An economic evaluation of a publicly funded dental prevention programme in regional and rural Victoria: an extrapolated analysis

Community Dent Health. 2000 Sep;17(3):145-51.


Objective: To determine the long-term cost-benefit of a community-wide, publicly-funded dental prevention programme.

Design: A modelled economic analysis which extrapolated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness results of a three-year comprehensive preventive dental programme conducted in a single cohort of adolescents in the non-fluoridated towns of Geelong and Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. Assumptions were made for both benefits and costs. Sensitivity analysis was undertaken to report a range of estimates of potential programme benefits.

Setting: All secondary colleges in two non-fluoridated regional centres and their surrounding rural areas.

Subjects: All Year 7 to 9 students; mean age range of 12.5 to 15.5 years.

Results: The incremental benefit-to-cost ratios under all assumptions improved with each successive year of the community-wide programme and, even with the most conservative of assumptions, the overall ten-year benefit-to-cost ratio was above unity.

Conclusion: While the analysis has inherent limitations as a result of its reliance on a range of assumptions, the findings do suggest that there are benefits to be gained from the implementation of a comprehensive dental preventive programme throughout the secondary school system in non-fluoridated centres comparable to Geelong and Ballarat.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / economics
  • Cariostatic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Cariostatic Agents / economics
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries / economics*
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Fluorides / administration & dosage
  • Fluorides / economics
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Models, Economic*
  • Pit and Fissure Sealants / economics
  • Preventive Dentistry / economics*
  • Program Evaluation / economics
  • Public Health Dentistry / economics*
  • Regional Health Planning / economics
  • Rural Health Services / economics
  • School Dentistry / economics
  • Victoria / epidemiology


  • Cariostatic Agents
  • Pit and Fissure Sealants
  • Fluorides