UP lecturer in orthodontics, Dr Adith Venugopal (BDS, MS, PhD, FICD, FPFA) has just had two papers accepted in the highly respected Journal of Clinical Orthodontics ( JCO). Because the articles are related to Covid-19, they are being rushed into online publication within the next few days.

Both the articles are intended to provide orthodontic practitioners some guidance on precautions they should take in the treatment of orthodontic patients in a post-lockdown era or at least until “at-home” or “in-office” testing, vaccines, or successful treatments for COVID-19 are developed. The first paper describes the sterilization protocols, clinical settings required, and instrumentations to protect ourselves as well as our patients. The second paper describes details associated with orthodontic biomechanics and procedures in order to avoid orthodontic emergencies in case of a further lockdown in the wake of a second wave of COVID-19.

As far as the measures and guidelines the authors have suggested, they hope that they will stimulate thought and provide a rationale for:
(a) Need for COVID-19 testing and guidelines for PPE needed in orthodontic practices for specific procedures;
(b) Comprehensive protocols for proper virtual-based consultations and appointments that assure adequate patient care;
(c) Understanding of a variety of possible changes in infection and office environment controls;
(d) Extensive knowledge of and skill with orthodontic mechanics with the intent of anticipating of their potential side effects along with offering more convenient and fail-safe methods to avoid emergencies in the near future.

It is undeniable that COVID-19 is here to stay for a long time, and so, it may forever change the way we practice orthodontics (and dentistry). While providing our treatments, we must heighten compassion for our patients and also enhance our sense of camaraderie and professionalism with the staff and our colleagues. With all of these factors in mind, we can get through this successfully, together.

Dr Adith and Dr Anand, our two UP dental clinical orthodontists, are putting into practice these new measures as described in the two papers, so that our own UP patients, staff and students can all benefit and ensure a safe working environment.