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Manitoba dentists now able to charge clients additional fees to offset PPE costs

Manitoba dentists adding fee for PPE
WATCH: Manitobans may be paying a little more during their next trip to the dentist. Global's Marney Blunt has more on the fee some dentists are charging as costs for protective equipment go up.

Your next trip to the dentist’s office could be more costly.

Dentists now have the option to charge clients additional fees to offset the costs of PPE.

“There is an increased need for PPE by our entire team that’s resulted from COVID-19. In addition there’s a general shortage of PPE across the country,” Manitoba Dental Association president Marc Mallot told Global News.

READ MORE: Manitoba dental practices to begin reopening amid coronavirus pandemic, but not without anxiety

“The result of that increase in demand and that limitation in supplies is that PPE prices have increased considerably over a very short period of time.”

Mallot says the fees are often about $15 to $20, but can range depending on the procedure and the level of PPE required.

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“The PPE fee code is new to our province in the last few days,” he said.

“Manitoba’s optional fees are small, but remain appropriate in comparison to those other provinces.”

Manitoba Dental Association encouraging members to avoid non-urgent procedures
Manitoba Dental Association encouraging members to avoid non-urgent procedures

The PPE fee code was implemented by the Canadian Dental Association, and Mallot says it’s optional for dentists to charge the fee or not.

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“Discussions are ongoing with various dental insurance carriers to determine coverage for the cost of additional PPE, should it be brought in by a dentist, and to see whether that would be covered by an existing insurance plan,” Mallot said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Manitoba dentists advised to cancel non-urgent appointments

Greenwoods Dental Centres owner Dheeraj Mittal says he isn’t going to be charging the PPE fee to his clients.

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“There will be some patients or quite a few patients that would want to skip their dental appointments,” Mittal said. “Which could have an effect on their long-term dental health, just because they would have to pay those extra dollars.”

He also says he’s spent thousands of dollars of PPE.

“Given an appointment is about 45 minutes, I would say each appointment would be about an extra $25 [for PPE],” Mittal said. “I ordered about 120 reusable gowns, I bought them tailor-made and they cost be about $4,000 just for the gowns.”

“The respirators probably cost about $70 to $80 per person, plus the change of filters. We’re changing filters for each employee every three to four days, which adds up the cost quite a bit.”

The optional PPE fee code is in place for this year, and will be reviewed for 2021.