A Cost Analysis of an Outreach School-Based Dental Program: Teeth on Wheels
journal contributionposted on 12.04.2021, 01:24 by Tan Minh Nguyen, Utsana Tonmukayakul, Hanny Calache
Background: This study evaluated an outreach mobile dental service called Teeth on Wheels (TOW). The dental program targeted Australian children from low household income, who are eligible for the Child Dental Benefits Scheme (CDBS) in Victoria, Australia. The program is complemented with a school-based oral health promotion element. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed with a convenience sample. Children must have had at least three dental examinations during the 2016–2019 calendar years to be included in the study. Comparisons were made between the 2016–17 and 2018–19 calendar years. It was hypothesised that the program would result in reduced costs and the number of restorations and extractions in the latter period. Results: A total of 414 children were included in the analysis. The total mean costs of the program per child reduced from AU$605.3 in 2016–17 to AU$531.1 in 2018–19. The results showed an overall mean reduction in all restorations and extractions performed, but only statistical significance was noted for reductions of restored deciduous teeth. Conclusions: This outreach program, which is focused on prevention and minimally invasive dentistry, can be a promising alternative model of delivery for dental services in young children.