time," said Mr. Boudreau.

Changes to the program will take place in two steps. In the first
step, the eligibility age changes to cover children up to age 10
instead of age 12, effective Nov. 1.

In the second step, to begin on Jan. 1, 1997, the specifics of
the new program will be implemented. Some important features of
the new program include:

* continuation of annual examinations for all children up to
  their 10th birthday

* preventative services such as fluoride treatments, will
  continue to be offered to all children up to their 10th
  birthday, but on a targeted basis, based on program guidelines

* sealants, an effective method for disease prevention, are being
  introduced and will be available to all children up to their
  10th birthday, based on program guidelines

* treatment services such as fillings will be provided for only
  the financially disadvantaged, and children with special
  medical or dental conditions. Parents will be asked to sign
  declaration forms in dental offices if their incomes fall below
  a certain level, which varies by family size.

The new program covers the education and prevention components of
the Nova Scotia's public health services dental hygiene program
and the treatment services offered in the MSI children's dental
program, both developed in the 1970's. The Department of Health
developed the new combined program in consultation with the Nova
Scotia Dental Association and the Dalhousie University Faculty of

"Nova Scotians should be proud of this province's continued
commitment to children's dental health in a time when many other
provinces do not have an integrated and comprehensive program, or
even a program that covers an entire province," said Dr. Amid
Ismail, professor and chair of Department of Dental Clinical
Sciences, faculty of dentistry at Dalhousie University. Dr.
Ismail represented the faculty of dentistry on the program review

Restructuring and refocusing the former programs means a more
effective and efficient way of meeting established oral health
goals and an estimated $3 million cost savings annually. Annual
expenditures on this program are estimated at about $7 million.


Contact: Lori MacLean  902-424-5025

trp                  Oct. 01, 1996 - 1:55 p.m.