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Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 1992 Oct;20(5):269-73.

Assessment of dental health state utilities.

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  • 1Department of Dental Health, Dental School, University of Dundee, Scotland.


The term "health state utility" implies the assigning of a numerical value to a state of health. Assessment of the success of health care procedures, using health state utilities, enables evaluation of available treatments and procedures in terms of differing health outcomes and therefore facilitates cost-benefit analyses. Although measurement of general health state utilities has become increasingly common in medicine using a variety of techniques, few attempts have as yet been made in dentistry to place valuations on different dental health states. The absence of tried and tested methods for measuring tooth quality make the benefits gained from preventive and restorative dental programmes difficult to quantify. The aim of this study was to assess the average utility values, held by a group of dentists and a group of members of the general public, for four different tooth states which it was hypothesised would have different values. These were 1) a decayed and painful posterior tooth; 2) a decayed and non-painful posterior tooth; 3) a posterior tooth which had been restored and would need further restorative treatment and 4) a permanently restored posterior tooth. A standard gamble questionnaire was used to elicit the utility values which were then substituted as "weightings" in a modified version of the "T-health" index (1). The results show that it is possible to assess dental health state utility values using the standard gamble method and that the average utility values of the dentists in the study were consistently higher than those of the general public.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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