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The role of telemedicine for symptoms management in oral medicine: a retrospective observational study


Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has had devastating effect on access to care in many specialties and dental services including oral medicine. Following the shelter-in-place orders in March 2020, we implemented Tele(oral)medicine practices for the diagnosis and management of some oral medicine conditions.

Objectives: To assess the role of telemedicine visits with respect to managing pain among patients affected by oral diseases. Methods: A retrospective chart review for all the new patients seen at their first visit via telemedicine between April 2020 and December 2020. The patient-reported pain score was recorded at each visit using a 0-10 scale. Differences in oral pain from the first fist to the follow-up visit of the patients were evaluated using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test.

Results: A total of 137 new patients were included with a median age of 56 years. If seen in person, patients would have travelled a median distance of 65 miles. The most common oral conditions seen were reactive/inflammatory lesions. There was a 3-point median pain reduction from the first video visit to the first follow-up (p<0.05) and a self-reported 65% median improvement of oral symptoms.

Conclusion: Tele(oral)medicine was an effective method for symptoms management of oral medicine conditions.

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