The dental costs in Alberta are the highest in Canada. A 2016 review of dental fees in Alberta found that costs here are higher, and increase at a higher rate than other provinces (all of which have a fee guide).
In 2019, the Alberta Dental Association & College, which regulates dentists in Alberta, introduced a fee guide to help outline and control the increasing cost of dental services. The Alberta Dental Fee Guide gives the recommended cost for a variety of dental treatments, from dental cleanings to oral surgery.
What is the Alberta Dental Fee Guide?
There are 3 main guides:
- The Abbreviated Guide, which provides a brief overview of prices and services for the general public.
- The General Dentist Guide, which provides a detailed description of prices for general dentistry services like exams and cleanings.
- The Dental Specialist Guide, which provides a detailed description of prices for dental specialties like periodontics and orthodontics.
Why is the Alberta Dental Fee Guide Important?
The Dental Fee Guide helps regulate and control dental prices for all Albertans. For you, that means you can:
- Estimate costs and insurance coverage.
- Compare prices across dental providers.
- Chose the right dental provider for your needs.
If your dentist follows the fee guide, it increases transparency and helps you avoid unexpected dental costs.
Important Notes About the Alberta Dental Fee Guide
The Fee Guide is Not Mandatory
Not all dentists in Alberta follow the fee guide. Some dentists may charge more, while others can even charge less. It’s ultimately up to each individual dental practice whether they choose to follow the guide or not.
The Fee Guide May Not Reflect Your Treatment
Even if your dentist follows the guide, your individual needs and treatment costs may differ. It’s also worth noting that the fee guide is updated on January 1st every year. Make sure that you check:
- If your dentist follows the guide.
- The most up-to-date guide.
- The cost of your individual treatment.
You can always ask your dentist to explain the costs of your services. Most dentists also offer quotes for more involved procedures.
The Cost of Avoiding Treatment
The cost of treatment should never prevent you from getting the dental care you need. Untreated dental issues can progress to more serious problems like gum disease and other health issues. In some cases, avoiding treatment can end up costing more.
Remember that as a dental patient, you have the right to:
- Know how much services cost.
- Contact dentists to compare.
- Choose a dentist based on price.
Your dentist should be willing to discuss fees, answer questions, and explain the cost of your treatment. If not, you can find another dentist who meets your needs.
What to Do If You Can’t Afford Dental Treatment
Many dentists offer dental financing to help you pay for your treatments. Some even offer 0% financing to make sure you can get the treatment you need.
If you can’t afford your treatment, even with financing, the Government of Alberta offers a number of support options for low-income Albertans:
- Alberta Child Health Benefit
- Alberta Adult Health Benefit
- Dental assistance for seniors
- Income Support
- Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped
There are also a number of organizations that provide low-cost or free dental care to those in need.
Don’t let dental fees be the reason you avoid going to the dentist. If you have questions about the cost of your treatment, always talk to your dentist.