PDF: Impact of the SARS-Cov2 Pandemic on Orthodontic Therapies

Telemedicine allows to break down the distances that exist between doctor and patient also in pediatric age. This is also a very important aspect in dentistry.

Teledentistry is, in fact, a specialistic extension of telemedicine that has been developed first at the military level and subsequently has found application mainly in the management of visits to patients living in rural areas in countries where dental practices can be many kilometers away or in the case of the management of patients whose movements want to be limited to the necessary for reasons of greater fragility, for example in the case of cancer patients.

In the context of teledentistry, its application to orthodontics, called teleorthodontics, can be considered a very useful tool to assess the patient remotely when he wants to report a problem related to a fixed or removable device before periodic check-in person or when he has doubts about how to use the removable orthodontic devices or some components of the fixed one (e.g., elastics). 

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic required dentists to limit their performance to those so-called 'nondeferable' emergencies to avoid the possible spread of the infection given the high risk of infection in healthcare environments where procedures involve aerosol production.

Orthodontists like all dentists, who did not have guidelines in the first few months, had to suspend their visits and regular checks on their patients and also the management of orthodontic emergencies that would normally lead to an early visit of the patient (among the most common: oral cavity lesions, detachment of brackets and bands, breakage of orthodontic arch, breakage of a removable device, detachment of attachments from aligners and breakage of them). 

The lack of professional platforms developed specifically for teledentistry and therefore also teleorthodontics has meant that in order to make up for the impossible inperson control, orthodontists have mainly used mobile messaging services, video calls and applications to carry out this new activity.

This study aims to assess the reliability of virtual orthodontic remote controls according to principles of teleorthodontics to understand its possible usefulness in the future routine activity and to evaluate the impact that the pandemic may have had on different types of orthodontic treatments. 

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