Our aim was to evaluate patients’ perceptions and their responsiveness to a generic quality of life (QoL) scale after removal of mandibular third molars. We asked 40 consecutive patients who met NICE guidelines for removal of third molars to rank items from the generic EuroQuol three-dimensional questionnaire (EQ 5D 3L) and the disease-specific Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14) based on what they perceived to be important outcomes. Each item was then assigned a numerical value that depended on its rank, and an overall score calculated. Fifty consecutive patients were then invited to complete a paper-based EQ 5D 3L QoL questionnaire daily for seven days after removal of third molars. Most of the generic QoL items ranked more highly than disease-specific ones. The generic EQ 5D 3L questionnaire indicated an initial fall in QoL after removal of the teeth, before improving for all participants over the first seven postoperative days. The responses to questions about “overall QoL”, “pain/discomfort”, and “anxiety/depression” in the EQ 5D 3L tool were strongly correlated. The EQ 5D 3L is used to assess fluctuations in QoL during the early postoperative period after removal of third molars, and describes items that are perceived by patients to be more important than those recorded by the disease-specific OHIP-14 QoL questionnaire. It is therefore more relevant for counselling patients preoperatively. Development of measures of early outcomes after removal of third molars should incorporate generic items to remain useful.
- Third molar extraction
- Quality of life
- Patient reported outcome measures