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Journal of the Canadian Dental Association (JCDA)Pattern of Dental Emergencies at a Pediatric Tertiary Care Hospital during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Retrospective Study

COVID-19 Pandemic Leads to Surge in Pediatric Dental Emergencies

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on various aspects of healthcare, including pediatric dentistry. A recent study conducted at Montreal Children’s Hospital provides valuable insights into the changes in pediatric dental emergencies during this period.

HCN Medical Memo
The findings here demonstrate that dentists — and all healthcare professionals — need to adapt to the changing landscape brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The significant increase in pediatric dental emergencies, particularly those associated with dental infections, highlights the importance of maintaining access to high-quality dental care during public health crises. These findings could indicate a potential paradigm shift in how we approach dental care in times of global health emergencies, emphasizing the need for robust public health measures and effective emergency management strategies.

Study Design

  • The study was a retrospective review of pediatric dental emergencies at Montreal Children’s Hospital.
  • The data collected included demographic characteristics of the children, type of emergency visit, clinical signs and symptoms, and emergency management.
  • The study compared data from before and during the pandemic. For the pandemic period, data regarding patient symptoms of COVID-19 infection were also noted.
  • The study included 2,745 pediatric dental emergencies, with 1,336 (48.7%) occurring in 2019 and 1,409 (51.3%) in 2020.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, more than 50% of all children will be affected by tooth decay before age five.

Key Findings

  • During the first wave of COVID-19, the number of pediatric dental emergencies increased by 21% over pre-pandemic levels.
  • There was a significant increase in the number of emergencies associated with dental infection during the pandemic period (p = 0.04).
  • A significant increase in the number of visits not receiving effective immediate treatment (p < 0.01) occurred during the early pandemic period.

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