Pension Life - Summer 2023

Has visiting your dentist become more expensive?

Woman looking at a sheet of paper next to her laptop

If you have noticed your dental costs increasing lately, you might be wondering why. Well, dental associations publish and update their fee guides annually – and each guide contains a list of all the procedures that general practitioners can perform with a suggested fee (or range of fees) for each procedure.

In BC, a new fee guide goes into effect each year on February 1. Last year, the average dental fee increased by 7.35% and the average increase for 2023 sits at almost 6%. Specialists and hygienists also have their own fee guides that are reviewed and adjusted annually.

Keep in mind too that although many dentists base their charges on the BC fee guide, it is not mandatory for them to do so. Dentists may charge over or under the suggested fees at their discretion.

If you are curious about the fees charged by your dentist, you can ask your dental office directly and compare the fee associated with a procedure's specific code with the suggested provincial fee guide. Provinces make the fee guides available at public libraries, and some have abbreviated lists on the dental board's website. You can also call the provincial board itself.

To make dental costs a little more affordable, consider spreading out the frequency of visits and work with your dentist to see what options are available to optimize your dental benefits.

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GreenShield (GSC) provides retired plan members access to optional extended health care and dental coverage. For more information on your plan coverage or online services, please contact GSC directly at 1-888-711-1119.

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