Dentists are governed by the Health Professions Act of BC. Like medical clinics, dental clinics must adhere to strict regulatory standards to ensure a high standard of patient safety and care. Dentists essentially operate mini hospitals and are responsible for a n umber of 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 cost of delivering high quality dental care. The complexity of treatment for each patient also determines treatment fees.
Dentists have to consider all these factors to determining their treatment fees.
What can you do?
Talk to your dentist. Discuss all of your treatment options with your dentist 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 suggested fee guide. Check with your office and ask for an estimate before proceeding with treatment.
Dental specialists receive additional training in a particular field of dentistry. They bring a high level of expertise to treatment provided within their specialty. General practice dentists will refer patients where a specialist's care is required.
Treatment provided within specialty fields is often highly technical and complex. It can involve the use of specialized equipment, materials required for treatment, additional staffing needs and ongoing education. All of these factors are considered by specialists when determining treatment costs.
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 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 over the course of treatment; this can have an influence on cost.
It is important 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 are recommending 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 important to understand that there will be an additional cost associated with this as the second dentist will need to conduct an examination and consult with you to develop treatment options.
Questions you might ask your dentist:
- Why are they recommending the treatment options presented—what is/are the benefit/s to your oral/overall health?
- Are there alternative treatment options available?
- What are the implications of refusing or delaying treatment?
- Is there anything you can change in your mouth care to prevent similar issues in the future?
- What is required on my part to maintain the dental treatment recommended?
In order 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. See also: Can I get an estimate for treatment before going to the dentist?
While dentists are committed to delivering high quality dental care to their patients, dentistry cannot be guaranteed. To guarantee success is considered misleading and is contrary to the College of Dental Surgeons of BC's Code of Ethics.
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; dont smoke.
It is important 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 cost of nglect.
Talk to your dentist.
Discuss all of your treatment options with your dentist 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 suggested fee
guide. Check with your office and ask for an estimate before proceeding