Analysis of the Clinical Impact of COVID-19 on an Oral and Maxillofacial Program: A Retrospective Study

Cimba, Michael J, Day, Saxon T, Rose, Matthew J
Faculty / Advisor: Ford, Brian P, Giannaokopoulos, Helen E
University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery/Pharmacology


This study plans to analyze the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic had on the University of Pennsylvania’s Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery program. A 6-year retrospective analysis of attending OMFS physician logs was conducted from 2015 to 2020 between the months of March to July.


Two groups of patients presenting between the months of March to July were compared side by side: the PANDEMIC group during 2020 and the CONTROL group from 2015-2019. Patient logs were thoroughly analyzed for demographics and procedures performed. The month of April was found to have the fewest number of procedures performed, and it was further analyzed for any significant trends between the two groups. Fisher exact tests were performed on proportions between CONTROL and PANDEMIC, and a two-sample t test was calculated on patient-age during the CONTROL and PANDEMIC.


The CONTROL (n = 19210) and PANDEMIC (n = 2108) procedural characteristics and patient demographics were thoroughly analyzed. The data illustrated that there was a significant increase in the procedures pertaining to infections (1.71% vs. 2.85%; p = 0.00055), pathology (5.78% vs. 7.64%; p = 0.00096), and TMJ (2.88% vs. 3.89%; p = 0.01244). Caucasian patients increasingly sought out treatment in the PANDEMIC group (50.08% vs. 52.47%; p = 0.03891), while there was a simultaneous decrease in the proportion of african-american patients (30.88% vs. 20.30%; p = <0.0001) seeking treatment. There was a statistically significant increase in the average age of patients presenting during the PANDEMIC timeframe compared to the CONTROL (40.99 ± 20.05 vs. 42.01 ± 20.96; p = 0.033). During the month of April, there was a significant increase in the proportion of infection (1.72% vs. 8.16%; p = 0.0113) and trauma cases (7.96% vs. 63.27%; p = <0.0001).


Analysis of patient encounters at the University of Pennsylvania’s OMFS program revealed dramatic changes in patients treated and procedures performed. Research has shown that stay-at-home orders during the pandemic has lead to an increase in at-home domestic violence. It’s important for oral and maxillofacial surgeons to recognize the signs of possible domestic violence or child abuse as these may become more frequently encountered. A deeper understanding of the reasons african-americans and younger individuals are less likely to seek treatment must be brought to light so that these individuals are able to receive better care not only by OMFS, but by all healthcare professionals.