Associations between dental treatment in the primary and permanent dentitions using insurance claims data

Pediatr Dent. 2000 Nov-Dec;22(6):469-74.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the associations between dental treatment in the early primary dentition and later treatment in the primary and permanent teeth.

Methods: Delta Dental Plan of Michigan insurance claims data on 9,886 children who were born in 1990 and were covered by dental insurance from 1990-1998 were used. Risk ratios (RR), screening test measures of sensitivity (SN) and specificity (SP), and evidence-based dentistry research measures of Likelihood Ratio (LR) and Number Needed to Treat (NTT) were calculated.

Results: Primary anterior tooth treatment at ages 0-3 was weakly associated (RR = 1.43, 95% C.I. = 1.23, 1.65) with treatment of the permanent first molars at ages 6-8 and had SN, SP, LR, and NNT values of 7.4, 95.3, 1.57, and 12 respectively. Primary posterior tooth treatment at ages 4-8 was more strongly associated with future permanent first molar treatment with a RR of 2.44 (95% C.I. = 2.26, 2.64) and SN, SP, LR, and NNT values of 65.9, 61.7, 1.72, and 6.

Conclusions: For this population, early childhood treatment in the primary anterior teeth was a weak predictor of future permanent first molar treatment. Primary posterior teeth treatment, while still not a strong predictor, was better than primary anterior teeth in predicting permanent tooth treatment. Caries treatment at ages 4-8 in the primary teeth was better than treatment at ages 0-3 in predicting permanent first molar treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cuspid
  • Dental Care for Children / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dental Caries / therapy
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Incisor
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Insurance, Dental / statistics & numerical data*
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Molar
  • Odds Ratio
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • Tooth*
  • Tooth, Deciduous*