Canada’s Provincial and Territorial Dental Associations (CPTDA) said it is unclear what dentists are signing up for with the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP). “Dentists and taxpayers alike need the government to address the gaps we have identified and questions we have raised,” said Alberta Dental Association President Dr. Jenny Doerksen in a Thursday press release. “I don’t want any patients to be taken by surprise when they come to my practice.”With the CDCP, Doerksen said it is “not dentists’ fault that the program doesn’t meet the promises the federal government has made to Canadians.” Now that more details of the CDCP have been released, the CPTDA said it is time for the Canadian government to solve the identified problems. It said patients will be surprised to know they might pay out of pocket for fees not covered by the CDCP, including 40% to 60% co-payments for families who earn more than $70,000 per year. When government reimbursement does not cover the full cost of care, some patients will pay the balance. Not all dentists have agreed to participate. Patients will have to search for those who agree to participate, despite unclear terms and conditions set by the Canadian government. It acknowledged it might be tough for patients to receive the care they need, as dentists expect there will be plenty of red tape that might delay care and make this a rough process. Unlike other dental care programs, it said it has inserted processes getting in the way of how patients can access essential oral healthcare and the relationships they might have with their providers. Some of the other questions the Canadian government has not answered are how will it protect private dental insurance, how will the CDCP work with other public dental programs, and how it expects people to know what this means for their dental coverage without addressing legitimate concerns. Based on what has been announced, the CPTDA said it does not know if dentists will choose to participate in it. It asked how can dentists provide informed consent and agree to it without knowing the answers to their questions. It accused Health Canada of rushing out a massive program under unreasonable timeliness. While dentists were consulted and provided advice on building a sustainable dental program, it was at the eleventh hour for it and major gaps and flaws remain. As experts in oral healthcare, the CPTDA pointed out it does not meet most of the principles of A Proposed Framework for the Canadian Dental Care Plan. Since this is a historic initiative, it said it is critical the Canadian government get it right. British Columbia Dental Association President Dr. Rob Wolanski said since he cares about his patients, he is “extremely concerned about the government's lack of clarity and collaboration in this plan.”“Without clear information, dentists cannot make an informed decision on whether or not to participate,” said Wolanski. “This plan cannot succeed if it is carried on the backs of oral healthcare providers; it must be sustainable for patients, dentists and taxpayers.” Manitoba Dental Association President Dr. Daron Baxter said the Canadian government has to create a plan supporting and enriching current systems. “There is a window of opportunity to make the necessary changes to ensure access to quality oral healthcare for all Canadians and we implore the government to take action,” said Baxter.“In 20 years, the makers of the CDCP may have moved on, but many of us will continue to practice dentistry.”The Canadian government announced the CDCP in December, spending $13 billion on the program to provide coverage for routine dentist costs starting in 2024. READ MORE: Trudeau gov’t introduces $13 billion dental care plan for low-income CanadiansIt is for Canadians struggling with dental expenses, particularly those with low incomes.While it will prioritize coverage for children under 18 years old and select seniors, it will expand to include all eligible low- and middle-income Canadians in 2025.