Click on the questions below for the answer.
The British Columbia Dental Association (BCDA) produces an annual suggested fee guide for dentists in BC, which is in effect between February 1 and January 31 each year. This document outlines over 1,400 dental codes and code descriptors related to specific elements of dental treatment. It also provides suggested fees that serve as a guide only; dentists are not required to follow the guide or any fee schedule.
Many dental plan carriers will base plan coverage on fees and codes within this guide. In some cases the coverage is based on previous year's guides (going back a year or more). Note: Dental plan providers do not work with the BCDA to develop the guide.
No. While many dentists will follow a number of fees within the guide, there is no requirement to do so. Dental offices consider a number of variables when determining costs for their office. See also: How are dental fees determined?
There is no requirement for dentists to charge the suggested fees outlined in the dental fee guides. Dentists determine costs for their office based on the factors influencing their individual practice. See also: How are dental fees determined?
A print copy of the suggested fee guide can be found in main public libraries (PDF)—this is the same print copy sent to all dentists in BC. The BCDA does not produce an electronic version of the fee guide for the public. If patients have questions related to a specific code, they can inquire with their dentist directly, or contact the BCDA at 604-736-7202.
We remind patients that this document is only a guide and dentists are not required to charge the suggested fees outlined. See also: What is the suggested fee guide?
The fee guide is a very complex document, with more than 1,400 codes representing a wide range of dental procedures for the prevention and treatment of oral disease. Due to the technical nature of the guide, patients often require some interpretation of the descriptors in order to understand the content. Patients should discuss any questions related to their recommended treatment options or the cost of treatment with their dentist.
The 2023 Abbreviated General Practitioner’s Suggested Fee Guide (PDF) is intended to provide British Columbians with some information on common dental procedure codes and the suggested fee guide. This is intended for reference only and may not reflect the specifics of your treatment and associated costs.
The abbreviated fee guide comprises of a list of common dental procedures along with respective procedure codes and suggested fees.
Note: One Unit of time = 15 minutes, One Half Unit = 7 1/2 minutes
+E refers to additional expense for materials; +L refers to commercial or in house laboratory costs.
What you can do?
Talk to your dentist. Discuss all of your treatment options with your dentists and the associated costs before proceeding with treatment.
Ask if your dental office follows the suggested fee guide. A dental office may bill some, or all codes, based on the suggested fee guide. Check with your office to make sure you are clear about all the costs of your treatment before proceeding. Request a written estimate for complex procedures.