Should compromised first permanent molar teeth in children be routinely removed? A health economics analysis

Risha Sanghvi*, Aisling Cant, Aline de Almeida Neves, Marie Therese Hosey, Avijit Banerjee, Mark Pennington

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of retaining one or more compromised first permanent molars (cFPMs) affected by dental caries or enamel hypomineralization, compared to timely extraction, in children aged 8 years. Methods: A Markov model was developed to simulate the lifetime of a cFPM. Two management strategies were compared: extraction facilitating spontaneous space closure or maintenance of teeth with restorations. Ten health states were utilized to capture long-term outcomes including various tooth restorations, prostheses or a retained gap at the cFPM site. Outcomes were expressed as Quality Adjusted Tooth-Years (QATYs). The model was informed by survey data on patient preferences for treatment outcomes and UK data on costs. Discounted costs and QATYs were calculated over 62 years. Results: Regardless of the number of cFPMs, retaining cFPMs was more effective than early removal, generating an additional 2.3 QATYs per cFPM. Early removal of one or two cFPM under general anaesthetic (GA) was more expensive than retention and hence never cost-effective. Retaining a cFPM was more expensive than early removal under local anaesthesia or where four cFPMs were extracted under GA. In these cases, retaining cFPMs was cost-effective if a QATY was valued at £100 or £35, respectively. Results were robust to sensitivity analysis. Conclusion: Preserving a cFPM was more cost-effective than the early loss of one, or two cFPMs under GA. Preservation of four cFPMs was cost-effective if sufficient value was placed on a QATY. These findings can guide clinical practice on management of cFPMs alongside patient/payer values on maintaining teeth.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunity Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


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