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Economic Impact of Regulating the Use of Amalgam Restorations *

SYNOPSIS
Objective. This article estimates the financial impact of a ban on amalgam
restorations for selected population groups: the entire population, children, and children and women of childbearing age. Methods. Using claim and enrollment data from Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana and the American Dental Association Survey of Dental Services Rendered, we estimated the per capita use and annual rate of change in amalgam restorations for each age, gender, and socioeconomic subgroup. We used population projections to obtain national estimates of amalgam use, and the dental component of the Consumer Price Index to estimate the annual rate of change in fees. We then calculated the number of dental amalgams affected by the regulation, and the fees for each of the years 2005 to 2020.
Results. If amalgam restorations are banned for the entire population, the average price of restorations before 2005 and after the ban would increase $52 from $278 to $330, and total expenditures for restorations would increase from $46.2 billion to $49.7 billion. As the price of restorations increases, there would be 15,444,021 fewer restorations inserted per year. The estimated first-year impact of banning dental amalgams in the entire population is an increase in expenditures of $8.2 billion.
Conclusions. An amalgam ban would have a substantial short- and long-term impact on increasing expenditures for dental care, decreasing utilization, and increasing untreated disease. Based on the available evidence, we believe that state legislatures should seriously consider these effects when contemplating possible restrictions on the use of amalgam restorations.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 09-02-2009
Authors: Tryfon Beazoglou, PhDa, Stephen Eklund, DDS, DrPHb, Dennis Heffley, PhDc, Jonathan Meiers, DMDd, L. Jackson Brown, DDS, PhDe, Howard Bailit, DMD, PhDf
Source: Public Health Reports / September–October 2007 / Volume 122