Dental bills sharpen their teeth

You can now add ‘higher prices’ to the list of reasons to put off your next visit to the dentist, alongside ‘awkward small talk’ and ‘pointy tools.’ 

What happened: Provincial dental associations have increased prices by an average of 5.99% in their dental fee guides, which help dentists determine how to price their services. 

  • It’s the second straight year of hikes well above the typical 3-4% that was seen from 2017 to 2021. Last year, the average fee increase was even higher, hitting 7.35%. 

Why it’s happening: “Dentistry in Canada is facing a significant and unprecedented labour crisis,” Elliot Pobjoy, founder of dental newsletter Morning Floss told The Peak. The labour shortage has driven compensation up, a cost now being borne out by price increases. 

  • Inflationary pressures have also been a root canal-sized pain for dentists as they pay more for rent, utilities, equipment, and stringent infection prevention measures. 

Zoom out: The hikes coincide with the roll-out of the Canada Dental Benefit, which expands dental coverage for lower-income Canadians and could lead to a surge in visits

  • Pobjoy says there’s no link between the benefit and the hikes, as governments “determine their own reimbursement rates, often much lower than fee guidelines.”

Why it matters: The price of your next dentist visit could cost more after these changes. Though most Canadians have dental coverage, look out for those out-of-pocket costs.—QH