Construction and validation of the quality of life measure for dentine hypersensitivity (DHEQ)

Olga V. Boiko*, Sarah R. Baker, Barry J. Gibson, David Locker, Farzana Sufi, Ashley P S Barlow, Peter G. Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


Historically, the clinical assessment of dentine hypersensitivity (DH) has focused solely on intensity aspects of a pain response after stimulation of exposed dentine. More recent concepts of health shift the focus to the effect of the condition on the lives of those affected. Using well-characterized methods, this study attempted to incorporate these broader psychosocial impacts of DH on everyday life into an oral health-related quality of life (OHQoL) measure that was specific to DH: the Dentine Hypersensitivity Experience Questionnaire (DHEQ).The chapter outlines the stages in the production and initial evaluation of the measure. The results demonstrate that DHEQ can measure meaningful and relevant impacts on the everyday lives of people with DH.Aim: To develop and validate a condition-specific measure of OHQoL for dentine hypersensitivity (DHEQ).Materials and Methods: Questionnaire construction used a multistaged impact approach and an explicit theoretical model. Qualitative and quantitative development and validation included in-depth interviews, focus groups, and cross-sectional questionnaire studies in a general population (. n=160) and a clinical sample (. n=108).Results: An optimized DHEQ questionnaire containing 48 items has been developed to describe the pain, with a scale to capture subjective impacts of DH, a global oral health rating, and a scale to record effects on life overall. The impact scale had high values for internal reliability (nearly all item-total correlations >0.4 and Cronbach's alpha=0.86). Intraclass correlation coefficient for test-retest reliability was 0.92. The impact scale was strongly correlated with global oral health ratings and effects on life overall. These results were similar when DHEQ was validated in a clinical sample.Conclusions: DHEQ shows good psychometric properties in the general population and a clinical sample. Its use can further our understanding of the subjective impacts of dentine sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDentine Hypersensitivity: Developing a Person-centred Approach to Oral Health
PublisherJAI-Elsevier Science Inc
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780128016589, 9780128016312
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2014


  • Cross-sectional validation
  • Dentine hypersensitivity
  • Quality of life

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