Framework for Fiscal Impact Analysis of Managing Initial Caries Lesions with Noninvasive Therapies

Published 11/14/2023

Which is more cost-effective to treat initial caries lesions — traditional restoration or noninvasive therapies?

A study in the Journal of the American Dental Association finds that several noninvasive caries therapies improve outcomes for patients and are more cost-effective for payors and clinicians. 

The study, co-authored by researchers at CareQuest Institute and CareQuest Innovation Partners, a for-profit subsidiary of CareQuest Institute, compares silver diamine fluoride, self-assembling peptide P11-4, and glass ionomer sealants to traditional surgical dental restorations to treat initial caries lesions. Study results showed that per-chair profitability was 4-6 times higher with noninvasive scenarios due to increased efficiencies. 

While 94% of US dentists report restoring initial lesions, “Noninvasive therapies provide a treatment option that empowers dental teams to heal the first signs of disease,” say the authors.

Dental and Medical Billing Codes for Noninvasive Therapies

According to the authors, clinical effectiveness and new billing codes are accelerating the trend towards noninvasive therapies and removing barriers to adoption. Billing codes mentioned in the article include:

  • Dental (CDT) Code:    D2991  Application of hydroxyapatite regeneration medicament.
  • Medical (CPT) Code:  0792T  Silver diamine fluoride for dental caries.

Read the cover article in the Journal of the American Dental Association (open access).  

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