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The slow decay of dentistry

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Considering how the associateship market seems to be getting worse, isn't it possible that even Canadian graduates could have some trouble paying off their student loans?

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A few of my friends have been practicing for exactly 1 year now. These stats might be useful for people looking to gain some info on the associate market in different areas.

1) Practicing in rural Alberta (~2 hours east of Edmonton) --> 220k pre-tax working 6 days a week

2) Practicing in GTA --> 150k pre-tax working 5 days a week

3) Practicing 1.5 hours outside GTA --> 175k pre-tax working 5 days a week

4) Practicing in Calgary --> 180k pre-tax working 5 days a week

Although income does depend on types of procedures, days you work, etc., it does seem imo that dentistry is still a great profession.

But if your taking out 350-500k loans for dental school, its better to go into another profession. If your parents can afford to pay for dental school and you have zero/minimal debt, then definitely go and be ahead of the curve so that you can buy clinics and have a higher income pretty quickly. 

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7 hours ago, Coronaxtra said:

A few of my friends have been practicing for exactly 1 year now. These stats might be useful for people looking to gain some info on the associate market in different areas.

1) Practicing in rural Alberta (~2 hours east of Edmonton) --> 220k pre-tax working 6 days a week

2) Practicing in GTA --> 150k pre-tax working 5 days a week

3) Practicing 1.5 hours outside GTA --> 175k pre-tax working 5 days a week

4) Practicing in Calgary --> 180k pre-tax working 5 days a week

Although income does depend on types of procedures, days you work, etc., it does seem imo that dentistry is still a great profession.

But if your taking out 350-500k loans for dental school, its better to go into another profession. If your parents can afford to pay for dental school and you have zero/minimal debt, then definitely go and be ahead of the curve so that you can buy clinics and have a higher income pretty quickly. 

Thanks for the info. Got any stats for graduating specialists?

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8 hours ago, Coronaxtra said:

A few of my friends have been practicing for exactly 1 year now. These stats might be useful for people looking to gain some info on the associate market in different areas.

1) Practicing in rural Alberta (~2 hours east of Edmonton) --> 220k pre-tax working 6 days a week

2) Practicing in GTA --> 150k pre-tax working 5 days a week

3) Practicing 1.5 hours outside GTA --> 175k pre-tax working 5 days a week

4) Practicing in Calgary --> 180k pre-tax working 5 days a week

Although income does depend on types of procedures, days you work, etc., it does seem imo that dentistry is still a great profession.

But if your taking out 350-500k loans for dental school, its better to go into another profession. If your parents can afford to pay for dental school and you have zero/minimal debt, then definitely go and be ahead of the curve so that you can buy clinics and have a higher income pretty quickly. 

I'm sure that these numbers are doable, but after speaking to my financial advisor at RBC who deals with a lot of dentists in the GTA, the average is closer to 120-130K.  If you had 0 debt, that would be very comfortable.  If you've got 350-400K debt...that's a struggle.

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10 hours ago, Coronaxtra said:

A few of my friends have been practicing for exactly 1 year now. These stats might be useful for people looking to gain some info on the associate market in different areas.

1) Practicing in rural Alberta (~2 hours east of Edmonton) --> 220k pre-tax working 6 days a week

2) Practicing in GTA --> 150k pre-tax working 5 days a week

3) Practicing 1.5 hours outside GTA --> 175k pre-tax working 5 days a week

4) Practicing in Calgary --> 180k pre-tax working 5 days a week

Although income does depend on types of procedures, days you work, etc., it does seem imo that dentistry is still a great profession.

But if your taking out 350-500k loans for dental school, its better to go into another profession. If your parents can afford to pay for dental school and you have zero/minimal debt, then definitely go and be ahead of the curve so that you can buy clinics and have a higher income pretty quickly. 

