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Minerva Dental and Oral Science 2022 December;71(6):324-8

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-6329.22.04754-4


lingua: Inglese

Challenges in providing special care dentistry during COVID-19 pandemic: a survey of public dental care services in Italy

Simone BUTTIGLIERI 1, Francesca SPIRITO 2, Francesco DELLA FERRERA 1, Lorenzo LO MUZIO 2 , Andrea RICOTTI 3, Marco MAGI 4, Paolo APPENDINO 1

1 Department of Dentistry, Mauriziano Umberto I Hospital, Turin, Italy; 2 Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Dental School, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy; 3 Clinical Trial Unit, Mauriziano Umberto I Hospital, Turin, Italy; 4 Private practitioner, Riccione, Rimini, Italy

BACKGROUND: The aim of this paper was to assess COVID-19 pandemic impact over the public health care services (HCS) involved in special care dentistry (SCD).
METHODS: Customized questionnaire was sent to 45 HCS involved in SCD. Healthcare personnel (HP) on duty, safety of HCS, time of suspension and reduction of routine dental practice in special needs patients (SNP), kind of SNP mostly penalized during pre-COVID period/T1, lockdown (phase 1/T2) and post pandemic reopening (phase 2/T3) were analyzed by statistical means (P<0.05).
RESULTS: 21 questionnaires were returned. A significant decrease of median number of HP during T2 was observed. Prevalence of COVID-19 infection among HP was not significantly different between T2 vs. T3. Medical surveillance of HP during T2 was significantly lower than during T3. Patients with lack of cooperation were the most disadvantaged during both phases dental procedures were significantly lower between T1 and T2 and between T1 and T3 as well. Patients with lack of cooperation and/or living in residential care homes were the most disadvantaged in relation to access to dental care during both phases.
CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 pandemic determined significant restrictions in daily access to routine oral care resulting in reduction of preventive evaluations and decline of oral health in a population which is already at a higher risk of oral pathologies. Our data reveal that reduction of dental procedures, healthcare professionals and days of suspension of clinical activity were still considerable also in T3 with respect to T1 and in some cases not significantly different from T2.

KEY WORDS: COVID-19; Pandemics; Dental care; Surveys and questionnaires

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