AAPHD Weekly Health Policy Fact

In a recent Journal of Public Health Dentistry article, researchers analyzed the potential economic impact of caries treatment with silver diamine fluoride (SDF) for young children on Medicaid.

The authors compared the standard restorative treatment for caries to arresting and averting the lesion with SDF, and assessed the frequency and cost of both procedures. They analyzed seven states where Medicaid currently reimburses for SDF treatment, and projected the visits and costs saved based on various possible levels of SDF use.

Their analysis shows the usage of SDF is associated with a possible reduction in expenditures of $36-$500 per averted restorative procedure and level of SDF usage by the state.

The economic benefit of using SDF for arresting caries in children could be an important piece of information to share with lawmakers when advocating for Medicaid coverage of such procedure. At the time of the article, SDF was covered in only 7 states, with Massachusetts being one.