Those numbers seem out of whack to me. I have multiple cousins in Dental school and an uncle practicing. Very few people working in Ontario are making over $180K unless you own your clinic,  majority are earning in the 110-150K range depending on location, that is if you're lucky enough to find a job. One of the dentists at my Uncle's clinic drives in from Toronto to Waterloo, which is a 3-4 hour roundtrip 3 days a week. I only know about Ontario, but I highly highly doubt many people are making 180k pre tax working 5 days a week in Calgary, unless the situation in Calgary is drastically different, or you again you own your own clinic.

 

That's not to mention that the job market in dentistry is worsening and will continue to worsen unless some action is taken, which I don't see happening anytime soon. 

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7 hours ago, Chaxon said:

Thanks for the info. Got any stats for graduating specialists?

Not yet. Two of my friends are currently in specialty school (OMFS, ortho) so any data from them will take at least another 3-4 years. 

6 hours ago, McMarauder said:

I'm sure that these numbers are doable, but after speaking to my financial advisor at RBC who deals with a lot of dentists in the GTA, the average is closer to 120-130K.  If you had 0 debt, that would be very comfortable.  If you've got 350-400K debt...that's a struggle.

Completely agree. Obviously this is a very very small sample but it does give some data from recent grads. Even though the avg may be 120-130k pre-tax, that's a very good income for someone with no debt. Really do reconsider dentistry if you take a 350-400k debt to make 130k pre-tax in the GTA (especially with the high cost of living).

4 hours ago, ysera said:

Those numbers seem out of whack to me. I have multiple cousins in Dental school and an uncle practicing. Very few people working in Ontario are making over $180K unless you own your clinic,  majority are earning in the 110-150K range depending on location, that is if you're lucky enough to find a job. One of the dentists at my Uncle's clinic drives in from Toronto to Waterloo, which is a 3-4 hour roundtrip 3 days a week. I only know about Ontario, but I highly highly doubt many people are making 180k pre tax working 5 days a week in Calgary, unless the situation in Calgary is drastically different, or you again you own your own clinic.

 

That's not to mention that the job market in dentistry is worsening and will continue to worsen unless some action is taken, which I don't see happening anytime soon. 

With such a small sample size, its definitely not representative of the whole dental population in the GTA. There is a lot of variety but at the end of the day, my point is that dentistry is something you should enjoy and love to do day in and day out, especially if you take on 350-400k debt. Those graduating with zero/minimal debt will not stress over making higher $$$, working longer hours to make loan payments, etc. And having minimal debt means you could buy clinic(s) quicker and have a higher income potential without worrying about school loans. I'd be having sleepless nights if I took 350-400k debt for dental school, 800k+ mortgage to live in the GTA, and all the high taxes you pay in Canada in general. That's just my opinion though but i'm sure some people share the same views. 

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16 hours ago, Coronaxtra said:

A few of my friends have been practicing for exactly 1 year now. These stats might be useful for people looking to gain some info on the associate market in different areas.

1) Practicing in rural Alberta (~2 hours east of Edmonton) --> 220k pre-tax working 6 days a week

2) Practicing in GTA --> 150k pre-tax working 5 days a week

3) Practicing 1.5 hours outside GTA --> 175k pre-tax working 5 days a week

4) Practicing in Calgary --> 180k pre-tax working 5 days a week

Although income does depend on types of procedures, days you work, etc., it does seem imo that dentistry is still a great profession.

But if your taking out 350-500k loans for dental school, its better to go into another profession. If your parents can afford to pay for dental school and you have zero/minimal debt, then definitely go and be ahead of the curve so that you can buy clinics and have a higher income pretty quickly. 

These are pretty normal for a year out. I must admit at this point in my career (though I'm still a 'new' dentist), $220k at 6 days and $180k at 5 days are no longer worth it to me. I'd rather work smarter, not harder. I'm terrified of burn out and though I work hard, I work very few days and I'm constantly increasing my disability insurance. I make more money and work less than I have ever before, but I'd never have done it for half a million in debt, especially with how taxing the job is. Oof. I do better and work fewer days than all the examples here (but two days a week I work an 11-hour shift), but I'm an outlier, and I'm still trying to find ways to make it more efficient and easier on my body.

