Why is Dental Care So Expensive in Canada?

Dentists in Canada face a number of expenses that contribute to the high cost of dental care. From rent and payroll to taxes and technology, the costs of running a dental practice can add up quickly. Patients can make visits more affordable by distributing the frequency of visits, contacting dentists in neighborhoods with lower prices, discussing alternative treatment plans with the dentist, and negotiating lower prices. Unfortunately, dental care is not covered by the Health Act in Canada, so individuals must pay out of pocket unless they have private or employer-provided insurance. In addition to overhead costs, dentists must also pay for surgical tools, materials, and medications used in dentistry.

This includes local anesthesia and other treatments. Dentists also have to pay laboratories for technical work on dentures and crowns. Insurance companies force dentists to accept extremely low reimbursement rates for services like cleanings and fillings, which adds to the cost of dental care. Mitch Taillon from Saskatchewan notes that cost is a factor for some patients, but that they often prioritize other factors such as comfort with the dentist, technology, convenient hours, and location. Drummond believes that most dentists charge a little more or less than the provincial rate guide, which lists recommended prices for thousands of procedures. The incoming president of the Canadian Dental Association states that dentists are not required to respect provincial rate guidelines.

This means that even in an emergency situation, individuals must pay out of pocket for dental care. Most dental offices are small independent companies run by the dentist himself, a model that hasn't changed in 50 years. So why is it so expensive? Why isn't dental care part of the universal health system? How do Canadians pay for dental care? These are all questions we must consider when looking at why dental care is so expensive in Canada. The Ontario Dental Association states that dentistry is not a basic product and treatments must be specific to each patient and be the result of an examination and diagnosis. Barry Dolman from the Quebec Order of Dentists notes that most dentists are willing to help patients with limited resources and without insurance find affordable treatment options. It's important to remember that it's difficult to buy a dentist based on fees because most people struggle to understand the costs among the thousands of codes contained in provincial rate guides.

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