Dental discomfort questionnaire: its use with children with a learning disability

Judith Versloot, Emma Hall-Scullin, Jaap S.J. Veerkamp, Ruth Freeman

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    Abstract

    This study investigated whether the behaviors from the Dental Discomfort Questionnaire (DDQ) could help identify toothaches in children with a learning disability, who have a limited capacity to self-report. The objectives were to examine whether the behaviors from the DDQ occur more often in children with a learning disability who have caries and a toothache than in children who do not have caries and a toothache; and secondly, to examine whether two additional items increase the specificity and sensitivity of the DDQ to recognize a toothache, in this particular population of children with a learning disability. The DDQ was completed by a convenience sample of 58 parents on behalf of their children: 31% girls, aged between 6 and 13 years (mean = 7.5, SD = 2.7). Of the total group, 26% (n = 15) suffered from a toothache and 43% (n = 25) had carious teeth. Children with caries and a toothache had a significantly higher mean DDQ score and displayed more toothache-related behaviors (e.g., problems with chewing, problems with brushing teeth) than children without caries or toothache. The DDQ seems to be a functional and easy-to-use instrument to alert parents to the presence of a toothache in this specific group of children with a learning disability.

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