Province announces dental fee changes

By Scott Roblin
November 22, 2017 - 12:03pm Updated: November 22, 2017 - 7:06pm

 

EDMONTON, AB — Changes are coming to Alberta’s Dental Fee Guide.

Health Minister Sarah Hoffman making the announcement in Edmonton Wednesday morning. The guide, developed in collaboration with the Alberta Dental Association and College, suggests an 8.5 per cent drop in prices for 60 common dental procedures.

“I’ve heard from seniors and parents worried about creeping costs and the affordability of dental care,” Hoffman said in a news release. “We’ve partnered with the Alberta Dental Association and College to make sure dental health is affordable and transparent in this province.”

“The Alberta Dental Association and College is committed to ensuring Albertans have uninterrupted access to high-quality dental care at fair prices,” We believe this latest fee guide is one more step in that commitment.”

The province has not had a dental fee guide for more than two decades, and a review last year found Albertans paid more than other provinces for certain dental procedures.

Dr. Chris Baba is a dentist at Sun City Dental in Medicine Hat and said this move will likely have an impact on wages for dentists across the province.

“We have to be able to operate a business,” said Baba. “And, there's no question that wages and salaries are the most expensive part of our business. So, something has to give, my expectation is that wages just will not go up a lot in the future.”

 

The fee guide goes into effect on New Year’s Day, and allows Albertans to have a conversation with their dentists about the costs of dental services.

While dentists are not obligated to follow the guide, other provinces have seen a majority of dentists align with the dental fee guides.

Baba said he supports the guide being voluntary, but added he expects most dental practices to follow the outline with more competition potentially on the way.

“I think it would be very difficult for a government to come in and set prices for any professional,” he said. “An accountant, a carpenter, any other health profession, I think that would be difficult for them to do. So, it is important that it is voluntary, but I think it does put pressure on dentists to come close to, if not follow, that fee guide directly.”

The guide can be viewed here. 

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