Preference based measurements in dentistry: a review of the literature and recommendations for research.
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Clinical outcomes are used routinely in dental clinical practice to determine whether or not a patient has exhibited improvement following treatment. While these measures can be useful in comparing therapies in disease specific terms, they do not incorporate outcomes which may be of interest to patients. Preference based outcome measurements, on the other hand, take into account an individual's life style, overall well being and economic resources. There is a number of preference based measures available from the medical field, many of which have been adapted for use in a dental setting. This paper outlines the strengths and weaknesses of these preference based measures, using examples from the dental literature when available. Particular emphasis is placed on an economic tool known as contingent valuation or 'willingness to pay' as a potential technique in the measurement of dental preferences.
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