Earlier periodontal treatment leads to lower medical costs

Chronic conditions such as diabetes mellitus (DM), coronary artery disease (CAD), and cerebrovascular disease (CVD) have been associated with periodontal disease. These conditions can be extremely costly to treat, and it has been unclear if earlier periodontal treatment could lead to a reduction in overall risk and medical expenditures.

Today, at the 35th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research, a team of investigators from the Columbia University School of Dental & Oral Surgery (New York, NY) and Aetna Dental (Pittsburgh, PA) reported findings from a study that investigated the effect of early periodontal treatment on Per Member Per Month (PMPM) costs for DM, CAD, and CVD, in a population of 144,225 patients with both medical and dental insurance.

Periodontal care appeared to have a sequencing effect on the cost of medical care in this two-year study (2001, 2002), with earlier treatment resulting in lower medical costs for DM, CVD, and CAD. The PMPM expenditures were lower for DM and CAD if periodontal disease treatment commenced in the first year of the two-year study. There were significant differences in PMPM expenditures for enrollees in the 2001 and 2002 groups when compared with those who did not receive periodontal treatment and received only dental maintenance procedures.

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This is a summary of abstract #58, "The Effect of Periodontal Treatment on Medical Costs", by D.A. Albert, P. Papapanou, M.L. Conicella, and D. Sadowsky, of the Columbia University School of Dental & Oral Surgery (New York, NY, USA) and Aetna Dental (Pittsburgh, PA, USA), to be presented at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, 2006, in Northern Hemisphere A-2 of the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, during the 35th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research.


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