The Cost of Good Dentistry
While the goal of medicine is to heal people, it is still a business that charges for services rendered. This might sound cold, or even foreign for people with OHIP coverage and/or health benefits, but it is the reality.
In the medical field, a typical situation plays out with the patient being diagnosed by the doctor, and then undergoing the recommended treatment. In most cases, a patient never even sees the bill.
Dentistry is in a unique position because most practices offer a mix of necessary dental treatments and voluntary cosmetic procedures. Patients have the option to set a budget and shop around. This is important because many treatments don’t have a cost standard, and the range can be quite dramatic.
Dentistry can be expensive but it is one of the best investments you can ever make. Most treatments promote healthy gums, strong teeth, reduce pain, fix misalignments, and ultimately, can deliver the beautiful smile you have always dreamed about. By regularly visiting your dentist and receiving any recommended treatment, you can prevent oral health issues down the road.
Let’s review what good dentistry could cost a patient. Then, we’ll explore the potential price range for treatments like dental implants and braces. In addition, we’ll help you understand the role of OHIP and what the typical dental coverage plan pays for or subsidizes.
What Constitutes High-Quality Dentistry?
Good dentistry shouldn’t be subjective. It should be based on dental professionals providing the necessary care, expertise and compassion. When a patient invests in dental services, they deserve a sterile environment, proper care by the dental professionals (dentists and hygienists) and for the procedure(s) to be administered effectively and safely. The range of costs per treatment can be dramatic so it’s important to understand what you are paying for and then to determine if the higher price tag is worthwhile.
The cost of dentistry will always be based on the procedure you require. Minor or simple procedures like checkups or teeth whitening, will invariably cost less whereas braces or dental implants come with a heftier price tag.
Like any brick and mortar business, dental practices base their prices on the cost it takes to run their business, known as overhead. A practice in the heart of downtown Toronto will conceivably cost more than one in Richmond Hill or Barrie since location dictates the rent and the price for other amenities.
Your oral health shouldn’t be treated with a cost-cutting approach. No dentist will try to convince a patient to buy additional treatments for the sake of squeezing more money out of them. Find a clinic that makes you feel comfortable and can fit your budget.
The Varying Prices of Dental Treatments
To give you an idea of the price variance for certain dental treatments, something as common as a bonding cost as little as $100 per tooth or as much as $400 per tooth. With respect to cosmetic treatments, teeth whitening can range from $300 to $1,000 per session. As you can see, some dentistry can cost three to four times as much.
Dental Implants are a metal frame that is surgically inserted into the jawbone and hold replacement teeth in place. Something that looks this natural and works so effectively can be costly but its comfort and impact on your face and appearance, not to mention how it will improve your chewing, biting and swallowing is invaluable.
For a single tooth, an implant can run patients between $275 to $450. The range is attributed to the amount of customization that your dentist must perform. The crown is pricier, ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 depending on the number of teeth you require and your gum health.
All-On-4 gives patients a new set of 4-6 implants in a fixed bridge. This is a practical treatment for those about to lose an entire row of teeth. These implants cost less than single tooth placement so it is one way to receive the best dentistry at a more affordable price.
Invisalign are a state-of-the-art set of aligners that straighten teeth over time. They are clear, removable and worth the cost for those who need or want braces without any disruption to their lives. On average, Invisalign cost $3,500 to $8,000. Braces, on the other hand, can cost $2,500 to $6,000.
A lot of clinics offer payment plans for more expensive treatments. Please contact us to discuss our different options. We are happy to figure out a situation that works for you.
The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)
Most Ontarians enjoy basic health care provided mostly by the provincial government. OHIP doesn’t pay for every medical service, which is why people buy additional health insurance or have their wages garnished for group health benefits through their employer.
With respect to dentistry, OHIP covers very little and what it does cover are usually only surgeries performed in a hospital. This means that you are on the hook for your regular checkups, wisdom teeth removal, x-rays and any other procedure you might need.
Dental Insurance or Group Benefits
OHIP’s lack of dental coverage means patients are reliant on a health insurance provider. Ideally, your employer offers a group benefits package. If this isn’t the case, you can purchase a plan that is tailor to your needs and budget. Most of these plans allow you to choose your dentist.
With group benefits, your employer chooses which services to fully or partially cover. The common ones are annual checkups, x-rays, cleanings and more common procedures like root canals or dental implants.
If you are the recipient of Ontario Works, which provides benefits to those who are temporarily unemployed, or the Ontario Disability Support Program then you should have comprehensive dental coverage. For those without any dental coverage, there are community health organizations that offer specialized dental services. In addition, dentistry schools tend to hold clinics where the students provide supervised treatments.
We recommend speaking with your benefits administrator to understand what your dental benefits cover, or reach out to us and we’d be happy to review your plan. Remember, your dentist is treating your oral heath needs and should not be persuaded by a benefits plan whatsoever.
Dentistry as an Investment
While you don’t want to treat something as important as your oral health the same way you would pick a dry cleaner, you need to shop around and compare different practices. Ultimately, dentistry is an investment in your oral health and your overall well-being. A beautiful smile and healthy teeth and gums can make you feel and look great while helping you avoid serious ailments later in life.
Like all healthcare, the results pay for themselves over time.
We Can Help You
Remember, you are under no pressure to trust the first dentist you come across. It doesn’t hurt to meet with a few and review their pricing structures and payment options. We understand that these treatments are pricy and not everyone has dental coverage. We want to work with you to make sure you receive the professional dental care you deserve to achieve the best oral health.
If you or someone you know requires dental care, reach out to the team at Georgian Dental® and we can run you through our philosophy and approach to working with our patients. We can also review potential costs and your coverage to develop a plan specific to your situation.