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UPCH Leading Implant Dentistry in Latin America in the COVID-19 Era

Two dentists in clinical settingAs a health profession, dentistry has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, not only in terms of preventing and spreading infections, but also in providing care. Within the areas of dentistry, oral implantology is one of the specialties most affected by its invasiveness since it combines surgical procedures, prosthetic interventions, and aerosol-producing interventions. One of the biggest concerns of dental professionals was to know what the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic would be on implant dentistry and the future perspectives in terms of epidemiological trends, education, biosecurity and professional practice.

Faced with this problem, the Ibero-Panamerican Federation of Periodontology (FIPP) in conjunction with Perio-Implant Research Group UPCH, decided to bring together representatives from 18 Latin American countries to develop the first multinational consensus on oral implantology, using the Delphi method (a qualitative study). The perceived trends in implant dentistry, under the perspective of the post COVID-19 pandemic, was assessed through 64 open-ended questions in a total of 197 experts between July to October 2020.

Considering that there is a high rate of asymptomatic patients, most of the experts agreed that every patient should be evaluated as possible carrier of SARS-COV2, which at the same time could generate a greater concern and fear of the pandemic in dental professionals. Nevertheless, there was high consensus to affirm that SARS-COV2 transmission can be preventable, which reflects a better adaptation and greater confidence with the current biosecurity protocols. Furthermore, one of the aspects that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted more strongly is education, with a shift to remote live classes. There was a very high consensus in regard to that the curriculum plan of the higher education centers must restructure the hours of clinical activity and the learning methodology.

This study is an important window into oral health care and education during an infectious disease emergency and can help shape the future efforts of oral health safety and clinical and didactic teaching.

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