British Columbia Dental Fee Guide
What is the British Columbia Dental Fee Guide?
In the province of BC, the British Columbia Dental Association (BCDA) produces a suggested fee guide yearly for over 1,400 specific dental treatments. The fees contained in the guide are only suggestions; BC dentists can choose to follow the guide, or not, as closely as they wish.
Many insurance companies will use the BC dental fee guide to set their coverage amounts.
Note: Dental plan providers do not work with the BCDA to develop the guide.
The BC Dental Fee Guide is updated every year in February. Generally, fees within the guide can go up between 0.23% and 20% annually, with most falling in the increasing range of about 1%-3%.
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:
BC Dental Fee Guide 2020
A print copy of the suggested fee guide can be found in main public libraries (PDF) —this is the same print copy sent to all dentists in BC. The BCDA does not produce an electronic version of the fee guide for the public or its members. If patients have questions about. a specific code, they can inquire with their dentist directly or contact the BCDA 604 736 7202.
Patients are reminded that this document is only a guide, and dentists must not charge the suggested fees outlined.
The fee guide is a very complex document, with more than 1,400 code representing a wide range of dental procedures for preventing and treating oral disease. Due to the guide’s technical nature, patients often require some interpretation of the descriptors to understand the content. Patients are advised to discuss any questions about their recommended treatment options or the cost of treatment with their dentist.
The 2020 Abbreviated General Practitioner’s Suggested Fee Guide (PDF) is intended to provide British Columbians with some information on common dental procedure codes and the suggested fee guide. This is intended for reference only and may not reflect the specifics of your treatment and associated costs.
It is important to note:
Note: One Unit of time = 15 minutes, One-Half Unit = 7 1/2 minutes
+E refers to additional expense for materials; +L refers to commercial or in-house laboratory costs.
What can you do?Talk to your dentist. Discuss all of your treatment options with your dentists and the associated costs before proceeding with treatment.
Ask if your dental office follows the suggested fee guide. A dental office may bill some, or all codes, based on the recommended fee guide. Check with your office to make sure you are clear about your treatment costs before proceeding. Request a written estimate for complex procedures.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Are the Fees Factored?Each year, the BCDA Economics Committee reviews and revises the fees laid out by the prior year’s fee guide. To determine the fee, the committee considers factors such as annual inflation and any labour cost increases. This increase in the fee guide is always a variable rate and never a fixed rate.
For example, the rate increased by only two percent from 2014 to 2015 but went up 4.5 percent from 2016 to 2017. Because of the sweeping differences from year to year, it becomes essential for consumers and dentists to maintain an updated copy of the fee 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.
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.
Do All Dentists Charge the Same Fees?Dentists in British Columbia are not required to charge the fee guide’s fees, as the manual is only intended to provide an idea of what to charge. Each dentist’s office has its own set of costs that determine how much they charge for a particular treatment type.
This can include highly trained and licensed staff, the office’s size, the office’s location, lab fees, and specialized equipment, just to name a few. Dentists’ fees vary, and as small business owners, they find their profit margins to be one of the most significant factors in their service fee structure.
How Can I Be Sure My Dentist Is Charging a Fair Price?You may want to review a copy of the BCDA Fee Guide to determine how your dentist’s fees compare to the suggested fees in the Guide. Keep in mind that a dentist’s fees are left to their discretion; they are not required to use the BCDA Fee Guide fees.
An abbreviated fee guide is available on the BCDA website, while the full hard-copy version of the fee guide is available at major public libraries across British Columbia. The abbreviated fee guide is an easy way to check the suggested fees for the most common dental procedures’ proposed fees. Note that one unit of time is equivalent to 15 minutes, while a half-unit is 7.5 minutes.
After reviewing the fee guide, you should have a fair idea of what prices are like for a given procedure. However, certain areas of the province may be more expensive because of several factors, including living costs. If you’re still having doubts about whether the price of a procedure is fair, you may want to get a second opinion, but there’s still no guarantee of whether higher or lower prices will earn you better or worse service.
Should I Talk to My Dentist About the BCDA Fee Guide?The best way to determine how you’re charged for a procedure is to ask your dentist. Dental offices receive an updated fee guide every year from BCDA, and most dentists will familiarize themselves with its contents when setting prices for a new fiscal year.
However, dentists routinely use this guide as a reference for dental fees, a tool to assist in billing patients’ plans, and a communication guide to discuss various treatment options for a particular ailment.
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 consideration, 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 the cost.
Can I get a second opinion; the cost estimate seems high?It is essential 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 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 important 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 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 frequently asked questions, please refer to the BC Dental Fee Guide FAQ.
A few points to keep in mind
As a dental consumer, you have the right to:
Our Dental Fees
At 24/7 Emergency Dental, our goal is to offer the best service, yet remain competitive by providing fair and reasonable dental fees to our patients and their families. That is why we follow the Latest 2020 British Columbia Dental Association (BCDA) Fee Guide.
At 24/7 Emergency Dental Clinic, we routinely review our dental fees compared to other dental practices within British Columbia and the area. With the release of the 2020 British Columbia Dental Association (BCDA) Fee Guide, 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. These services’ cost varies 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 to evaluate your oral health and your teeth’ condition so that we can provide a more accurate estimate.
At 24/7 Emergency Dental, we feel it is essential 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 particular 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 British Columbia.