Patients’ self- use of mobile phone camera to capture extraction socket: a proposal as distant clinical patient follow-up after exodontia in this COVID era

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Ifueko Patience OSAGHAE


Introduction: Exodontia is one of the most common procedures carried out by the oral surgeon and post- surgical follow-up is important in the management of patients who undergo exodontia. The outbreak of COVID 19 has necessitated preventive measures which include social distancing and reduction in interpersonal contacts, especially when carrying out dental procedures that usually require close proximity to patients.

Objective: To describe the possibility of using self-taken photographs of extraction socket as a means of assessing post extraction outcome

Methods: This involves the patients taking a photograph of the extraction socket with their phone and sending the photos through WhatsApp to the surgeon. The posterior teeth were chosen because of the possible challenge posed by their location in the oral cavity.

Patients were coached on how to seat and position their camera phones. Scores were given to each wall of the extraction socket with 30% allotted to the floor of the socket and 20% for the other walls of the socket; the total value for the 5 walls of the extraction socket came to 110% in the Likert rating.

Outcome: To access the feasibility of such photos replacing the clinical presence of the patients during follow-up for monitoring of extraction sockets.

Results: Twenty (20) photographs were expected but 16 (80%) photos were received. Three (19%) of the photos were not acceptable due to difficulty in socket identification. These three photos were ranked in the VAS as 0 and 1. One of the photos was assigned 0 because it was off target. Thirteen (81%) of them captured the walls of the extraction socket to varying degrees of satisfaction. The result of the scores ranged from 0-110% in the Likert rating. Specifically, one patient scored 110%; 4: 80-90%; and 3 scored 0%. Overall, 62.5% were satisfactory.

Conclusion: Distant clinical examination of patients’ extraction socket can be possible through the use of self-taken patients’ photo of extraction socket. The ability of the patients to adequately capture their extraction sockets can be improved by more coaching on proper position and angulation of their phone camera. Other surgeons can use the laid down guidelines to agree or not as to the extent the intended purpose for the photographs were achieved.

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