RESEARCH ARTICLE


COVID-19 and Orthodontics: An Approach for Monitoring Patients at Home



Antonio Bianco1, Domenico Dalessandri1, *, Bruno Oliva1, Ingrid Tonni1, Gaetano Isola2, Luca Visconti1, Corrado Paganelli1, Stefano Bonetti1
1 Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, School of Dentistry, Radiological Sciences, and Public Health, University of Brescia, Piazzale Spedali Civili 1, 25123 Brescia, Italy
2 School of Dentistry, Department of General Surgery and Medical and Surgical Specialties, University of Catania, via Plebiscito 628, 95124 Catania, Italy


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Creative Commons License
© 2021 Bianco et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, School of Dentistry, Radiological Sciences, and Public Health, University of Brescia, Piazzale Spedali Civili 1, 25123 Brescia, Italy; Tel: +39-030-3995783; E-mail:domenico.dalessandri@unibs.it


Abstract

Aim:

The aim of this study was to test an experimental approach involving the remote monitoring of orthodontic patients through the use of their smartphones.

Background:

Due to the COVID-19 emergency, dental offices were asked to stop elective treatments; suddenly orthodontic patients found themselves isolated at home, without the possibility of monitoring by their orthodontists. The use of telemonitoring via smartphones can be a quick way to recover the orthodontist-patient relationship, monitor and continue the treatment.

Objective:

The purpose of this study was to propose an innovative, simple and reliable approach for the remote management of orthodontic patients.

Methods:

137 patients were contacted verbally by phone and via WhatsApp®; they were asked to send a set of photographs taken with their smartphone. They were asked to complete a questionnaire to evaluate the effectiveness of the approach. Descriptive statistics (frequency with percent) of questionnaire results and the presence of procedural errors while taking pictures were calculated. Correlations between different questionnaire answers were analyzed with the Chi-Square test. Variables with p < 0:05 were declared as significant.

Results:

The majority of patients considered that this approach was positive and they did not feel abandoned. Difficulties emerged from a technical point of view, that is, in terms of photoshoot, and part of the patients expressed perplexity regarding the fact that telemonitoring can replace completely an outpatient visit.

Conclusion:

The use of telemonitoring managed to recreate a relationship with the orthodontist, especially in emergency periods.

Keywords: COVID-19, Orthodontics, Telemonitoring, Smartphone, Emergency, Dentistry.