I think a lot of undergrads and dental students will look at these numbers and think "Wow!," and although they're good incomes, I think people can easily overestimate the lifestyle they can sustain on these incomes. Keep in mind that you are entirely self-employed, and your expenses are high. Hell, just 'staying a dentist' in licensure fees and the like will cost you $5k a year. It's expensive to become a dentist. It's also expensive to remain one.

And if you want to buy that 4 bedroom detached, drive in new German cars, have 2 kids and travel 2-3x a year you're gonna want to marry a physician. :)

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A few months ago my wife and I were out for dinner at a restaurant and there was a dentist there who worked in the same plaza as the restaurant.  In between eating her dinner she went from table to table soliciting for new patients.  'Oh you're children are so cute, do they have a dentist yet?'

I thought it was embarrassing and rather depressing but sadly not surprising.  She's the new owner of an old, likely dying practice that's hidden on the second floor of a strip-plaza with barely any signage.  In Toronto.

I was reminded of this today when I saw an advertisement for her office stapled to my neighbourhood park's community bulletin board.  She's really pounding the pavement for patients.

I guess my point is, a lot of people think that practice ownership is better than associating.  I think probably in most cases it is, but definitely not 100% of the time.  Dental offices are extremely expensive to run and your costs are fixed.  Its perfectly conceivable that you could have a day or week or month or year when your revenue doesn't even cover your expenses.

This is of course dependent on a lot of factors, but you won't see me doing a start-up or reviving a dying practice in Toronto.

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7 hours ago, cleanup said:

These are pretty normal for a year out. I must admit at this point in my career (though I'm still a 'new' dentist), $220k at 6 days and $180k at 5 days are no longer worth it to me. I'd rather work smarter, not harder. I'm terrified of burn out and though I work hard, I work very few days and I'm constantly increasing my disability insurance. I make more money and work less than I have ever before, but I'd never have done it for half a million in debt, especially with how taxing the job is. Oof. I do better and work fewer days than all the examples here (but two days a week I work an 11-hour shift), but I'm an outlier, and I'm still trying to find ways to make it more efficient and easier on my body.

I think a lot of undergrads and dental students will look at these numbers and think "Wow!," and although they're good incomes, I think people can easily overestimate the lifestyle they can sustain on these incomes. Keep in mind that you are entirely self-employed, and your expenses are high. Hell, just 'staying a dentist' in licensure fees and the like will cost you $5k a year. It's expensive to become a dentist. It's also expensive to remain one.

And if you want to buy that 4 bedroom detached, drive in new German cars, have 2 kids and travel 2-3x a year you're gonna want to marry a physician. :)

So you would say you're content with what you make and living comfortably? Compared to other career options you may have considered?

22 minutes ago, Ostracized said:

A few months ago my wife and I were out for dinner at a restaurant and there was a dentist there who worked in the same plaza as the restaurant.  In between eating her dinner she went from table to table soliciting for new patients.  'Oh you're children are so cute, do they have a dentist yet?'

I thought it was embarrassing and rather depressing but sadly not surprising.  She's the new owner of an old, likely dying practice that's hidden on the second floor of a strip-plaza with barely any signage.  In Toronto.

I was reminded of this today when I saw an advertisement for her office stapled to my neighbourhood park's community bulletin board.  She's really pounding the pavement for patients.

I guess my point is, a lot of people think that practice ownership is better than associating.  I think probably in most cases it is, but definitely not 100% of the time.  Dental offices are extremely expensive to run and your costs are fixed.  Its perfectly conceivable that you could have a day or week or month or year when your revenue doesn't even cover your expenses.

This is of course dependent on a lot of factors, but you won't see me doing a start-up or reviving a dying practice in Toronto.

Would you consider practice ownership outside Toronto (start-up or reviving a dying one)?

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38 minutes ago, Coronaxtra said:

So you would say you're content with what you make and living comfortably? Compared to other career options you may have considered?

Would you consider practice ownership outside Toronto (start-up or reviving a dying one)?

