Methods and preliminary findings of a cost-effectiveness study of glass-ionomer-based and composite resin sealant materials after 2 yr

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The cost-effectiveness of glass-carbomer, conventional high-viscosity glass-ionomer cement (HVGIC) [without or with heat (light-emitting diode (LED) thermocuring) application], and composite resin sealants were compared after 2 yr in function. Estimated net costs per sealant were obtained from data on personnel time (measured with activity sampling), transportation, materials, instruments and equipment, and restoration costs for replacing failed sealants from a community trial involving 7- to 9-yr-old Chinese children. Cost data were standardized to reflect the placement of 1,000 sealants per group. Outcomes were the differences in the number of dentine caries lesions that developed between groups. The average sealant application time ranged from 5.40 min (for composite resin) to 8.09 min (for LED thermocured HVGIC), and the average cost per sealant for 1,000 performed per group (simulation sample) ranged from $US3.73 (for composite resin) to $US7.50 (for glass-carbomer). The incremental cost-effectiveness of LED thermocured HVGIC to prevent one additional caries lesion per 1,000 sealants performed was $US1,106 compared with composite resin. Sensitivity analyses showed that differences in the cost of materials across groups had minimal impact on the overall cost. Cost and effectiveness data enhance policymakers’ ability to address issues of availability, access, and compliance associated with poor oral-health outcomes, particularly when large numbers of children are excluded from care, in economies where oral health services are still developing.

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