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The Dental Discomfort Questionnaire: The basis of a ‘Toothache Traffic Light’


AIM: Firstly to provide an overview of the combined results of the studies done with the Dental Discomfort Questionnaires (DDQ) and second to present a behaviour checklist, a ‘Toothache Traffic Light’, based on the DDQ, which could possibly be used to raise awareness for toothache among parents and healthcare providers and to improve communication. METHODS: A total of 652 DDQ were analysed to compare the prevalence of toothache related behaviours between children without caries, children with caries but without toothache, and children with caries and toothache. The children had a mean age of 44.6 months (SD±10.9). STATISTICS: Chi-square tests were conducted to compare the items of the DDQ between the three groups and predictors of toothache were determined using a binary logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: All items of the DDQ were displayed more often by the children with caries and toothache than by children with only caries or without both caries or toothache. The behaviours: “Reaching for the cheek while eating”, “Pushing away something nice to eat”, “Problems brushing upper or lower teeth” and “Problems chewing” were found to be the most indicative for the presence of toothache. Finally, 7 toothache related behaviours were combined in the checklist. Using the results of this survey the ‘Toothache Traffic Light’ was developed as a possible tool for determining toothache in very young children. CONCLUSIONS: All behaviours together could form a checklist that can possibly teach parents, guardians and teachers which behaviours to look for when they suspect a child to have toothache.

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Correspondence to J. Versloot.

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Versloot, J., Veerkamp, J.S.J. & Hoogstraten, J. The Dental Discomfort Questionnaire: The basis of a ‘Toothache Traffic Light’. Eur Arch Paediatr Dent 10, 67–70 (2009).

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Key words

  • Pain
  • Children
  • Toothache
  • Assessment