Dental fillings represent an established procedure to treat tooth decay. The present paper provides a cost comparison of dental filling procedures across nine European countries. More specifically, the paper aims to estimate the costs and prices (i.e. reimbursement fees) of a single dental filling procedure in an approximately 12-year-old child with a toothache in a lower molar who presents at a dental practice, as described in a case vignette. Both amalgam and composite fillings were examined. Total costs were determined by identifying resource use and unit costs for the following cost components: diagnostic procedures, labour, materials, drugs, and overheads. Altogether, 49 practices provided data for the cost calculations. Mean total costs per country varied considerably, ranging from €8 to €156. Labour costs were the most important cost driver in all practices, comprising 58% of total costs. Overhead costs were the second-most important cost component in the majority of countries. Actual cost differences across practices within countries were relatively small. Cost variations between countries were primarily due to differences in unit costs, especially for labour and overheads, and only to a lesser extent to differences in resource use. Finally, cost estimates for a single dental filling procedure based on reimbursement fees led to an underestimation of the total costs by approximately 50%. Copyright

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Health Economics
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Tan, S.S, Redekop, W.K, & Rutten-van Mölken, M.P.M.H. (2008). Costs and prices of single dental fillings in Europe. Health Economics, 17(SUPPL. 1). doi:10.1002/hec.1326