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31 December 2021

A new year is coming!

Lorenzo Breschi

Dear readers,

The approach of New Year is usually a festive period and, for some of us, an occasion to look back and sum up our impressions of the year that we are about to leave behind. We can definitely say that the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic has marked, for the second year in a row, our lives and that we are still fighting the virus and trying to win not only the battle the war, against Covid-19. I would like to ask a moment of your attention and share with you my thoughts on the year we are about to say goodbye to. 

As a dentist and a professor, I am always interested in reading scientific articles which have a clinical implication and are supported by adequate references. In the past two years we have witnessed a rapid increase in publications that cover Covid-related topics. We strive to remain up-to-date by following the latest literature and implementing the recommendations given by our dental chambers. Even though most of the papers undergo peer-review process before being accepted for publication, the end of 2021 might be the right time to ask ourselves: What is the level of evidence we have so far on dental scientific Covid-19 papers? Are we close to getting back to our “normal” lives and travel around the world to attend conferences and meet our colleagues?

So far, the largest number of Covid-papers found in dental literature are actually narrative reviews, followed by cross-sectional studies and short communications. The majority of articles originated from China and Italy, which was expected, considering that these countries were one of the most severely affected at the beginning of the pandemic. Interestingly, a recent bibliometric analysis on the quality of Covid-related papers found that the overall level of evidence in the dental literature is disappointingly low. Furthermore, it was stated that the level of evidence provided in dental literature is somehow not sufficient for evidence-based decision-making process, which unfortunately is consistent with data found in other medical fields. It seems that we would still have to wait for future research in order to obtain knowledge on Covid-19 in different dental fields. 

And what about conferences? The introduction of anti-covid vaccines and the “green pass” has certainly allowed us to get back to travelling (to a certain extent) and attend local conferences. One might not recognize his/her colleague right away during the coffee break at a conference, but the feeling of being back in lecture halls, listening to presentations and exchanging opinions with others after more than one year of isolation is certainly worth mentioning and is something to be grateful to. Let us hope that in the 2022 we will (gradually and with caution) be able to switch from “virtual and hybrid” participation to attending dental conferences across different continents. 

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our dear readers a Happy New Year. May the upcoming period be filled with love, joy and unforgettable family moments. 

Your sincerely, 

Prof. Lorenzo Breschi

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