Title: Dental Discomfort Questionnaire: predicting toothache in preverbal children
Abstract: Aim In the present study the value of the Dental Discomfort Questionnaire in predicting toothache in young children is analysed. Methods The Dental Discomfort Questionnaire (DDQ-8; Cronbach’s alpha 0.75) was completed by parents on behalf of their children (N=99; mean age 47 months). Half of the children were referred to a special dental care centre and the other half were controls from a day care centre. Results The behaviours from the DDQ-8 appeared to be more often present in those children with decayed teeth and toothache than in those without decayed teeth or toothache. A score of 3 or higher on the DDQ-8 seemed the best cut-off point to predict toothache in children. The receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) showed that the DDQ-8 has predictive value for toothache. Statistics The validity of the DDQ-8 was expressed as sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value and negative predictive value. The DDQ’s ability to discriminate between patients with and without toothache was estimated by the area under the ROC area of the questionnaire. Conclusions The DDQ-8 could be helpful for parents, non-dental healthcare workers and researchers in predicting the existence of toothache in preverbal children.