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Pain. 2005 Dec 15;119(1-3):75-81. Epub 2005 Nov 16.

Development and validation of a dental pain-screening questionnaire.

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Centre for Adult Oral Health, Institute of Dentistry, Barts and The London, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of London, Turner Street, London E1 2AD, UK.


Dental pain, estimated to affect 12-40% of community-dwelling adults, is a symptom of a wide range of clinical conditions. A population screening instrument is needed to study their prevalence. This project aimed to develop a questionnaire for classifying a sample of dental pain patients into three groups of common dental pain conditions, i.e. Group 1 (Acute periapical periodontitis and Irreversible pulpitis), Group 2 (Reversible pulpitis and Dentine hypersensitivity) and Group 3 (Pericoronitis). Initial items were generated through a literature review, individual unstructured patient interviews and consultation with experts. Items generated were administered to a sample of dental pain patients for self-completion. Responses were subjected to a series of factor and discriminant analyses to identify questions capable of differentiating the sample into three groups, originally categorized by clinical diagnosis, with high classification rates. The selected items were administered to a further sample of dental pain patients to test for its sensitivity and specificity in classifying the sample into three groups against the gold standard of clinical diagnosis. The final 16-item Dental Pain Questionnaire (DePaQ) was capable of correctly classifying 89.7% of dental pain cases initially categorized by clinical diagnoses. The sensitivity of the questionnaire was 0.80-Group z1, 0.85-Group 2 and 0.59-Group 3. Specificity was 0.83-Group A1, 0.89-Group A2 and 0.90-Group 3. The DePaQ, which can easily be administered by non-clinical personnel, may be used to collect epidemiological data on common dental pain conditions, assess dental needs for a specified population, and triage of patients seeking treatment for dental pain.

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