Dental fees in Alberta
The new 2018 dental fee guide is a helpful tool for Albertans, dentists and insurance providers.
Dental fee guide
Dental costs in Alberta are the highest in Canada. Our goal is to bring fees more in line with other provinces in the years ahead.
The Alberta Dental Association and College has released Alberta's first dental fee guide in 20 years. It features recommended fees that are 8.5% lower for the most common dental procedures, when compared with 2016 rates. The guide will help:
- consumers select a dentist
- dentists determine their fees
- insurers set coverage levels
Fee guides increase transparency, which encourages competition and reins in costs over time. In other provinces, the vast majority of dentists align their fees with their province's fee guide.
The 2018 Alberta Dental Fee Guide comes into effect Jan 1, 2018, and will be updated annually.
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:
- a list and description of dental procedures
- codes dentists use to identify procedures
- suggested fees
There will be an adjustment period as both dentists and insurance companies adapt to the guide. Some insured Albertans may pay slightly more out of pocket during this time. To avoid unexpected costs:
- compare your dentist's fees with the dental fee guide
- ask your dentist to send a pre-authorization to your insurance company
- contact your insurance company to find out the amount covered and how much you'll be required to pay
How to choose a dentist
You can ask about the dentist's fees before any dental service is provided. You can contact more than one dentist to ask if they charge according to the fee guide.
As a dental consumer, you have the right to:
- talk to your dentist about the services recommended for you, how much they cost and if they charge according to the fee guide
- request your dentist's rates for specific procedures and compare them with the rates in the dental fee guide
- contact a number of dentists to compare prices
- shop around for services that best meet your needs
When choosing a dentist, consider the following:
- Do you feel comfortable with the dentist?
- Do you have confidence in their abilities and trust they're providing the services you need?
- Does the dentist take time to answer your questions fully and completely?
- Is the dentist willing to explain the procedures you need and what's involved?
- Is the dentist open to discussing fees?
- Are the dentist's location and hours easily accessible for you?
- Was the dentist recommended by others? What was their experience?
Questions you may wish to ask your dentist:
- What dental services do I need and why?
- Are all of these services required at this time, or could some be provided later?
- Do you charge according to the fee guide? If not, what are your fees for the services I need?
- Are there any extra fees for charges such as X-rays or lab tests?
- Do you mind answering questions or providing more information about your services?
Treatment and prevention
Treating and preventing dental problems is an important part of your overall health.
Have a dentist treat problems with your gums and teeth as soon as possible so they don't become more serious.
Untreated dental issues are linked to a number of other health issues, including respiratory disease. Other health issues, such as diabetes, can put you at risk for gum disease.
You can also prevent dental problems by getting regular checkups from your dentist and practising daily oral hygiene.
Dental care options low-income Albertans
Dental services are available for low-income Albertans through government-sponsored supplementary health benefit programs:
- Alberta Child Health Benefit covers health benefits for children up to 18, or children who are 18 or 19 if they live at home and attend high school. To be eligible, families must meet the income guidelines and not be receiving health benefits from other government programs.
- Alberta Adult Health Benefit covers health benefits for Albertans in low-income households who are pregnant or have high ongoing prescription drug needs. You may be eligible if you meet the income criteria and do not receive health benefits from other government programs.
- Dental assistance for seniors covers dental benefits for low- to moderate-income seniors who meet income guidelines. Seniors who have previously applied for seniors benefit or financial assistance programs are already enrolled.
- Income Support covers health benefits for adults and children. Several factors determine your eligibility.
- Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped may cover health benefits for you and your family if you don't have coverage through other government programs.
Low-cost dental care for Albertans who do not qualify for low-income programs may be available through the following organizations:
- University of Alberta School of Dentistry Patient Care Clinics
- Student Health Initiative for the Needs of Edmonton Dentistry Clinic (children)
- Glenrose dental clinic (adults and older adults)
- Health for Two (pregnant and postpartum women)
- Alberta Health Services Dental Clinic - Calgary
- The Alex Health Program - Calgary
- Dental Outreach Program - Red Deer
- Rural dental outreach (High Level, La Crete, McLennan)
- School visit program
Dental fee review
In 2016, a review of dental fees in Alberta found that fees are higher and rising faster than in other jurisdictions across Canada, all of which have a fee guide. Two reports were produced from this review:
For questions or concerns about dental fees or dental services, contact: