Starting from Scratch: A Micro-Costing Analysis for Public Dental Care in Canada

  • Thomas Lange


This paper presents a formulaic approach to micro-costing the expected direct clinical cost of a given public dental program in Canada. A micro-costing approach enables policy leaders to create or radically redesign existing public-sector dental programs by projecting the total cost generated by expected clinical demand. Current public dental plans employ heavy restrictions around the types of dental treatments offered, and the frequency by which a patient may seek treatment. These restrictions result in minimal allocations of public funds, and often result in patients being under-served and dental professionals being under-funded. Using the model described in the paper governments can project the costs of future dental care programming. The two novel programs costed in this paper were a universal dental care program for all Canadian residents (referred to as denticare), and a public dental insurance plan for all Canadian children and uninsured adults (denitcade). Details in the paper are laid out such that if a government was curious about the cost of programs other than the ones described in this study, such as funding preventative services for low-income seniors, then using this micro-costing model could generate a high- low- and baseline estimate for such a program’s annual clinical expenses.

Technical Papers