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Use of patient self-report oral health outcome measures in assessment of dental treatment outcomes.

Wright WG, Jones JA, Spiro A, Rich SE, Kressin NR. Use of patient self-report oral health outcome measures in assessment of dental treatment outcomes. Journal of public health dentistry. 2009 Nov 11; 69(2):95-103.

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OBJECTIVE: To assess the sensitivity of a newly developed brief measure of oral health-related quality of life (OQOL). METHODS: Self-assessed oral health and OQOL were measured in three groups of patients who had presented for either prophylaxis (n = 32), endodontic care (n = 15), or for a denture (n = 16) in a dental school setting before and after treatment. Main outcome measures included the single-item self-report of oral health (OH-1) and the 6- and 12-item versions of a new OQOL instrument. General linear modeling was used to compute means of self-reported oral health by treatment group. RESULTS: Of the 63 patients who completed the baseline questionnaire, 44 (70 percent) returned questionnaires after treatment. The sample averaged 43 +/- 15 years, 48 percent male and 55 percent with some college education. Ethnic representation included 35 percent White, 33 percent Black, and 32 percent other - mostly Latino. The mean self-reported number of teeth was 20.6. In terms of sensitivity, significant differences were observed between the treatment groups on the items assessing being upset (P < 0.05), feeling depressed (P < 0.05), and uncomfortable about the appearance of teeth or dentures (P < 0.05). However, magnitude of change, as measured by an effect size, was characterized as minimal to small in the recall and endodontic groups and borderline moderate in the denture group. CONCLUSION: The measure was sensitive to differences within groups, with a small to borderline magnitude of change.

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