Trends in the utilization of dental outpatient services affected by the expansion of health care benefits in South Korea to include scaling: A 6-year interrupted time-series study

Hee Jung Park, Jun Hyup Lee, Sujin Park, Tae Il Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: This study utilized a strong quasi-experimental design to test the hypothesis that the implementation of a policy to expand dental care services resulted in an increase in the usage of dental outpatient services. Methods: A total of 45,650,000 subjects with diagnoses of gingivitis or advanced periodontitis who received dental scaling were selected and examined, utilizing National Health Insurance claims data from July 2010 through November 2015. We performed a segmented regression analysis of the interrupted time-series to analyze the time-series trend in dental costs before and after the policy implementation, and assessed immediate changes in dental costs. Results: After the policy change was implemented, a statistically significant 18% increase occurred in the observed total dental cost per patient, after adjustment for age, sex, and residence area. In addition, the dental costs of outpatient gingivitis treatment increased immediately by almost 47%, compared with a 15% increase in treatment costs for advanced periodontitis outpatients. This policy effect appears to be sustainable. Conclusions: The introduction of the new policy positively impacted the immediate and long-term outpatient utilization of dental scaling treatment in South Korea. While the policy was intended to entice patients to prevent periodontal disease, thus benefiting the insurance system, our results showed that the policy also increased treatment accessibility for potential periodontal disease patients and may improve long-term periodontal health in the South Korean population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Periodontal and Implant Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 1



  • Dental scaling
  • Health policy
  • Health services accessibility
  • Insurance benefits
  • Outpatients
  • Periodontal diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Periodontics

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