The estimated cost of treating unmet dental restorative needs of Mexican-American children from Southwestern US HHANES, 1982-83

J Public Health Dent. Fall 1991;51(4):195-204. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.1991.tb02215.x.


The dental restorative treatment needs of Mexican-American children, aged 1-17 years, were assessed from the 1982-83 Southwestern US Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HHANES). This report analyzed those needs and applied a dollar cost to them, using 1982 median fees of US general practitioners. The total estimated cost required to meet those needs for the population estimate of 3,396,770 children was $236,856,772 (95% CI: $198,575,174 to $275,138,370). The mean cost per child was $69.73 (SE: 5.75). Although a majority of the children had no unmet need, 15-, 16-, and 17-year-olds had extensive needs for crowns, endodontics, and prosthetic replacement of teeth, with accompanying high costs: mean total cost per examinee was $177 (SE: 28.97), $161 (SE: 32.20), and $237 (SE: 33.26), respectively. The treatment needs were compared with the previously published regional data from the 1979-80 NIDR survey, which used the same dental restorative treatment needs (DRTN) index. The findings indicated a great need for dental treatment among Mexican-American children that appeared to exceed that of the general school-aged population. Our analysis, in providing estimates of the cost of needed treatment, might be useful in planning dental treatment programs and in comparing surveys.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Care / economics*
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / economics*
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / economics*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mexican Americans*
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Oral Health
  • Southwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Tooth
  • Tooth, Deciduous