This is the first study that has used GT queries to compare the trends of internet searches about paediatric dentistry during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, there is no GT study about paediatric dentistry queries. Recent studies during the COVID-19 indicate a higher interest in self-treatment for dental problems around the world [12, 13]. Therefore, the study is important to show trends in internet searches for paediatric dentistry queries during COVID-19.
The COVID-19 has had a global impact that has never been seen before. Countries were obliged to implement several measures to control the COVID-19, including restrictions on the health and dental sectors. Dental authorities around the world, such as ADA (American Dental Association), AAPD (American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry), BDA (British Dental Association), recommended postponing elective and non-urgent dental procedures at the beginning of the COVID-19 . Dental care providers accepted only urgent dental treatments and procedures. Pericoronitis, oral trauma, severe toothache, acute abscesses, and life-threatening tissue bleeding were defined as oral emergencies. Patients had difficulty getting dental care during this time. Due to the unpredictable duration of the pandemic, new approaches and management procedures have become mandatory for routine dentistry practices. Paediatric dental practice in the post-COVID era is beginning to be routine. [13, 17, 18] Although people have access to dental care, the current scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic has created panic in people's minds about whether to go to the dentist or stay at home and seek dental care on the Internet until the world returns to normalcy.
Early childhood caries (ECC) is an aggressive form of tooth decay that affects children's primary teeth. ECC has a clear aetiology: high sugar intake, usually from a nursing bottle, combined with poor or non-existent oral hygiene, as a result of parents failing to brush or brushing insufficiently, results in an atypical pattern of caries attack, particularly on the smooth surfaces of upper anterior teeth in young children. Although professional guidelines recommend visiting a dentist at an early age, children are late to go to a first dental visit. Our findings show that search activity for ECC and tooth caries-related queries is increasing. It can be explained by difficulties in accessing dental care providers during COVID-19.
Various factors can cause toothaches, both odontogenic and non-odontogenic. However, odontogenic factors are the most common cause of toothache. Toothache is a sign of poor oral health, and it can negatively impact one's quality of life. Lotto et al.'s study shows a continuous increase in the interests of Internet users on toothache queries over the years. Our results are in line with this study.  Also, we found a statistically significant increase during COVID-19. Another clinical condition that affects children and is linked to toothache is dental trauma. Dental trauma is a significant health issue among children, and It has the potential to degrade their quality of life. In this study, dental trauma was the most searched query overall during COVID-19. The consequences of dental trauma can be serious, resulting in an irreversible dental loss at the time of the incident, during treatment, or even years later. Thus, new healthcare approaches for early diagnoses, such as teledentistry, are critical when access to dental care providers is limited, such as during pandemics.
Non-aerosol generating procedures for dental management of paediatric patients are suggested in the post-COVID era. These are atraumatic restorative technique fissure sealants, silver diamine fluoride, hall technique, and interim therapeutic restorations. Atraumatic restorative technique (ART) is a treatment that involves removing caries selectively with hand instruments and filling them with a high-viscosity glass ionomer cement. The Hall Technique is a non-invasive method of restoring carious primary molar teeth using preformed metal (also known as stainless steel) crowns. ART is considered a significant approach for treating children in the post-pandemic era. The Hall Technique is a non-invasive method of restoring carious primary molar teeth using preformed metal (also known as stainless steel) crowns. This technique has some advantages because no local anaesthesia and tooth preparation is required in the post-COVID-19 era. Topical fluorides, such as silver diamine fluoride (SDF), are effective at reducing caries. SDF is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) to treat advanced cavitated caries on any coronal surface of primary and permanent teeth. The use of SDF instead of other fluoride agents has grown in popularity in recent years. In this study, we found an increase in non-aerosol generating procedure-related queries. This finding can be explained by the growing popularity of non-aerosol generating procedures.
Surprisingly, we found a decrease in the RSVs for two search queries about paediatric dentistry and pedodontics. This result can be attributed to the fact that people may prefer to search for other dentistry queries rather than these. In addition, patients have trouble accessing dental care providers, leading them to seek dental help for dental emergencies. The statistically significant decrease in the queries about non-urgent procedures such as space maintainers and mouthguards also supports this.
These findings need to be interpreted with caution. This data pertains solely to Internet users' behaviours on the Google web platform and does not include queries from other search engine tools. Another issue was that we couldn't access the raw data on GT; as a result, we don't know how many times a single person searched for paediatric dentistry-related queries. This could result in a duplication error in the records.