Available Technologies, Applications and Benefits of Teleorthodontics. A Literature Review and Possible Applications during the COVID-19 Pandemic

J Clin Med. 2020 Jun 17;9(6):1891. doi: 10.3390/jcm9061891.


Background: COVID-2019 spread rapidly throughout the world from China. This infection is highly contagiousness, has a high morbidity, and is capable of evolving into a potentially lethal form of interstitial pneumonia. Numerous countries shut-down various activities that were considered "not essential." Dental treatment was in this category and, at the time of writing, only non-deferrable emergencies are still allowed in many countries. Therefore, follow-up visits of ongoing active therapies (e.g., orthodontic treatment) must be handled taking special precautions. This literature review aims at reducing in-office appointments by providing an overview of the technologies available and their reliability in the long-distance monitoring of patients, i.e., teledentistry.

Methods: A literature review was made according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocols (PRISMA-P) guidelines. Randomized clinical trials, cross sectional, observational, and case-control studies were evaluated with the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool for quality assessment and study limitations.

Results: A primary search found 80 articles, 69/80 were excluded as non-relevant on the basis of: the abstract, title, study design, bias, and/or lack of relevance. Twelve articles were included in the qualitative analysis.

Conclusions: Teleorthodontics can manage most emergencies, reassuring and following patients remotely. The aim set by dental teleassistance was met as it reduced patients' office visits whilst maintaining regular monitoring, without compromising the results. Although our preliminary findings should be further investigated to objectively evaluate the efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and long-term results, we are confident that teleassistance in orthodontics will have a role to play in the near future.

Keywords: COVID-19; dentistry; orthodontics; remote sensing technology; teleassistance; teledentistry; teleorthodontics.

Publication types

  • Review