Due to the global coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, the high risk of cross-contamination and the overload of hospital facilities have resulted in a real urgency for restricting dental emergency patient flow. In this context, the objectives of the current work were to 1) measure the ability of a triage-based management strategy to limit patient admission and 2) evaluate the success rate of both on-site and remote emergency management regarding symptom relief and pain control over a 1-mo period. We included all patients contacting the dental medicine department for an emergency consultation during the lockdown, between April 1 and April 30, 2020 (N = 570). Following a telephone consultation and based on preestablished admission guidelines, a decision was made at baseline (T0) to either admit the patient for treatment or perform remote management by providing advice and/or drug prescription. Patients were then followed up systematically at 1 wk and 1 mo. Management failure was defined as the need for emergency admission for patients managed remotely since T0 and for new emergency admission for those admitted at T0. The global follow-up rate of patients with a complete data set was 91.4% (N = 521). Of included patients, 49.3% could be managed without admission for emergency reasons for 1 mo. The proportion of successful management was 71.8% and 90.2% at 1 mo for remote and on-site management, respectively. To conclude, the proposed triage-based emergency management strategy with systematic follow-up was a good compromise between limiting patient admission and ensuring effective symptom relief and pain control. The strategy can be useful in situations where regulation of the emergency patient flow is required.
Keywords: cross-contamination; dental care; dental emergency treatment; pain measurement; pain relief; telemedicine.