Does Treatment of Oral Disease Reduce the Costs of Medical Care?

Marjorie Jeffcoat, DMD; Nipul K. Tanna, DMD, MS; Clay Hedlund, DDS; Michael S. Hahn, DDS; Miles Hall, DDS, MBA; Robert J. Genco, DDS, PhD


October 19, 2011

In This Article

Summary of Findings

The time for isolating diseases of the oral cavity from the rest of the body has long passed. Clearly, long-term healthcare costs are significant for a chronic disease such as diabetes with oral disease complications. In 2008, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) reported that diabetes was among the 10 most expensive diseases and chronic conditions in the United States.[2,17]

The ADA also estimates that an average of $11,744 is spent per year for the care of a patient with diabetes, whereas only $3145 to $5872 is estimated to be spent on patients who do not have diabetes.[2,17]In this study, an average of $10,672 was spent for medical care for patients with diabetes who did not have periodontal treatment. These costs are comparable to the ADA's estimates. The ADA data provide evidence of the reliability of our estimates of medical care costs.

We found an average reduction of $2483 per year per patient, or an average savings of 23%, with periodontal treatment. Therefore, treatment of periodontal disease could make a significant contribution in containing healthcare costs, especially in patients with diabetes. These results, if found to be similar in other populations, provide a basis for coordinated care of patients with both diabetes and periodontal disease.


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