I am fine with my income but it involves several lifestyle modifications a lot of people wouldn't be okay with. A lot of commuting, long work days, and working quickly. I'm not even totally okay with it and may be making changes soon. 

I wouldn't consider practice ownership at this point. I just don't live and breathe dentistry enough to justify the extra stress. I am a natural leader but I'm also one who likes to leave work at work. 

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1 hour ago, Coronaxtra said:

Would you consider practice ownership outside Toronto (start-up or reviving a dying one)?

52 minutes ago, Chaxon said:

If the field of dentistry really is in such decline, shouldn’t the CDA be doing something about it? 

Oops. I misread and didn't realize you were chatting with Ostracized. My bad. Posting on mobile is hard. 

The CDA is making money off of the ITD situation and is mainly run by some old dogs who don't have any interest in how the future of the profession pans out. 

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Question. My friend went to Australia after highschool and he fully believes it is a shortcut to becoming a dentist in Canada.  Why shouldn't Canada limit the number of dental grads from countries like Australia? 

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On 6/10/2019 at 2:24 PM, Coronaxtra said:

A few of my friends have been practicing for exactly 1 year now. These stats might be useful for people looking to gain some info on the associate market in different areas.

1) Practicing in rural Alberta (~2 hours east of Edmonton) --> 220k pre-tax working 6 days a week

2) Practicing in GTA --> 150k pre-tax working 5 days a week

3) Practicing 1.5 hours outside GTA --> 175k pre-tax working 5 days a week

4) Practicing in Calgary --> 180k pre-tax working 5 days a week

Although income does depend on types of procedures, days you work, etc., it does seem imo that dentistry is still a great profession.

But if your taking out 350-500k loans for dental school, its better to go into another profession. If your parents can afford to pay for dental school and you have zero/minimal debt, then definitely go and be ahead of the curve so that you can buy clinics and have a higher income pretty quickly. 

Even if you take out 350-500k loans, going into dentistry can still be a very financially rewarding decision with a giant caveat that you are perfectly fine with living and working in rural underserved areas. Hell, even going rural for a year or two can make a huge dent in that loan. It's not that difficult to make 300+ as an associate given that you are willing to go up north.

2 hours ago, Ostracized said:

A few months ago my wife and I were out for dinner at a restaurant and there was a dentist there who worked in the same plaza as the restaurant.  In between eating her dinner she went from table to table soliciting for new patients.  'Oh you're children are so cute, do they have a dentist yet?'

I thought it was embarrassing and rather depressing but sadly not surprising.  She's the new owner of an old, likely dying practice that's hidden on the second floor of a strip-plaza with barely any signage.  In Toronto.

I was reminded of this today when I saw an advertisement for her office stapled to my neighbourhood park's community bulletin board.  She's really pounding the pavement for patients.

I guess my point is, a lot of people think that practice ownership is better than associating.  I think probably in most cases it is, but definitely not 100% of the time.  Dental offices are extremely expensive to run and your costs are fixed.  Its perfectly conceivable that you could have a day or week or month or year when your revenue doesn't even cover your expenses.

This is of course dependent on a lot of factors, but you won't see me doing a start-up or reviving a dying practice in Toronto.

You're right, that's just plain embarrassing. When people decide to enter dental school they all think they are one day going to own a practice, that's certainly what I thought. The reality is that in canada only a minority of dentists will ever become practice owners. Corps are getting bigger and bigger, practice prices are skyrocketing. And the prices are the most expensive in areas where there's the most amount of saturation like toronto and vancouver. If you do manage to buy a practice in the city, once you pay the bank loan there's zero or negative cash flow. Wish I knew this before going into dental school.

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1 hour ago, WeDayDream said:

Question. My friend went to Australia after highschool and he fully believes it is a shortcut to becoming a dentist in Canada.  Why shouldn't Canada limit the number of dental grads from countries like Australia? 

They need too. Simple supply and demand issue I guess. Identify the demand then control the supply and thus intake of dentists.

