Dentist Prices in Canada are from Dental Fee Guides

Posted by Dr. Joanne Baldos and Dr. Adam Szymczak on Mar 5, 2020 8:51:00 PM

Dental Fee Guides Determine Dentist Prices in Canada

Online resources for Dentist Prices and Dental Fee Guides are Confusing! You can spend hours on the internet researching and still not be able to apply the information to help you find affordable dental care.


This 5 minute read organizes the information regarding Dentist Prices and Dental Fee Guides in a way that will help you save time and money at the dentist.


1. Dentist Prices in Canada = Provincial Dental Association Fee Guide1. Dentist Prices in Canada = Provincial Dental Association Fee Guide

Each Province and Territory in Canada has a Dental Association. One of the functions of each of these Dental Associations is to give guidance to dentists about dentist prices by publishing Dentist Fee Guides:

  • Ontario Dental Association Fee Guide by the Ontario Dental Association
  • Quebec Dental Fee Guide by Association des Chirurgiens Dentistes du Québec
  • BC Dental Fee Guide by the British Columbia Dental Association
  • Alberta Dental Fee Guide by the Alberta Dental Association and College
  • Manitoba Dental Fee Guide by the Manitoba Dental Association
  • Saskatchewan Dental Fee Guide by the College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan
  • Nova Scotia Dental Fee Guide by the Nova Scotia Dental Association
  • New Brunswick Dental Fee Guide by the New Brunswick Dental Society
  • Newfoundland Dental Fee Guide by the Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association
  • PEI Dental Fee Guide by the Dental Association of Prince Edward Island
  • Northwest Territories & Nunavut Dental Association Fee Guide
  • Yukon Dental Association Fee Guide

ALL dental fee guides in Canada are the SAME:

      • each dental procedure is identified by a “dental code” which is a 5 digit number
      • dental procedure codes are the same throughout Canada!
      • the fee guides are updated annually by each provincial dental association
      • many dental treatments are a combination of multiple dental codes


Each provincial dental association says that the dentist prices listed in their fee guide are ONLY suggested dentist fees and that these fees are not obligatory, but in reality, almost all dentists follow their provincial fee guide because dental insurance companies pay the dentist price listed in the fee guide. That means:

      • dentist prices Toronto = dentist prices Ontario
      • dentist prices Calgary = dental prices Alberta = dentist prices Edmonton
      • dentist prices Vancouver = dentist prices BC
      • dentist prices Montreal = Quebec dental fee guide


Dentist prices differ between different provinces. This is the only significant and relevant difference between the dental fee guides of the different provinces.



2. Finding Dentist Prices and Dental Fee Guides in your Province:

2. Finding Dentist Prices and Dental Fee Guides in your Province:

Alberta Dental Association and College is the only provincial dental association to publish their ENTIRE fee guide online: Alberta Dental Fee Guide.

There is also an Abbreviated Alberta Dental Fee Guide online.

Alberta has also published a Specialist Dental Fee Guide online.


An Abbreviated BC Dental Fee Guide is available online.


An Abbreviated Nova Scotia Dental Fee Guide is also available online.


The Ontario Dental Association Fee Guide is NOT available online.

If you dig deep enough on the internet for the Ontario Dentist Fee Guide, you will eventually come across dental fee guides that are unlikely to be relevant to you such as Suggested Fee Guide for Dental Hygienists (Dental Fee Guide for independent hygienists) or Social Services Dental Fee Guide ( dental fee guide for free dental care).


None of the other Provincial Dental Fee Guides are available online.


When you Google "Dentist Prices" you have to sort out the information that Google gives you and make sure that you are getting information from your local area.



3. Dentist Prices and Dental Costs are NOT the same THINGS!


A dental fee guide is like a menu in a restaurant. At a restaurant, you have each of the food items listed with the price. In a dental fee guide, you have each dental procedure listed with the dentist price.


However, in a restaurant, you are in control of your total cost for the meal as you are the one ordering the food. At a dental office, it is the dentist that is recommending what should be done and hence the total dental cost of your dental visits does not depend on dentist prices, it depends on how aggressive your dentist is. 50% of dental work performed is unnecessary!


Knowing dentist prices can save you about 10% on your total dental costs.


Knowing the difference between dentist prices and dental costs will save you about 50% off your total dental costs!



4. Many Dental Treatments are a Combination of Multiple Dental Codes


Knowing a dentist price for a specific dental code takes you only part of the way towards knowing your total dental cost for a specific dental appointment.


For example,

ROOT CANAL PRICE is NEVER the whole root canal cost as you will also need a filling (extra cost) and possibly a post and/or a crown.


The price of a WISDOM TEETH REMOVAL is NEVER the whole Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost as you will first need a consultation and a specialized X-ray ( at an extra cost) and possibly sedation as well.






Do dentists charge different prices?

In Canada, dentist prices do not differ much from dentist to dentist, however, your dental costs will vary greatly depending on which dentist you see because many dentists recommend procedures that you do NOT need!  Almost all dentists within any given province follow their provincial dental fee guide for procedures that are typically covered by insurance, but the number and the extent of the procedures you will have done depends on who your dentist is!



Can a dentist charge more than the amount allowed by insurance?

Dentists independently set their own fees, as such they can charge more than the amount allowed by insurance. Almost all dentists follow their provincial dental fee guide, if a dentist intends to charge fees that are above the fees listed in the guide he/she must tell the patient first.



How do you tell if a dentist is ripping you off?

The biggest dentist scam is unnecessary dental work. Avoid getting ripped off by taking the time to choose a dentist that puts your best interests first before his/her own best interests. Avoid getting ripped off by learning which dental procedures are not necessary. No matter who your dentist is, no matter what the recommended procedure, always ask: 1. What happens if I do nothing? 2. Are there simpler options? 3. What are the costs and risks of the dental procedure? Avoid getting ripped off by getting a second opinion.



Do small cavities need to be filled?

NO! A tooth cavity that has not progressed beyond enamel ( the first layer of a tooth) can re-harden with improved oral hygiene and exposure to Fluoride. A re-hardened cavity is stronger than the original healthy tooth structure!



How expensive is dental care?

On average, a Canadian will spend $639 a year at the dentist. Prices vary between provinces. Dental costs vary greatly from dentist to dentist: there is an 8 times difference between the least ($193/ year) and most expensive ($1650/ year) dental clinic! Choose your dentist carefully!



Can you negotiate with a dentist?

YES, you can. However, there are better ways to make sure you are getting your money’s worth. Make sure that you are not getting ripped off by being recommended unnecessary dental work.



Can't afford a dentist what can I do?

You should take the following steps:

  1. Do you qualify for free dental care? Every province and territory in Canada and every state in the United States have free dental care programs provided by governments, see if you qualify.
  2. Dental schools have discounted dentist prices. Look for a dental school near you and have dental students perform the work at a reduced fee.
  3. Look for an affordable dentist near you. Do NOT look for a “discount dentist near you”, you will end up paying MORE!

In the best interest of your health and well-being,

Dr. Joanne Baldos and Dr. Adam Szymczak

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