The relevance of health state utilities to lower third molar surgery.
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A study of the attitudes of 102 arts and science undergraduate students was carried out to establish relative utility values, that is the participants own assessments, for possible outcomes of surgical intervention and non-intervention in lower third molar management. Using a standardised visual analogue scale, respondents were asked to rate 17 outcomes of treatment presented to them by means of short descriptions (vignettes). Ranking of mean utility values showed that post operative complications were considered to be a greater handicap than the sequelae of leaving third molars in situ. The respondents considered that the effects of irreversible lingual and inferior dental nerve damage reduced health to a major degree, and that normally encountered post operative complications such as moderate pain, swelling and trismus were a greater handicap than recurrent mild/moderate pericoronitis.
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