Factors affecting patient valuations of caries prevention: using and validating the willingness to pay method

Christopher R. Vernazza, J.R. Wildman, John G. Steele, John M. Whitworth, Angus W.G. Walls, Ross Perry, Roger Matthews, Petra Hahn, C. Donaldson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Downloads (Pure)


To elicit the factors affecting Willingness to Pay values for the preferred options of participants for dealing with a molar tooth with a non-vital pulp, a common but difficult problem.
A total of 503 patients were recruited from dental practices in the North East of England and interviewed. Their preferred treatment option for a molar tooth with a non-vital pulp (endodontics, extraction and various prosthetic restorative options) and WTP for this preferred option were elicited. Factors affecting preferred option and WTP were analysed using econometric modelling.
Overall, 53% of the sample wished to save the tooth with a mean WTP of £373. The variance in WTP was high. Of those opting for extraction the majority chose to leave a gap or have an implant. The preferred option was influenced by previous treatment experience. WTP was only influenced by having a low income.
The high level of variance in WTP and its relatively unpredictable nature pose difficult questions for policy makers trying to ensure the delivery of an equitable service. For dentists, it is important not to make assumptions about patient preference and strength of preference when making decisions. Ideally, WTP values should be considered alongside effectiveness data, and those on costs, in policy making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-988
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Dentistry
Issue number8
Early online date5 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • preference-based measures
  • willingness to pay
  • caries
  • prevention

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Factors affecting patient valuations of caries prevention: using and validating the willingness to pay method'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this