Cost of providing a mobile dental service for dependent older people

Hansmartin Spatzier, Angela Stillhart, Anne-Lena Hillebrecht, Gerald McKenna, Murali Srinivasan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background and Objective
Dental care provision in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) is often a problem despite the high demand. LTCF residents would greatly benefit from a concept that provides an onsite dental care. A rational evaluation of the costs to render this service as well as the cost benefits is worth investigating. This study aimed to calculate the costs involved in providing a mobile dental clinic (MDC) service for LTCF residents in Zurich, Switzerland.

Materials and Methods
Cost models for setting up, executing and maintaining an MDC unit were generated. The costs included personnel, equipment/material, maintenance and running costs. The treatment costs were calculated for the treatment in MDC, university-setting dental clinic (UC) and private practice (PP). Hypothetical cost estimates were generated for the return of the invested capital. Costs incurred for the institutions for accommodating the MDC visit were also calculated.

The set-up capital required to start a MDC in Switzerland (for 2020) was approximately around CHF 505'007.90 (Euros 466'576.80) and was around CHF 452'666.48 (Euros 418'218.56) when a dental care professional (DCP) substituted the dentist. The estimated cost savings for an LTCF resident in the MDC were CHF 205.60 (Euros 189.95) when compared to a UC and approximately CHF 226.34 (Euros 209.12) when compared to a PP. With the dentist, the return of the invested capital can be expected by 3 years while it would take around 6 years with the DCP, assuming that the maximum number of patients possible-to-treat are treated every year. The daily running costs for the LTCF for accommodating the MDC visit were approximately CHF 299.04 (Euros 276.28).

Delivery of oral health services for LTCF residents through the use of a MDC service seems to be an effective model for dependent elders with limited access to care. However, the costs of maintaining this service are high with similarly large start-up costs. Future development of this model by utilising dental care professionals may produce cost savings but with a more limited range of services offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-394
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Early online date20 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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