Alberta’s health minister isn’t happy with prices coming down by just three per cent in the new fee guide published by the Alberta Dental Association and College this month, according to the CBC.

With Alberta having the highest dentistry fees of any province, the college published its first fee guide since 1997 two weeks ago. But the guide wasn’t enough to satisfy Alberta’s health minister, Sarah Hoffman, who has since instructed the association to come up with a plan to lower costs even more.

Fees in Alberta, based on the average prices for 49 different procedures, can be up to 44 per cent higher than elsewhere in Canada, according to a report by Alberta Health. The fee guide doesn’t serve as an official regulation but rather as guidance for dentists.

Read: Suggested Alberta fees for some common dental procedures almost double B.C. rates

“It was good to have had the opportunity to meet with Minister Sarah Hoffman on Wednesday morning,” said Dr. G.S. Basahti, president of the Alberta Dental Association and College, in a statement. He noted the college has committed to further discussions with the minister.

Dentists have long noted the high cost of doing business in Alberta, particularly when it comes to salaries for staff, in justifying the higher fees. But with the province’s economic boom having subsided, are Alberta’s dental fees still too high? Have your say in our weekly poll.

Last week’s poll asked whether public sector pension plans are the taxpayer burden critics say they are given the taxes retirees pay and the contributions to them from employees and investment earnings. The large majority (81 per cent) of respondents agreed public pensions are generally good for society, especially because of the wealth they can create. Only 19 per cent felt that the taxes and consumer spending generated by retirees still don’t justify the large government liabilities public sector pensions represent.

Read: Public pensions beneficial to taxpayers: advocacy group


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Richard Gendron:

I had to resort to using the University Dental Program… cost are way to high at regular dental office. With expensive procedures, (eg craked tooth) a person is better off to Vacation in Mexico or Cuba and get the dental work done there. It works out to be less than the procedure in Canada and the vacation is free. Plus, I find Cuban Dentist much more competent than dentist in Canada.

Tuesday, August 29 at 12:00 pm | Reply


In my opinion the insurance companies need to assess their “fee guides”. Each insurance company creates their own fee guide and those fees are not at par with the recent Alberta Dental Fee Guide nor the prices of Alberta dental offices. For example, I had a filling which cost $162 and the insurance company said their fee guide eligibility is $77.48. The Alberta Fee Guide says this filling code should cost $139.38 which means the dentist charges $22.62 more than the fee guide….but it’s the insurance company low balling the payment and I ended up paying $84.52 total out of my own pocket. The insurance companies need to step up.

Wednesday, August 30 at 8:03 pm | Reply


Unfortunately, the insurance companies won’t “step up”, because their goal is profits. Your goal and your dentists goal is your oral health, theirs is not. Dental insurance isn’t traditional medical insurance, its a forced savings plan, with a middle-man taking a cut. And they certainly don’t reimburse for preventive health measures, as they should.

Saturday, September 02 at 12:25 pm

Brad McDonald:

I just bought a dental practice based on the revenue it produced after graduating dental school with 400,000 of debt.
The money the practice produced will go to pay the bank loan for this practice. With the stroke of a pen government employee that has probably never taken a risk in her life dropped my revenue by 15%. This will cut the profit by about 40-50% as my staff are unlikey to accept a pay cut without quitting. All other expences will remain the same as well.
I played by the rules doing nothing wrong and I will likely be thrown in bankrupcy my first year of owning a practice because they are letting a person ignorant of any buisness sence make a decision on other peoples buisnesses.
I hope people can put themselves in the shoes of the dentist and how they might feel if there take home pay was cut in half overnight. Could they afford it? Could they imagine the payments of a 400,000 student loan debt?
How might the health minister like it if her pay was cut in half by somebody else(right like that will happen).
If the government was really interested in helping people afford dental care then help them.

Thursday, August 31 at 12:13 am | Reply


Everything you said Brad was too true!
The biggest overhead costs, including business bank loan payments (for purchasing/building a clinic), dental school loan payments, rent/lease payments, supplies (if you want to offer patients the GOOD stuff, not gray-market overseas garbage), and staff wages leave a new owner and/or grad with no profits for 10+ years and minimal take-home income. The only way the government concerns could be fairly dealt with is if the government opted to buy all private practices out at their current values, pay for all overhead costs, and chop employee wages in half – then dentists in Alberta would be able to start at 0, charge less, and still make a well-deserved wage. As it is, Alberta dentists are often $ 1 million+ in debt at the start, and digging their way out of that debt for years – while the public, government and insurance companies complain and want services for free.

Saturday, September 02 at 12:37 pm


I completely agree with Brad and Jonathan. All their points are absolutely correct 100%. The government has basically put new practice owners in a very difficult position. Since dental practice profit margins are 20 to 30%, a 8 to 10% reduction in fees will cut income by 40 to 50%

Thursday, June 28 at 12:30 am

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