1 hour ago, cleanup said:

 

Oops. I misread and didn't realize you were chatting with Ostracized. My bad. Posting on mobile is hard. 

The CDA is making money off of the ITD situation and is mainly run by some old dogs who don't have any interest in how the future of the profession pans out. 

 

I wonder if we sent them an email what their official position would be on the issue. Does anyone know if they’ve publicly addressed the issue?

Also how are the CDA leaders chosen? Is it an election?  Or just passing on the torch to whoever’s already in the circle lol. 

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Corporate dentistry is why Canadian dental class sizes have increased.
Corporate dentistry is why we have reciprocal agreements with the US, AUS, NZ, and Ireland.
Corporate dentistry is why we have a pathway for foreign trained dentists to become licensed after challenging a set of exams.
Corporate dentistry is why tuition has increased over the years, when salaries have not.

The CDA is probably in bed with some of the big corporates.  They're not likely to care...

 

Quote
On 5/8/2019 at 1:40 AM, McMarauder said:

Answer: corporate dentistry.  and Money.  This may sound like a conspiracy theory, but it all made sense after my last boss mentioned it to me and after I reflected on my own experience working in a corporate dental office.

Dental corporations may be influencing institutions to create a surplus of dentists, who will graduate with big debts and be desperate to take any job.  These graduates end up taking positions with corporate practices.  Ultimately the corporate practices (and the people on top) benefit from having so many dentists who will do as they are told to maximize profits.  Dentists working for corporates are led to believe that they are lucky to have a guaranteed base salary.  People in 400k+ debt want to know that they'll be able to make the monthly payments on their loans.  This is a huge thing in the states, and it's a growing issue in Australia.  I worked for large corporate practice in Sydney and it was the worst job I ever had - short appointments and being pushed by people above me to treat.

The biggest dental corporation in Canada, DentalCorp, was started in Australia and made it's way to Canada in September 2011, which was just over a year after the AUS-CAN reciprocal agreement.  This is not a coincidence.  The reciprocal agreements are giving the corporations what they need - desperate dentists who need to pay off their loans.  It's all about greed and money - not what patients need.

Not surprisingly, DentalCorp/Bupa-DentalCorp is also big in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland...

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Okay but still the CDA is probably mandated to be looking out for the oral health of all Canadian citizens. 

They cant just be going unchecked and doing whatever they want. 

We’re biased since we want to be dentists. Does corporate dentistry present any benefits from the perspective of a patient? I.e. quicker service, lower rates.

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1 hour ago, Chaxon said:

Okay but still the CDA is probably mandated to be looking out for the oral health of all Canadian citizens. 

They cant just be going unchecked and doing whatever they want. 

We’re biased since we want to be dentists. Does corporate dentistry present any benefits from the perspective of a patient? I.e. quicker service, lower rates.

in an ideal world, that's what the CDA should be doing...

When I was working in Australia where there is no fee guides, corporate offices did offer lower rates (and yes, many patients chose to go to corporate clinics because of the lower rates).. not sure how that would work in Canada where there are fee guides.

 

And also, if people actually cared about oral health, a lot more money would be pumped into prevention of oral diseases (vast majority of them are preventable).  It costs the average person much less money per year to have 4 tooth brushes, 12 tubes of toothpaste and roll of floss than 1 filling.  Let's face it, we'd be out of work if everybody brushed properly at least twice a day and flossed along with a sugarless and acid free diet.

Edit: it's kinda like how the Raptors totally could have won last night and ended the series then and there.  By prolonging the series, a lot more money is generated.  Money makes the world go round.

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13 hours ago, Lvl3sonly said:

Even if you take out 350-500k loans, going into dentistry can still be a very financially rewarding decision with a giant caveat that you are perfectly fine with living and working in rural underserved areas. Hell, even going rural for a year or two can make a huge dent in that loan. It's not that difficult to make 300+ as an associate given that you are willing to go up north.

