Pediatric dental emergency management and parental treatment preferences during COVID-19 pandemic as compared to 2019
Pediatric dental emergency management were temporarily suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, which worsened urgent dental needs. This retrospective study investigated the management of pediatric emergencies during COVID-19 lockdown and the trends in parental preferences from March to July in 2019 and 2020. Pediatric dental emergencies managed during pandemic was collated, procedures were categorized (emergency, restorative, preventive, elective) and trends in parental treatment preference was compared from March-July 2019/2020. Bivariate analysis was performed using fisher-exact test and statistical significance was set at 5%. Total 1081 children were treated during COVID-19 lockdown, and 1509 procedures were performed, of which 20.8% were emergency, 42% restorative, 24.4% preventive, 12.6% elective. In 2019, 7462 children were treated; and except for emergency (10.6%), other procedures were comparable to 2020. Extractions (267) predominated in 2020 followed by sealants (195); but in 2019, pulectomy (1268), scaling (1251) were predominant. None of the residents who performed aerosol procedures got infected with COVID-19 during the lockdown. Emergency dental needs among pediatric patients were very high during the COVID-19 pandemic in South India, and there was not much change in the trend in parental treatment preference in 2019 and 2020. Further, aerosol procedures did not increase the risk of COVID-19 during the pandemic provided proper universal precautions were followed.