|Year : 2017 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 63-67
Teledentistry: A futuristic realm of dental care
Salini Samyuktha Gadupudi1, Swet Nisha2, Srilatha Yarramasu1
1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, JSS Dental College and Hospital, Mysuru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Periodontology, JSS Dental College and Hospital, Mysuru, Karnataka, India
|Date of Web Publication||8-Jan-2018|
Dr. Salini Samyuktha Gadupudi
Department of Public Health Dentistry, JSS Dental College and Hospital, Mysuru, Karnataka
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Health care is being changed dramatically by the marriage of computers and telecommunications. Implications for hospitals and physicians already have received extensive media attention, but comparatively little has been said about the impact of information technology on dentistry. Teledentistry is the use of information technology and telecommunications for dental care, consultation, education, and public awareness. This article reviews the origin, rationale, scope, basis, and requirements for teledentistry, along with the current evidence that exists in the literature and illustrates how the digital transformation will likely affect dentists and their patients.
Keywords: Applications, dentistry, teledentistry
|How to cite this article:|
Gadupudi SS, Nisha S, Yarramasu S. Teledentistry: A futuristic realm of dental care. Int J Oral Health Sci 2017;7:63-7
| Introduction|| |
The use of information-based technologies and communications systems to deliver health care across geographic distances is termed telemedicine. The tremendous technical progress of the last 40 years has made telemedicine increasingly possible, as evidenced by the yearly 2-fold increase in the number of active telemedicine programs in the United States since the early 1990s. Internet is the basis of modern systems of teledentistry, being up-to-date and fast, and able to transport large amounts of data. The entire process of networking, sharing digital information, distant consultations, workup, and analysis is dealt with by a segment of the science of telemedicine concerned with dentistry known as “teledentistry.”
| History of Teledentistry|| |
Teledentistry was developed as a part of the blueprint for dental informatics, a new domain combining computer and information science, engineering and technology in all areas of oral health, which was drafted at a 1989 conference funded by the Westinghouse electronics system group in Baltimore. To be more specific, the birth of teledentistry as a subspecialist field of telemedicine could be linked to 1994 and a military project of the United States Army (U.S. Army's Total Dental Access Project), aiming to improve patient care, dental education, and effectuation of the communication between dentists and dental laboratories. Teledentistry demonstrated that dental professionals can consult each other even at large distances. This military project demonstrated that teledentistry was able to reduce total patient care costs, extending dental care to distant and rural areas and offering complete information required for deeper analyses.
| