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Oral Health & Preventive Dentistry

Edited by Prof. Dr. Jean-François Roulet, Prof. Dr. Dr. Niklaus P. Lang, Prof. Dr. Palle Holmstrup

Official journal of the Academy of Minimally Invasive Dentistry, the World Congress of Microdentistry, and the European Society of Preventive Dentistry

ISSN (print) 1602-1622 • ISSN (online) 1757-9996


Winter 2008
Volume 6 , Issue 4

Pages: 263-269
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Validity of Self-Assessment of Oral Health Among 15-Year-Olds in Tehran, Iran

Yazdani, Reza / Vehkalahti, Miira M. / Nouri, Mahtab / Murtomaa, Heikki

Purpose: The objective of the present study was to compare the self-assessed and the clinically determined findings of oral health and their determinants among 15-year-olds in Tehran, Iran. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study based on World Health Organization criteria and the methods of the Second International Collaborative Study was carried out among the 15-year-olds (N = 509). The data were based on a self-administered questionnaire and a clinical dental examination. Results: Altogether 78% of the 15-year-olds assessed their oral health as good or better. Based on self-assessment, 46% reported gingival bleeding, 28% reported the need for a filling and 23% for teeth straightening. Clinical examinations showed that 40% of the students had sound dentition (decayed, missing or filled teeth, DMFT = 0), 40% had current caries (decayed teeth, DT > 0), 92% had gingival bleeding and 26% had a definite need for orthodontic treatment. Most of those with DMFT = 0 and DT = 0 assessed their oral health as good or better. Compared with clinical findings, sensitivity for self-assessed need for fillings, gingival bleeding and the need for teeth straightening were 42%, 49% and 37%, respectively, whereas the corresponding specificities were 82%, 80% and 81%, respectively. Good or better selfperceived oral health was more likely among those with sound dentition (odds ratio, OR = 2.1, P = 0.01), with no selfassessed need for fillings (OR = 2.1, P = 0.01), with a self-assessed absence of gingival bleeding (OR = 2.9, P < 0.001) or with highly educated parents (OR = 1.2, P = 0.007). Conclusions: When compared with clinical evaluations, the students most accurately detected healthy conditions. Educating the students on the signs of dental diseases could increase the reliability of self-assessment to provide a useful method for reporting oral conditions, especially in countries with developing oral health care systems.

Keywords: adolescents, self-assessment, sensitivity, specificity, validity

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