Lower fees will turn dentistry into “a numbers game,” a Red Deer dentist predicts

Dr. Brian Saby is critical of provincial plan

Contributed photo.

A Red Deer dentist fears quality dental care will suffer if the provincial government succeeds in lowering the charge for services in a new fee guide.

Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman is demanding the Alberta Dental Association and College reduce the amount Alberta dentists charge for services. This week dentists were ordered to go back to the table and drop the amount they charge by more than the association’s proposed three per cent.

Alberta’s dental fees are, overall, the highest in the country. According to Alberta Blue Cross has reported Alberta’s fees are 26 to 32 per cent higher than in other Western provinces.

But Dr. Brian Saby, of Red Deer’s Saby Dental, said the cost of doing business is high in Alberta — from paying rents to providing for the salaries of dental hygienists and and assistants.

Removing the free-enterprise aspect of dentistry and treating the service as a commodity will be good for insurance companies — they can make more profits” — but not-so-good for dentists or patients, predicted Saby.

He noted there are hidden costs to providing good dental services. He figures he’s invested about $2 million over the years on training sessions to update his techniques and to learn innovations.

Rolling back service fees “will just take away the incentive to do better and improve the quality of dentistry,” he added. “It’ll just become a numbers game. Instead of enjoying the profession, it’ll be all about the money.”

Saby won’t personally be affected by the changes because he ‘s retiring within a year, but he believes lower fees, in addition to a steep rise in corporate taxes, will not be good for the profession.

Alberta dentists have operated without a fee guide for two decades, allowing them to set their own prices.

The new fee guide under discussion will serve as a benchmark and not be mandatory. Hoffman said her talks with the Alberta Dental Association will continue next week.

lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Just Posted

Alberta’s status of women minister joins Twitter debate over women’s marches

EDMONTON — A minister in Alberta’s NDP government has chastised a tweet… Continue reading

Canada faces angry Americans in pivotal sixth round of NAFTA talks

Canada will be hosting an annoyed and angry United States as the… Continue reading

Arts and Craft (Beer) evening set for Feb. 3

Raising money for Red Deer Arts Council

‘Hobbit’ director Peter Jackson making WWI documentary

LONDON — “The Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson is transforming… Continue reading

Hot summer ticket: $130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic off Newfoundland

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Are you a risk-taking adventurer with $130,000 to… Continue reading

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month