Good habits start at home, and good habits start young, because old habits die hard. For parents, this means it’s important to get your children using medical services early and often, so that they become accustomed to trips to the doctor, dentist and optometrist before they reach adulthood. The best way of forming these habits is by engaging in them yourself; when your child sees you visiting medical professionals yearly, they’ll begin to learn the importance of taking care of your health subconsciously. Getting a regular physical from your family doctor is easy enough; these physicals are covered by the Government of Manitoba’s health care plan. With other professional, essential health care services, it can be difficult to know where to start, especially if you’re low on funds and you’re not covered by health insurance offered by an employer.
In the world of optometry, it can be a bit difficult to find low-cost eye exams for yourself. There’s always the opportunity to discuss your situation with your optometrist, but Manitoba Health will not cover your eye exam. That said, there’s some great options for your children. Manitoba Health does recognize the importance of regular eye exams for children; proper vision will help children learn better, and regular eye exams can help detect health problems at their earliest stages. In light of this, eye exams for children under the age of 19 are covered by your Manitoba provincial health insurance program; your child may get one such eye exam in Manitoba every 2 years; a great provider like Eyes in the Village would be happy to go over the possibilities with you.
With dentistry, a wide array of other options are available to you. While pediatric dentistry is not covered under your Manitoba health care plan, there is a Fee Guide in place for dental procedures. You may elect to have some dental procedures done, and not others; there are often lower cost alternatives available for a given procedure. Discuss your situation with your Winnipeg dental clinic and see what lower cost services they may be able to provide to you. By discussing what you can afford, what your oral health is like, and what options are available, you’ll be able to find a procedure that suits your needs.
One of the highest costs you might see in dental care is orthodontics, the practice of adjusting your bite with braces, retainers or other devices. Orthodontists in Manitoba appreciate how difficult it can be to pay these costs, and how essential they can be for the development of children. To help meet this challenge, the Canadian Association of Orthodontists (CAO) and the Canadian Foundation for the Advancement of Orthodontists (CFAO) have created Smiles 4 Canada, a program which offers free orthodontics to children whose applications are accepted. There are a limited number of slots each year, and there is a 500$ administrative fee (substantially less than the cost of orthodontics), so apply early; if your child is accepted, a huge burden may be lifted off of your shoulders.