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Perspectives of tele-orthodontics in the COVID-19 emergency and as a future tool in daily practice
Pubblication date: 06/2020
Authors: S. Saccomanno*, V. Quinzi**, S. Sarhan***, D. Laganà***, G. Marzo****
Institution: *Lecturer, Orthodontics Residency School, University of L’Aquila, Italy
**Adjunct Professor, Orthodontics Residency, University of L’Aquila, Italy
***Student, Dental School, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy
****Full Professor, Dental School, University of L’Aquila, Italy
Publication: European Journal of Paediatric Dentistry
Title: Perspectives of tele-orthodontics in the COVID-19 emergency and as a future tool in daily practice
Abstract: Aim The aim of our study was to explain how tele-orthodontics represents the only way to perform orthodontics during a period of restriction as the one subsequent to COVID-19 emergencies: To do this, we report a case study and explore the proposal of a model of tele-orthodontics, considering the advantages of this modality in the immediate post-emergency phase and in the future daily practice.
Materials and methods Study design: Our study involves 30 patients, who had undergone different orthodontic therapies in a traditional way, and that the clinician continued to follow by means of tele-orthodontics. Given the obvious limitations of tele-practice, a comparison with patients who did not undergo any follow-up or underwent only in-office follow-ups could not be possible. The communication tools used in our study and proposed in our model of tele-orthodontics are videocalls, dedicated applications, intraoral and extraoral photos taken by the patients and instant messaging.
Results Tele-orthodontics allowed to perform some orthodontic follow-ups with less chairside time, reduced time spent by the patients in the dental office from up to 45 min, less risk of infection, fewer to no missed appointments, specific troubleshooting solutions, and more follow-ups with odontophobic patients. Overall, tele-orthodontics balanced the disadvantages of less personal contacts and in-office visits.
Conclusions The need to respect safety distance and the fears patients have about the risk of infection make tele-orthodontics a fundamental tool during a pandemic lockdown and in its immediate post-emergency phase. Tele-orthodontics demonstrated to be a viable tool to continue at least some orthodontic care in times of emergency, but it may be considered an appropriate solution and addition even in normal times to ease therapy demands for both the orthodontist and the patient, while reducing time and money spent, without an excessive decrease in orthodontic quality.