Research | Published:

Practitioner evaluation of an online oral health and risk assessment tool for young patients

BDJ volume 223, pages 595599 (27 October 2017) | Download Citation


Aim To test the validity and acceptability of an online oral health assessment and biofeedback tool for young patients (under 17) for use in general dental practice.

Methods A convenience sample of thirteen practitioners were recruited to test the functionality of a novel version of the Denplan PreViser Patient Assessment tool (DEPPA) developed for young patients (YDEPPA). Dentists who had completed eight or more assessments during a one month window were sent a link to an online feedback survey, comprising eight statements about YDEPPA, with scoring options of 0–10, where a score of 10 indicated complete agreement with the relevant questions. Verbatim comments were encouraged. The clinical data submitted were held in a central database in an encrypted format so that only the user practice could identify individual patients.

Results Twelve practitioners completed eight or more assessments and were included in the survey. A total of 175 patient assessments were received. Ten practitioners completed the on-line survey. The statement 'YDEPPA produces a valid measurement of each patient's oral health' received an average feedback score of 8.8. The statement 'The full YDEPPA report is a valuable communication aid' received a score of 9.6. Feedback was generally very positive with all scores >8.2. Constructive critical feedback was received for the caries risk aspect of the YDEPPA protocol, with suggestions made for improving objectivity of data inputs. Eighty-one percent of the verbatim comments received were positive.

Conclusions Once the caries risk issues raised by pilot dentists have been addressed, YDEPPA appears suitable as a pragmatic analytical and biofeedback tool for use in general dental practice to assess the oral health of young patients, and to facilitate education and engagement of young patients and their parents/carers in positive health behaviours.

Key points

  • Introduces, through a favourable pilot study, enhanced functionality to the Denplan PreViser Patient Assessment on line tool (DEPPA). This enhancement provides evidence-based support in communicating oral health status and risk with young patients (under 17) and their parents/carers.

  • Incorporates numerical oral health status and risk scoring, which is intended to facilitate the audit of individual patient progress. In time it is planned that benchmarked group audit will become available, so that the progress of oral health policies can be monitored.

  • Opens the possibility of using oral health status and risk scores in order to band young patients for capitation fee guidance.

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Author information


  1. Dental Advisor Denplan. Hon Lecturer in Primary Dental Care University of Birmingham, The Stables, Heritage Ct, Clifton Reynes, Olney, MK46 5FW

    • M. Busby
  2. Consultant in Paediatric Dentistry, Clarendon Way, Leeds, LS2 9LU

    • S. Fayle
  3. Managing Director Oral Health Innovations Ltd, Birmingham Research Park, Vincent Drive, Birmingham, B15 2SQ

    • L. Chapple
  4. Head of Dental Policy Denplan Ltd, Denplan Court, Victoria Road, Winchester, SO23 7RG

    • H. Clover
  5. Professor of Periodontology and Consultant in Restorative Dentistry Head of School of Dentistry and Periodontal Research Group, College of Medical and Dental Sciences and Birmingham Community Healthcare Foundation Trust, Birmingham Dental School, 5 Mill Pool Way, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B5 7EG

    • I. Chapple


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Correspondence to M. Busby.

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