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The authors discuss potential long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic to orthodontic practice after the epidemic has ended. The four areas of impact were described as 1) microbiologic control measures (increased PPE requirements, stricter protocols, and aerosol-generation minimization), 2) social distancing (redistributing spaces and decreasing the number of people present), 3) increasing teledentistry and use of techniques that require fewer appointments, and 4) bioethical considerations related to caring for families who have lost income.
The COVID-19 pandemic will have far-reaching consequences for society, including impacting how oral healthcare services like orthodontics are delivered. Dentists should be prepared for alterations to daily practice for the foreseeable future.
– James Boynton, DDS, MS
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic will have a long-lasting impact on orthodontic practice. Some of the adaptations needed will improve the orthodontist's line of work when the pandemic will be defeated, but others will not be sufficiently cost-effective. These changes concern 4 areas of orthodontic practice: (1) microbiologic control measures, with increased use of personal protective equipment, stricter protocols inside and outside of the clinical area, and minimization of procedures that generate aerosols; (2) social distancing measures by redistributing spaces and decreasing the number of patients and companions in the clinics; (3) increasing teleorthodontics and use of appliances and techniques that require fewer scheduled and urgent appointments; and (4) bioethical considerations that promote a broader view of the psychosocial aspects of patients, their families, and the community. Some of these important adaptations, implemented while we are still suffering the effects of the pandemic, may be reversible, but others have come to stay.