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A qualitative study of orthodontic patients' experiences in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak

Published:December 12, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajodo.2021.11.010
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      Abstract

      Introduction

      COVID-19 is one of the most formidable challenges that influenced all domains of healthcare delivery. This research explored the experiences and challenges orthodontic patients faced in quarantine during the COVID-19 outbreak. The goal was to learn from patients about their oral health and general practices during this time to provide optimal delivery of orthodontic treatment care.

      Methods

      A phenomenographic qualitative design involving semi-structured face-to-face interviews. A purposive sampling strategy was deployed to collect qualitative data from 24 orthodontic patients who quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. All interviews were digitally recorded, and afterwards, they were transcribed verbatim.

      Results

      Four main themes and associated sub-themes were identified. The themes were (1) oral-health-related behavioral changes, (2) impact on treatment progression, (3) psychosocial impact and attitude changes, and (4) areas for future enhancements in healthcare delivery. Overall findings revealed both positive and negative behavioral changes in orthodontic patients regarding their adjustment during the quarantine and its implications to general health and well-being.

      Conclusions

      Findings from this study suggest that COVID-19 impacted dental healthcare delivery to orthodontic patients during the quarantine. Patients reported psychosocial and behavioral changes as a consequence of treatment disruption and pandemic lockdown.

      Clinical significance

      The implications of these findings to the clinical dental environment and patient education are pivotal to further target areas in dental healthcare delivery that require strengthening. As such, clinicians could expect behavioral changes from orthodontic patients and identify better strategies to mitigate clinical challenges resulting from such changes.

      Keywords