Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic poses a major challenge to health care worldwide. As a part of the virus containment strategy, health care services were limited to the treatment of essential emergencies. The aim was to evaluate the influence of COVID-19 pandemic on patients’ utilization of dental emergency services, focusing on patients vulnerable to severe courses of COVID-19.
Schlagwörter: COVID-19, dental emergency care, dental public health, dentistry, pandemic, SARS-CoV-2
Method and materials: Files of 1,299 patients of the Dental School of the University Hospital Wuerzburg between 3 February and 7 June 2020 were retrospectively analyzed. The observation period was divided into pre-lockdown (Pre-L), during lockdown (Dur-L), and post-lockdown (Post-L). Patients’ demographics, diagnosis, and medical history including COVID-19 anamnesis were recorded.
Results: The number of dental emergency patients decreased by approximately 50% (Pre-L, n = 576; Dur-L, n = 309). Proportions of risk patients among them did not change. Stationary admissions increased by approximately 4% (Pre-L, 12.3% to Dur-L, 16.2%). The most frequent diagnosis was uncontrollable pain (45.6%), originating in 25.2% of endodontic and periodontal diseases. Abscesses (23.0%), dental trauma (16.5%), facial trauma (9.4%), and uncontrollable bleeding (5.5%) followed consecutively.
Conclusion: Patients with an increased risk for severe courses of COVID-19 infection did not refrain from consulting dental emergency care. Dental emergencies should be treated early to avoid stationary admissions to preserve hospital bed capacities.