Does providing dental services reduce overall health care costs?: A systematic review of the literature

J Am Dent Assoc. 2018 Aug;149(8):696-703.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.adaj.2018.03.023. Epub 2018 Jun 14.


Background: The authors conducted a systematic review of the literature to assess the impact of dental treatment on overall health care costs for patients with chronic health conditions and patients who were pregnant.

Types of studies reviewed: The authors searched multiple databases including MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, and Dentistry & Oral Sciences Source from the earliest date available through May 2017. Two reviewers conducted the initial screening of all retrieved titles and abstracts, read the full text of the eligible studies, and conducted data extraction and quality assessment of included studies.

Results: The authors found only 3 published studies that examined the effect of periodontal treatment on health care costs using medical and dental claims data from different insurance databases. Findings from the qualitative synthesis of those studies were inconclusive as 1 of the 3 studies showed a cost increase, whereas 2 studies showed a decrease.

Conclusions and practical implications: The small number of studies and their mixed outcomes demonstrate the need for high-quality studies to evaluate the effect of periodontal intervention on overall health care costs.

Keywords: Delivery of health care; dental economics; systems integration.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Dental Care*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Pregnancy