Objectives: The objective was to compare dental visits, procedures, and expenditures in children with newly diagnosed caries. Study design: A retrospective chart review was conducted in a two dentist private practice in North Carolina. Demographic data, health status, and dental treatment data was collected. Analysis relied upon nearest neighbor matching to estimate the average treatment effects of silver diamine fluoride (SDF) by comparing children who received SDF to children who did not receive SDF (n=104 matches). Results: After matching on age, gender, race, insurance status, dental cooperation, and dmft, the SDF group had significantly more dental visits (average treatment effect on treated (ATET)=1.08), fewer restorations (ATET=2.37), and fewer restorative and overall treatment expenditures (ATET=$402 and $292, respectively) than the non-SDF group. The SDF group more frequently received treatment under general anesthesia (26% vs 7%), so this group was excluded in secondary analysis. Among children who did not receive general anesthesia, the SDF group had significantly more dental visits (ATET=.66), fewer restorations (ATET=2.74), and fewer restorative and overall treatment expenditures (ATET=$566 and $515, respectively) than the non-SDF group. Conclusion: SDF can offer cost savings when used as an adjunct to, rather than a complete replacement for, restorative treatment in young children.

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