Snowden, Cecelia B.
; Miller, Ted R.
; Jensen, Alan F.; and Lawrence, Bruce A. Public Health Reports
, vol. 118, pgs. 10-7 (2003)Objectives: Determining the magnitude of the burden of diseases and health disorders on the United States population is a high priority for health policy-makers. Conditions such as malignant neoplasms and injuries from craniofacial trauma contribute to adverse oral health. This study estimates the incidence and cost of diseases and disorders relevant to oral health that were treated in the medical as opposed to the dental care system. Policy-makers can use this cost model to compare the impact of different conditions, to target areas for reducing costs, and to allocate appropriate health resources.
Methods: Four national and two state data systems were used to estimate the number, medical costs, and wages/household work loss costs of selected dental, oral, and craniofacial diseases and conditions treated in the medical system.
Results: Per case, the most costly conditions were malignant neoplasms at $83,080 (in 1999 dollars), diabetes-related oral conditions at $51,030, endocarditis at $48,610, and chlamydiae at $41,100. Total estimated costs for oral conditions treated in the medical care system in 1996 exceeded $95 billion. That total included $21 billion in medical cost and $74 billion in wage/household work loss. Symptoms of the head and neck accounted for about 40 percent of the total costs. Medical treatment accounted for one fourth of the total health care and work loss costs for dental and other craniofacial conditions.
Discussion: Conditions treated outside the dental care system are major contributors to oral health costs. They should be an important focus for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.