Objective: There is a potential cost saving to be made within the NHS by providing simple interceptive treatment rather than comprehensive treatment at a later date. The focus of this study is to determine the size of this potential cost by looking at the cost to NHS Tayside for the provision of interceptive treatment for cessation of thumb sucking and where this has been unsuccessful (or not provided) the costs of correction of the associated malocclusion. Design: A cost analysis is described, investigating the costs of treatment solely to the NHS, both in the primary and secondary setting. Methods: Three potential treatment pathways are identified with the costs calculated for each pathway. The actual cost of providing this treatment in NHS Tayside, and the potential cost saving in Tayside if there was a change in clinical practice are calculated. Both discounting of costs and a sensitivity analysis are performed. Results: The cost to NHS Tayside of current practice was calculated to be between £123,710 and £124,930 per annum. Change in practice to replace use of a removable with a fixed habit breaker for the interceptive treatment of thumb sucking reduced the calculated cost to between £99,581 and £105,017. Conclusion: A saving could be made to the NHS, both locally and nationally, if the provision of a removable habit breaker was changed to a fixed habit breaker. In addition, increasing the proportion receiving active treatment, in the form of a fixed habit breaker, rather than monitoring, would appear to further reduce the cost to the NHS considerably.
Borrie, F. R. P., Elouafkaoui, P., & Bearn, D. R. (2013). A Scottish cost analysis of interceptive orthodontics for thumb sucking habits. Journal of Orthodontics, 40(2), 145-154. https://doi.org/10.1179/1465313312Y.0000000028