Characteristics of Endodontic Emergencies during Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak in Wuhan

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IntroductionIn late 2019, an outbreak of a new coronavirus named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 was detected in Wuhan, China. A great percentage of patients with this disease developed symptoms of dry cough, malaise, and a high fever. During this time, several patients requiring assessment and treatment of endodontic emergencies were directed to the School and Hospital of Stomatology at Wuhan University, Wuhan, China. We examined the characteristics of these patients.MethodsA total of 96 patients with a mean age of 42.24 ± 18.32 years visited the general and emergency department of the School and Hospital of Stomatology at Wuhan University because of endodontic emergencies during the peak period of February 22 to March 2, 2020. Patient information was collected and organized by date of visit, sex, age, and systemic disease history. Body temperature was measured and acquired for each patient, a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemiologic investigation questionnaire was given to each patient, an endodontic diagnosis was determined for the offending tooth, and a verbal numerical rating scale (VNRS) was used to record pain levels.ResultsOf the total patient visits during this period, 50.26% of visits were for endodontic treatment. No patients had a fever (>37.2°C). One patient with a confirmed COVID-19 history was admitted after recovery. Three admitted patients had been exposed to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients. Twelve admitted patients (12.5%) with a mean age of 62.42 ± 13.77 years had a history of systemic diseases. The most common age group for endodontic emergencies was 45–64 years (30.21%), and patients of this group showed a significantly higher mean VNRS score compared with that of the 6- to 19-year age group and the 20- to 34-year age group (P < .05). The majority of endodontic emergency diagnoses were diseases of symptomatic irreversible pulpitis (53.10%). Patients who were diagnosed with symptomatic irreversible pulpitis, symptomatic apical periodontitis, and acute apical abscess showed a significantly higher mean VNRS score than that of other groups (P < .05).ConclusionsEndodontic emergencies, with symptomatic irreversible pulpitis being the most common, consist of a much higher proportion of dental emergencies in a COVID-19 high-risk area than normally. Vital pulp therapy can advantageously reduce treatment time, resulting in a reduced risk of infection for vital pulp cases. Rubber dams, personal protective equipment, and patient screening are of great importance during the COVID-19 outbreak in protecting clinicians.

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