A randomized clinical trial comparing Hall vs conventional technique in placing preformed metal crowns from Sudan
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Despite the high success rates of preformed metal crowns (PMCs) in children no randomized clinical trials compare methods of placement and none describe its use in Africa. Our aim was to compare survival and cost-effectiveness of PMCs placed by conventional techniques (CT) and biological Hall techniques (HT) using a prospective randomized control trial in a general dental practice from Khartoum. One hundred and nine and 103 PMCs were placed in randomly selected children (5-8years) with 1–2 carious primary molars using HT and CT respectively and followed for 2 years. Socioeconomic status, periodontal health, occlusion, anxiety, and procedure time were compared using student t-test. Kaplan–Meier survival rates and incremental cost effectiveness ratio (ICER) were compared between CT and HT. CT and HT groups were similar for age, gender, socio-economic status. Survival rates were high (over 90%) for both study arms and not statistically different (p>0.05). Anxiety scores were significantly higher in CT arm after 12 months compared to HT (p<0.001). Clinically, gingival and plaque indices were similar between groups (p>0.05) but occlusions were raised in nearly all subjects in the HT arm (p<0.05). Periodontal health improved, and occlusions adjusted over time in both arms. There were 3 (2.7%) and 6 (5.8%) minor failures, 7 (6.4%) and 6 (5.8%) major failures in HT and CT arms respectively. Mean procedure time was lower in HT (9.1 min) than CT (33.9 min); p<0.001. Mean PMC cost was US$2.45 and US$7.81 for HT and CT respectively. The ICER was US$136.56 more for each PMC placed by CT per life year. We show that PMCs have high survival outcomes in disadvantaged populations similar to results from developed countries. As HT can be carried out by less experienced dental operators and therapists, this biological approach provides a promising cost-effective option to manage caries in developing countries with limited resources. Trial registration: The trial is registered at clinicaltrials.gov. ClinicalTrial.gov Trial Registration: NCT03640013