Objectives: University-led dental clinics are rarely seen as core to the national healthcare system. Thus, when publicly funded universities experience a decline in government support, dental clinic services operated by students are confronted by a potentially inadequate operating budget. Prompted by the need for strategic resource allocation, this study seeks to quantify the resources consumed in the construction of complete dentures by undergraduate students in an effort to identify opportunities for cost-cutting measures. Methods: Clinical cases were retrieved from the logbooks of graduating students of Class 2015, and patient records were reviewed to identify and quantify all clinical and laboratory procedures involved in constructing a set of complete dentures. Cost estimation was carried out using the activity-based method on the basis of direct medical costs. Results: A total of 83 patient records were reviewed. The average number of visits required to fabricate a set of complete dentures was 10 (range, 6–20 visits) with an average total cost of MYR2131±538 (€450±114). The number of visits contributed substantially to the total cost, and procedures requiring multiple visits included secondary impression and jaw relation recording. The major cost components were dental equipment (44%), laboratory costs (28%), dental consumables (17%), salaries (7%), and dental instruments (3%). Conclusion: The operating cost for training students in denture fabrication is substantial. Schools should formulate strategies to reduce the number of patient visits by ensuring that students optimize the time spent per visit. A financially sustainable model to fund dental training is necessary to ensure that quality of care is not compromised in university-led clinics.
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