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J Public Health Dent. 2007 Fall;67(4):191-8.

Four-year cost-utility analyses of sealed and nonsealed first permanent molars in Iowa Medicaid-enrolled children.

Author information

  • 1Department of Community Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Dental sealants, by their ability to prevent caries and maintain teeth in better health, have some inherent utility to individuals, programs, or society. This study assessed the 4-year incremental cost utility of sealing first permanent molars of 6-year-old Iowa Medicaid enrollees from a societal perspective and identified the group of teeth or children in whom sealants are most cost effective.

METHODS:

Dental services for first permanent molars were assessed using claims and encounter data for a group of continuously enrolled Medicaid enrollees who turned 6 between 1996 and 1999. Previously published utilities were used to weight the different health states. The weighted sum of outcomes [Quality-Adjusted Tooth-Years (QATYs)] was the measure of effectiveness. Costs and QATYs were discounted to the time of the child's sixth birthday.

RESULTS:

For all first molars, the cost of treatment associated with sealed teeth was higher but the utility was also slightly higher over the 4-year period. The relative incremental cost per 0.19 QATY ratio [changing the health state from a restored tooth (utility= 0.81) to a nonrestored tooth (utility = 1)] by sealing the molar ranged from $36.7 to $83.5 per 0.19 QATY. The incremental cost/QATY ratio was lower for sealing lower utilizers and for mandibular versus maxillary molars.

CONCLUSIONS:

Sealants improved overall utility of first permanent molars after 4 years. The 4-year cost/QATY ratio of sealing the first permanent molar varied by arch and type of utilizers. Sealing first permanent molars in lower dental utilizers is the most cost-effective approach for prioritizing limited resources.

PMID:
18087989
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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