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Costs and prices of single dental fillings in Europe: a micro-costing study


  • Siok Swan Tan

    (Institute for Medical Technology Assessment, Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

  • W. Ken Redekop

    (Institute for Medical Technology Assessment, Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Frans F. H. Rutten


Dental fillings represent an established procedure to treat tooth decay. The present paper provides a cost comparison of dental filling procedures across nine European countries. More specifically, the paper aims to estimate the costs and prices (i.e. reimbursement fees) of a single dental filling procedure in an approximately 12-year-old child with a toothache in a lower molar who presents at a dental practice, as described in a case vignette. Both amalgam and composite fillings were examined. Total costs were determined by identifying resource use and unit costs for the following cost components: diagnostic procedures, labour, materials, drugs, and overheads. Altogether, 49 practices provided data for the cost calculations. Mean total costs per country varied considerably, ranging from €8 to €156. Labour costs were the most important cost driver in all practices, comprising 58% of total costs. Overhead costs were the second-most important cost component in the majority of countries. Actual cost differences across practices within countries were relatively small. Cost variations between countries were primarily due to differences in unit costs, especially for labour and overheads, and only to a lesser extent to differences in resource use. Finally, cost estimates for a single dental filling procedure based on reimbursement fees led to an underestimation of the total costs by approximately 50%. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Siok Swan Tan & W. Ken Redekop & Frans F. H. Rutten, 2008. "Costs and prices of single dental fillings in Europe: a micro-costing study," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(S1), pages 83-93.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:17:y:2008:i:s1:p:s83-s93 DOI: 10.1002/hec.1326

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jonas Schreyögg & Oliver Tiemann & Tom Stargardt & Reinhard Busse, 2008. "Cross-country comparisons of costs: the use of episode-specific transitive purchasing power parities with standardised cost categories," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(S1), pages 95-103.
    2. Miika Linna, 1998. "Measuring hospital cost efficiency with panel data models," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(5), pages 415-427.
    3. Reinhard Busse & Jonas Schreyögg & Peter C. Smith, 2008. "Variability in healthcare treatment costs amongst nine EU countries - results from the Health BASKET project," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(S1), pages 1-8.
    4. Nigel Rice & Andrew Jones, 1997. "Multilevel models and health economics," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(6), pages 561-575.
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    Cited by:

    1. Majo, M.C., 2010. "A microeconometric analysis of health care utilization in Europe," Other publications TiSEM 1cf5fd2f-8146-4ef8-8eb5-e, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    2. Majo, Maria Cristina & van Soest, Arthur, 2012. "Income and health care utilization among the 50+ in Europe and the US," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 28(4), pages 3-22.

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