Orthodontic Emergencies and Perspectives During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Italian Experience
Keywords:Pandemics, SARS Virus, Coronavirus, Dentistry, Orthodontics
Objective: To investigate the types of dental emergencies that occurred during the lockdown period in Italy (12th March—4th May) and to investigate future therapeutic preferences related to the use of different types of appliances. Material and Methods: A questionnaire dedicated to assessing dental emergencies during the lockdown period and surveying the resumption of orthodontic practice was submitted to clinicians in digital form. The first part of the questionnaire, focused on the orthodontic emergencies that were encountered in relation to the different types of orthodontic appliances and how these were resolved. The second part of the questionnaire was devoted to the resumption of clinical practice; in particular, it was designed to assess whether and what percentage of clinicians are willing to change the duration of appointments in relation to the different types of appliance used, asking them whether their approach to orthodontic treatment would change in the coming months as compared to the pre-COVID-19 era. Results: Results show that in most cases (82%), the percentage of patients who experienced a dental emergency was less than 5% and that far fewer emergencies were attributable to removable (5.7%) than to fixed appliances (94.3%). Looking ahead, clinicians expressed a greater preference for using removable (60.8%) rather than fixed appliances (39.2%). Conclusion: During the lockdown, there relatively few orthodontic emergencies, many of which were handled by telephone consultation. However, a far lower percentage of emergencies were generated by removable (e.g., clear aligners) as opposed to fixed appliances (e.g., multibracket equipment), likely influencing the decision of the majority of clinicians to opt for removable appliances in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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