BACKGROUND: Remote digital monitoring during orthodontic treatment can help patients in improving their oral hygiene performance and reducing the number of appointments due to emergency reasons, especially in time of COVID-19 pandemic where non-urgent appointments might be discouraged.

METHODS: Thirty patients scheduled to start an orthodontic treatment were divided into two groups of fifteen. Compared to controls, study group patients were provided with scan box and cheek retractor (Dental Monitoring®) and were instructed to take monthly intra-oral scans. Plaque Index (PI), Gingival Index (GI), and White Spot Lesions (WSL) were recorded for both groups at baseline (t0), every month for the first 3 months (t1, t2, t3), and at 6 months (t4). Carious Lesions Onset (CLO) and Emergency Appointments (EA) were also recorded during the observation period. Inter-group differences were assessed with Student's t test and Chi-square test, intra-group differences were assessed with Cochran’s Q-test (significance α = 0.05).

RESULTS: Study group patients showed a significant improvement in plaque control at t3 (p = 0.010) and t4 (p = 0.039), compared to control group. No significant difference was observed in the number of WSL between the two groups. No cavities were detected in the study group, while five CLO were diagnosed in the control group (p = 0.049). A decreased number of EA was observed in the study group, but the difference was not significant.

CONCLUSIONS: Integration of a remote monitoring system during orthodontic treatment was effective in improving plaque control and reducing carious lesions onset. The present findings encourage orthodontists to consider this technology to help maintaining optimal oral health of patients, especially in times of health emergency crisis.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in BMC Oral Health, v. 21, issue 1, article no. 435.

© The Author(s) 2021

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Funding Information

Dental Monitoring® partially sponsored the cost of the monthly monitoring.

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The datasets generated and analyzed during the current study are not publicly available due to privacy reasons (images of patients), but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.