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Dental costs in Vancouver

Hi Vancouver. I have a question about dentists and dental costs here in Vancouver. Sorry if it seems elementary but we've moved from a different country and healthcare system so this is all new to us :)

I have checked out a few dentists and have been frankly shocked by the prices. It seems many people have dental insurance coverage from their employers. Unfortunately this is not the case for myself or my husband so we will be paying the full fees. For all 4 dentists that we've asked, the fees seem to be the same: $220-250 for an initial registration and check up, and also about the same or just under $200 for subsequent check ups.

Maybe I have unrealistic expectations (actually I just don't have a clue, heh), but that seems like heck of a lot of money for a check up. Doen't it then go straight into the stratosphere if it's for cavities, extractions etc.?? I have an impacted wisdom tooth that needs to be monitored (it flares up and gets all unhappy from time to time but otherwise not too bad) and perhaps treated in some form (*gulp*) otherwise I wouldn't bother with regular dental visits, to be honest... Especially with those kind of fees.

I guess I'm hoping to get some local opinion about dental costs, and whether what I've been quoted is 'standard' or 'normal'. If that is the case, then there's nothing for it and I'll just have to cough up the money when necessary. If people know of good dentists, and who don't charge an arm and/or a leg, please do leave a comment as well. We live in Kits but travelling is ok if not too far and accessible by public transport.

Thanks for reading this, and I hope you all have a good start to the weekend :)


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 6th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)
i think that sounds about right for a check up / cleaning plus x-rays. $200
cavity (depending if you get white kind or old school kind) I think is between 100-200 also.
not sure about wisdom teeth extraction though :/
Dec. 6th, 2008 05:21 am (UTC)
Thanks, that's really useful to know, enough if it's still 'ouch'!
Dec. 6th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
yeah, that's pretty normal, unfortunately. it is expensive. a lot of people go without good dental care because of it.

however, there is a dental school out at UBC, and if you are willing to let dentistry students practice on you, you can get work done on the cheap.

a lot of dentists will let you set up a payment plan for larger bills, too.

i've been seeing the same dentist for 20 years. he's at ocean dental near metrotown - it's a good practice.
Dec. 6th, 2008 03:07 am (UTC)
The dentist school at UBC will probably take longer than a regular dentist appointment, but it definitely is cheaper. I only paid about $100 last year for a check-up + x-rays (though not of my whole mouth I don't think) + a filling.

Otherwise, yeah, it is that expensive, and I was really kind of shocked, too, even though I have insurance.
Dec. 6th, 2008 05:23 am (UTC)
The UBC dental school did come up on Google, but I thought they only take on 'special' cases (i.e. teeth needing specific/complicated work). I will give them a call and see what they say, thanks for the tip!
Dec. 6th, 2008 06:53 am (UTC)
From what I know of the Dental School, you're a potential candidate if you have three or more separate procedures that they can perform on you. There's a whole interview and evaluation process, plus you have to wait for them to actually need you.

I checked up on all of this for a root canal I needed earlier this year, but I never actually called and got all the details.
Dec. 6th, 2008 02:54 am (UTC)
Often if you talk to the dentists office and tell them that you do not have insurance and will be paying cash they'll give you another lower rate.

I think Smiles on the Drive wanted $110 plus x-rays for an initial check up.
Dec. 6th, 2008 05:29 am (UTC)
Mmm I didn't know that. Thanks for the tip, I'll ask about that :) And I'll check out Smile on the Drive too.
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Dec. 6th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
That's good to hear. Thanks for the recommendation! :)
Dec. 6th, 2008 03:38 am (UTC)
I had the same problem & I found REACH on Commercial Dr.
I paid $90 for the initial consultation and that was only because I got special x-rays because I need to have some wisdom teeth extractions. I got my teeth cleaned a couple weeks ago for just over $100.
I'd definitely suggest going there. I don't have any dental insurance either, and while it still sucks, its SO much cheaper than anywhere else I've asked.

I see Dr. Kim and she's pretty good. All the other dentists there seem pretty awesome, as well.
Dec. 6th, 2008 05:36 am (UTC)
Thanks for the tip! I'll definitely need x-rays due to my wisdom tooth, so it's good to hear from someone with similar problems.
Dec. 6th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, and they're totally no pressure, too. They spaced out my appointments so I'm not stuck paying $500 in one shot. Plus, I think they have a payment plan you can go on, too.
Dec. 6th, 2008 06:41 am (UTC)
that was what I was going to say. The other thing is that they will specifically ask you if you are covered before doing stuff and will consult with you about what importance you place on things. I also found once that when I wasn't covered they gave me a white filling for the same cost as a silver one because it was up front.

Ditto Dr. Kim.
Dec. 6th, 2008 06:24 pm (UTC)
I actually started going because of a post you made awhile ago, so thank you!!

Dec. 6th, 2008 07:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that, it sounds really reassuring. I'll definitely call up or visit REACH.
Dec. 6th, 2008 05:15 am (UTC)
The vast majority of dentists will charge fees according to the provincial dental fee guide. This is a manual produced by the dental association that prescribes the fees applicable for all possible dental procedures. Insurance companies reimburse people with dental coverage according to these same fees.

To get anything cheaper than the fee guide, you'd have to find an obliging dentist (as previous commentators may have found), or go to a dental school or something similar.
Dec. 6th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC)
Thanks for the really useful information and recommendation, even if I didn't reply to your comment individually. Much appreciated. You guys are awesome, and quick!
Dec. 6th, 2008 05:57 am (UTC)
i have no idea what it's like in vancouver, but in ontario you could get the cleaning part done by students in dental hygiene school for next to nothing. this obviously doesn't help the work actual dentists need to do, but perhaps you could at least save some money on the cleaning end.

Dec. 6th, 2008 09:06 am (UTC)
For all 4 dentists that we've asked, the fees seem to be the same: $220-250 for an initial registration and check up, and also about the same or just under $200 for subsequent check ups.
I see Dr. Punnett (sp?) in Fort Langley and last time I saw him, he charged me $140 for a cleaning and checkup (no x-ray's, though). But it's about 1.5-2 hours from where you are, so it's probably too far, unless you're really desperate to save $60.
Dec. 6th, 2008 07:09 pm (UTC)
The $200+ price includes x-ray so that sounds about similar. Thanks for the information though, it all seems to make sense.

Dig your user name btw ;)
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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