Breaking down the costs behind dental checkups

Breaking down the costs behind dental checkups

Authored by Minahil Syed


It isn’t a secret that dental care is expensive. However, avoiding going only exacerbates present issues and can lead to worsening general health! It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, the longer you hold out on your dental visit, the more expensive the entire process can become. Instead of ignoring the cure to your problems, let’s explore why dental work may be expensive and what research you can individually do to mitigate the risks and high prices while still getting hold of an affordable procedure!


A standard setting of a Dental Clinic

The Reason Dental Work is so Expensive is because…


Large overhead costs: Various professionals quote that approximately 60–80% of a patient’s payment simply goes towards maintaining their dental practice. For instance, dentists are responsible for payments on the office space being rented, payroll for other workers (e.g. receptionists, hygienists, etc.), buying and maintaining technology, supplies, and business insurance.


Difference in quality of service and labs: Quality dental technology is imperative in order to ensure that prescriptions, appliances, and prostheses are in exceptional condition. Hence, the success of the dentist is directly contingent upon the dental technician.


The factors that differentiate the value and condition of the products produced are materials used, craftsmanship level, and experience. The reason that your dental care is so expensive could simply be because your doctor is servicing products (e.g. crowns, dentures, implants) from a high-quality lab, and so, his fees are higher than other dentists within the same geographic area.


Insurance isn’t much of a help: Unlike regular health insurance that has the potential to cover the cost of entire operations, check-ups, and/or prescriptions, dental insurance barely covers cleaning, x-rays, crowns, and fillings. It is not a protective measure that can adequately subsidize dental care.


If anything, it scarcely assists with cost assistance, and thus, most payments towards your dentist will be paid out of pocket. The main reason for delaying dental care is that routine procedures — such as filling a chipped tooth or cavity — can push an individual back a couple hundred! A root canal alone can drown a patient in thousands of debt.


Ensuring Patient Satisfaction and Determining Final Fees


In essence, various factors are involved in determining what patient fees will become. In addition to the aforementioned variables, the judgement, experience, and technical knowledge of the doctor are vital in ensuring patient satisfaction. Estimated length of the treatment, it’s complexity, and the geographical location of the clinic/dentist are oft ignored factors but important when evaluating the time and skill that must be involved in provision of treatment.

How are Dental Fees Regulated in Ontario?


Although the profession of dentistry is itself regulated under the ‘Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario’ (RCDSO), dental fees in Ontario are rather malleable. The fees are, in essence, influenced by the Ontario Dental Association’s ‘Suggested Fee Guide’.


The guide lists every service that your dentist can do, alongside the fees for each, but your dentist doesn’t necessarily need to charge based on these suggestions. Every procedure, appliance used, or exam has a specific code associated with it, this is the ‘dental code’. The dental code denotes a service and conversely carries an attached fee. These rates suffice as minimum standards and provide the most affordable and ‘basic’ rate for every service that your dentist can perform.


Fee guides update annually, and a patient’s insurance plan will often state that it will cover for their services in reference to the year’s fee guide. Hence, from the amount your dentist charges you, only the suggested amount from the fee guide will be covered.


For instance, if an adult patient is getting an exam, their fee (contingent on whether their dentition is permanent or mixed) should be between $112 and $157. If their dentition is permanent, the suggested rate as per the fee guide is $157, if the dentist charges $185, the patient will have to pay $28 out of pocket.

Delivering and Ensuring Standards Are Met!


In essence, it could be stated that dental clinics can only continue to adhere to their strict standards to ensure patient safety and provide the utmost level of care if they upkeep their specialized equipment, trained and licensed staff, properly sterilized materials, and external laboratory fees. It is the ability to deliver high level care that determines patient fees.


Authored by Minahil Syed



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