Albeta Dental Fee Guidelines
What is the Alberta Dental Fee Guide?
Every province and territory in Canada follows their dental fee guide, designed to regulate the price of dentistry. The document includes many dental codes and descriptors related to specific elements of dental treatments to serve as a guide for dentists and dental plan carriers.
The ADA+C stopped publishing a dental fee guide in Alberta in 1997 because it was believed that such a document removed the marketplace’s competitiveness by setting an expectation of price. However, dental costs in Alberta rose to the highest in Canada.
To lower dentistry prices in Alberta and bring them more in line with other provinces, Alberta Dental Fee Guide was reintroduced on January 1st, 2018, by the Alberta Dental Association and is now updated every year.
In addition to regulating costs, the guide will help:
Why is the dental fee guide essential?While dentists are not obligated to follow the dental fee guide
when setting the prices for their services, such a document is essential because it:
How to use the dental fee guide?
The fees in the dental guide are recommended but are not mandatory. Dentists continue to set the fees they charge for services. Some will charge more than the fee guide; some will charge less.
Because dentists charge different prices, you may wish to shop around.
To help you compare, the guide includes:
To avoid unexpected costs:
Understanding Dental Fees
As health care professionals, dentists are focused on providing you with individual care to support your dental and overall health. Understanding how those costs are established and how you can find out about your care cost before treatment will help you make the best decisions for your health.
Dental fees are based on the costs of doing business. These costs include capital costs, rent, dental instruments, staff salaries, equipment, computers, and other materials for dentists. A dental practice in Alberta can be higher than in other provinces; a comparison of dental fees for standard procedures across the regions shows that some procedures are more expensive while some are less.
Dental benefits provided by dental plan companies have not kept pace. Even if the description of benefit coverage indicates 100% coverage of dental fees, insurers often set a maximum reimbursement that is lower than the actual cost. Any difference is paid for by the patient.
Dental services are highly individualized, and the cost may vary from person to person. For example, cleaning the teeth of a person who eats healthy foods, brushes and flosses after every meal or snack will not take as long as cleaning the teeth of a person who smokes and is not as diligent in brushing. Someone needing a crown may also require periodontal (gum), endodontic (root canal) and/or restorative (filling) treatment before proceeding with the crown.
If you do not understand or are unclear about your proposed treatment or costs, make sure to ask your dentist.
What is the 2020 Alberta Dental Fee Guide?
The 2020 Alberta Dental Fee Guides come into effect January 1, 2020, and is an optional fee structure established by the ADA&C as a suggested fee guide for dentists in Alberta to follow.
Many dental plan carriers will base their plan coverage on fees and codes within the 2020 Alberta Dental Fee Guide; therefore if you have dental insurance, your payments for dental care should not exceed the recommended cost. This helps make dental care affordable and minimizes any additional out-of-pocket expenses patients may incur.
The guidelines suggested dentists could follow the a list of the protocol in order to eliminate the possibility of patient misunderstandings regarding the fees for dental treatment.
The suggested protocol is:
Perform a thorough oral examination for the patient.
Explain, carefully, the particular problems encountered in this patient's mouth.
Describe your treatment plan and prognosis in a manner, which the patient can
fully understand. Assure yourself that the patient has understood the presentation.
Present your fee for treatment before the commencement of treatment.
Arrange financial commitments in such a manner that the patient understands their
If there is any question as to why this fee must be charged ... explain at this time.
Describe, explain and note any conditions which may require an additional fee.
For the patient who requires a removable prosthetic service, two pertinent points must be emphasized:
1. The length of time that adjustments will be provided, at no additional fee; and
2. Whether or not the initial price includes the cost of necessary relines.
h. In all areas of treatment, the price you charge should be based on the skill, judgment
and experience, which you have attained, and on the degree to which these are
applied in the treatment of your patient.
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is a Fee Guide?
The Alberta Dental Association & College (ADA&C) produces an annual suggested fee guide for dentists in Alberta. This document outlines over 1,600 dental codes and code descriptors related to specific elements of dental treatment. It also provides proposed fees that serve as a guide only; dentists are not required to follow the guide or any fee schedule.
Many dental plan carriers will base plan coverage on fees and codes within this guide. In some cases, the coverage depends on previous year's guides (going back a year or more). Note: Dental plan providers do not work with the ADA&C to develop the guide.
Are dentists required to follow the provincial fee guide?
No. While many dentists will follow some fees within the guide; there is no requirement to do so. Dental offices consider several variables when determining costs for their office. A dental office may bill some, or all codes, based on the suggested fee guide. Check with your office and ask for an estimate before proceeding with treatment.
Why does my dentist charge more than the provincial fee guide?
There is no requirement for dentists to charge the suggested fees outlined in the dental fee guides. Dentists determine costs for their office based on the factors influencing their practice.
How are dental fees determined?
The Health Professions Act governs dentists. Like hospitals, dental clinics must adhere to strict regulatory standards to ensure a high patient safety and care standard. Dentists essentially operate mini hospitals and are responsible for several costs related to providing dental care.
Specialized equipment; approved materials; sterilization and safety protocols; trained and licensed professional staff; external laboratory fees, and practice location factor into the overhead costs of running a dental practice. The complexity of treatment for each patient also determines treatment fees.
Dentists have to consider all of these factors in determining their treatment fees.
Is there anything I can do to limit the cost of dental care?
Regardless of the fees charged for specific procedures, regular preventative dental hygiene cleaning is still the best way to maintain good dental health in the long run.
Patients can reduce their hygiene appointment costs by practising good dental health habits at home: brush and floss daily; limit sugary drinks and snacks; do not smoke.
It is essential to diagnose problems before they become more complex and costly. Dental disease is progressive, and unlike a cold, will not resolve itself. The cost of prevention is always far less than the price of neglect.
Can I get an estimate for treatment before going to the dentist?
Treatment recommendations are developed by the dentist, beginning with an examination of the mouth. The dentist will examine the patient, review their health history, and discuss any symptoms or concerns the patient may be experiencing. If your dentist identifies an issue in your mouth, they will discuss this with you,, along with their treatment recommendations.
Depending on the treatment options presented, further discussions related to materials, the extent of the care required, whether or not laboratory fees factor into that care, etc. can influence the estimate. Your dentist can work with you to review treatment alternatives and provide a cost estimate for the treatment plan before proceeding. Note: A dentist can only provide an estimate. As with any medical-based procedure, treatment planning can change throughout treatment; this can influence cost.
Can I get a second opinion; the cost estimate seems high?
It is crucial that you feel comfortable in proceeding with any dental treatment. Your dentist is there to support your health and answer any questions you may have, including why they recommend the treatment presented and/or any related to cost.
If you are concerned with any factors relating to a proposed treatment plan, you are welcome to seek a second opinion. It is essential to understand that there will be an additional cost associated with this. The second dentist will need to conduct an examination and consult with you to develop treatment options.
Why can't a dentist provide a second opinion without an examination?
To provide an opinion related to dental care, a dentist must understand all the factors that are influencing a patient's health. A crucial part of this is an examination of the mouth to identify and diagnose any dental disease.
For more fewquesntly asked question please refer to the Alberta Dental Fee Guide FAQ
A few points to keep in mindAs a dental consumer, you have the right to:
Questions you may wish to ask your dentist:
Our Dental Fees
At 24/7 Emergency Dental, it is always our goal to offer the best service, yet remain competitive by offering fair and reasonable dental fees to our patients and their families. That is why we follow the Latest 2020 Alberta Dental Association Fee Guide.
At 24/7 Emergency Dental Clinic, we routinely review our dental fees compared to other dental practices within Calgary and area. With the release of the 2020 Alberta Dental Fee Guide by the Alberta Dental Association, we are completely open with our clients about our dental fees and how they compare to the NEW fee guide.
Please be aware, that not all procedures are listed as professional fees.
The cost for these services vary based on the associated lab costs and depends upon the complexity of the treatment required. We encourage you to call our office to arrange a visit with one of our dentists in order to evaluate your oral health and the condition of your teeth so that we can provide a more accurate estimate.
At 24/7 Emergency Dental, we feel it is important that you understand your own specific dental insurance policy. Also, we ask that you are aware that not all procedures are necessarily covered based on your own specific dental insurance coverage. Our Dental Administration Team is here to help you understand and get the most from your insurance coverage! Please contact us with any questions you may have about our services or dental fees in Alberta.