You're right, that's just plain embarrassing. When people decide to enter dental school they all think they are one day going to own a practice, that's certainly what I thought. The reality is that in canada only a minority of dentists will ever become practice owners. Corps are getting bigger and bigger, practice prices are skyrocketing. And the prices are the most expensive in areas where there's the most amount of saturation like toronto and vancouver. If you do manage to buy a practice in the city, once you pay the bank loan there's zero or negative cash flow. Wish I knew this before going into dental school.

Going rural doesn't necessarily mean it is a rewarding decision. Someone on this forum mentioned that rural and underserved areas are prone to saturation pretty quickly, especially if 1 or 2 dentists move into rural settings where the population is small and stagnating/declining. Also, not everyone can go rural for even a year or two if they have a family in the city, etc. 

Recently, I've heard about a lot of students from the northwest part of the GTA (Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon area) having their parents pay for the full cost of dental education (~400-500k) by using their retirement funds, selling land from back home, re-mortgaging houses, etc. So these students essentially graduate with minimal debt by going to Australia/US/Canadian schools and then settle down quite easily. Combined with the increased number of immigrants coming into Canada (specifically the GTA) with foreign dental degrees and lots of $$$, ultimately this is compounding the saturation issue. A friend of mine went to India recently and all he saw were multiple billboards stating "have a BDS (dental degree), practice in Canada. 3 exams, 20x salary increase, raise your family wealthier". Now that's concerning...

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15 hours ago, McMarauder said:

Corporate dentistry is why Canadian dental class sizes have increased.
Corporate dentistry is why we have reciprocal agreements with the US, AUS, NZ, and Ireland.
Corporate dentistry is why we have a pathway for foreign trained dentists to become licensed after challenging a set of exams.
Corporate dentistry is why tuition has increased over the years, when salaries have not.

The CDA is probably in bed with some of the big corporates.  They're not likely to care...

 

Not surprisingly, DentalCorp/Bupa-DentalCorp is also big in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland...

We’ve had reciprocal agreements with the US many decades and decades before Corporate dentistry was a thing, heck probably even before specialities in dentistry or hygenists existed.

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16 hours ago, Lvl3sonly said:

Even if you take out 350-500k loans, going into dentistry can still be a very financially rewarding decision with a giant caveat that you are perfectly fine with living and working in rural underserved areas. Hell, even going rural for a year or two can make a huge dent in that loan. It's not that difficult to make 300+ as an associate given that you are willing to go up north.

You're right, that's just plain embarrassing. When people decide to enter dental school they all think they are one day going to own a practice, that's certainly what I thought. The reality is that in canada only a minority of dentists will ever become practice owners. Corps are getting bigger and bigger, practice prices are skyrocketing. And the prices are the most expensive in areas where there's the most amount of saturation like toronto and vancouver. If you do manage to buy a practice in the city, once you pay the bank loan there's zero or negative cash flow. Wish I knew this before going into dental school.

The reason practice ownership is next to impossible now is not because of the expansion of dental corps. But because of the increased dentist:population aided by the influx of ITDs. ITDs do not carry anywhere near the debt that Canadian/US/Aus/NZ grads do. This gives them more financial leverage in the eyes of the banks. Most ITDs, on average, seem to be more interested in owning (particularly multipractice ownership) than the average Canadian/US/Aus/NZ grad. Maybe because they’re typically older and have owned a practice in their home country? But the fact that they only have maybe 30-40k debt vs 250-500k debt that the Canadian/US/Aus/NZ grads have is a very understated advantage. No disrespect towards our ITD colleagues, their equivalency exams are tougher than the regular NDEB exams but they do have less liabilities in the eyes of the bank.

 

I don’t understand the desire for Canadian/US to remain practicing in Canada under these current conditions. You make more as a dentist in the US period.

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34 minutes ago, Everclear said:

We’ve had reciprocal agreements with the US many decades and decades before Corporate dentistry was a thing, heck probably even before specialities in dentistry or hygenists existed.

That's true.  But currently, it does facilitate the entry of american dental corporations into the Canadian market (information from my friend who is a corporate lawyer in Toronto who is working out a deal with an American dental corporation that is setting up in BC and Ontario).

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