Purpose: To assess the levels of oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) in orthodontic patients both during the suspension of dental services caused by COVID-19 and after a year of dental service reinstatement, and to evaluate the associated factors for OHRQoL in those patients during the suspension period.
Keywords: COVID-19, oral health, oral hygiene, psychosocial factors, quality of life
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional online study was conducted both during the suspension of dental service due to COVID-19 (T1) and after a year of dental service reinstatement (T2). The questionnaire – consisting of personal information, subjective complaints, OHIP-14 and oral health conditions – was completed by the participants at T1 and T2. Data were evaluated by the Χ2 test, the Wilcoxon rank-sum test, and multivariate logistic regression analysis.
Results: 324 participants were ultimately included in the study sample. The participants reported higher OHIP-14 total scores at T1 than T2 (p < 0.001). Statistically significant differences were detected in the domains psychological discomfort, psychological disability, social disability and handicap (p < 0.001). The multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that wearing fixed appliances, being over 18 years old, having delayed orthodontic treatment and poor oral hygiene habits were statistically significantly associated with higher OHIP-14 total scores at T1 (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: The OHRQoL in orthodontic patients was negatively impacted by the suspension of dental services during COVID-19, which was reflected in all the psychosocial domains. Types of appliances, ages, delays in follow-up visits and oral hygiene habits seemed to be the factors associated with OHRQoL in orthodontic patients during the suspension.