Identification and appraisal of outcome measures used to evaluate hypodontia care: A systematic review

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Abstract

Introduction

Identification and appraisal of the outcome measures that have been used to evaluate hypodontia treatment and deliver services are essential for improving care. A lack of alignment between outcomes and patient values can limit the scope for patient-centered care. Our objectives were to identify and appraise the outcomes selected to evaluate hypodontia care.

Methods

Data sources included 10 electronic databases and grey literature, searched using terms for hypodontia and its treatment methods. Study eligibility included mixed study designs to ensure comprehensive identification of outcomes, excluding case reports and case series with fewer than 10 participants and nonsystematic reviews. Participants and interventions involved people with hypodontia receiving any dental treatment to manage their hypodontia. Simulated treatment, purely laboratory-based interventions, and future treatments still in development were excluded. Research outcomes were identified and synthesised into 4 categories: clinical indicators, and patient-reported, clinician-reported, and lay-reported outcomes. No synthesis of efficacy data was planned, and consequently no methodologic quality appraisal of the studies was undertaken.

Results

The search identified 497 abstracts, from which 106 eligible articles were retrieved in full. Fifty-six studies and 8 quality-improvement reports were included. Clinical indicators were reported in 49 studies (88%) including appearance, function, dental health, treatment longevity, treatment success and service delivery. Patient-reported outcomes were given in 22 studies (39%) including oral health-related quality of life, appearance, function, symptoms of temporomandibular dysfunction, and patient experience. Clinician-reported outcomes were limited to appearance. Variability was seen in the tools used for measuring outcomes.

Conclusions

There is a lack of rationale and consistency in the selection of outcome measures used to evaluate hypodontia care. Outcomes are largely clinician and researcher-driven with little evidence of their relevance to patients. There was a paucity of outcomes measuring access to care, quality of care, and cost. Evidence from hypodontia research is clinician-focused and likely to have limited value to support patients during decision making. Attempts to synthesise the evidence base for translation into practice will be challenging. There is a need for a core outcomes set with a patient-centric approach to drive improvements in health services.

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