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Going to the dentist

Not long ago I went to the dentist for a scaling. My job doesn't have health insurance, so it cost me 250 dollars. I thought it was urgent to write an article to explain a little more about how the dentist works in Canada and in Toronto in particular.


First visit to the dentist.


In North America, it is totally different from France. You don't make an appointment for a specific problem, each dentist will want to do the whole follow-up from A to Z. Without x-rays, he won't want to venture into unknown territory. So if it's your first visit, you'll be asked for a first appointment with auscultation, x-rays... but they won't touch your teeth. Of course, each of these steps will be billed to you and that adds up. A first visit could well cost you $400 just to examine you.



The differences to consider

You have to pay for everything: Here, you will be charged for each problem on a case-by-case basis. I hope you have a good health insurance, because the prices can go up faster than you think.


Not everything is worth it: sometimes you will be offered to have your teeth whitened. You can ask if this is essential to your health, because teeth are not naturally white! It is the same for the polishing of the teeth, if some dentists propose it, it can be an useless expense...


Cleaning: If you were used to the cleaning that lasts 15 minutes in France, you will be surprised. Here, it can easily take a good hour. If you are lucky, some offices offer you to watch TV to distract you during the session.



The cheapest option: University


For people with small budgets, university is a very good option. The prices will be 40-60% cheaper than in professional institutions, but you will spend more time there. Here is how it happened for me.



First contact: making an appointment over the phone


You will need to contact the University of Toronto by phone. Explain that you need to see a dentist through the questions they ask you. Once they have your application, they will offer to call you back later when they have a student assigned to you. You may be asked to pay in advance for your first x-rays.




First appointment: X-rays


You will be asked to come in for an appointment to have a full set of x-rays taken of each of your teeth to determine their health status.


Cost: $82


Second appointment: observation


You will be asked to come in for a minimum of 3 hours or more. The person will then examine all your teeth one by one and will ask you medical questions about your lifestyle (smoking, alcohol,...). These questions will allow him/her to establish a treatment plan and how often you should make an appointment at the office.


Cost: $17


Third appointment: assessment and first cleaning


Like the previous appointment, we will examine all your gums one by one. However, this step may be a little more painful than the previous one because we will test the health of your gums with a pick.


Cost: free

Fourth appointment : scaling


During this appointment, the person will give you a thorough cleaning! Expect to have a cramp in your jaw! It takes a little time but it's worth it!


Cost: free or low


Fifth appointment and more: treatments


For my part, I had two cavities to take care of and it was done within the two hours. But in return a quality service, even for a university. They even go so far as to suggest a replacement color after removing part of the tooth to match your natural color.


The rest of the appointments will depend on the problems you had to solve, and the care you need.


Cost: $209 for 2 cavities


You should know that the university also offers appointments for urgent situations for the modest sum of 52 dollars.


Total paid: About 308$ from March to December 2021.




University contact


University of Toronto — Dental Clinic

101 Elm St, Toronto, ON M5G 2L3

(416) 864-8000




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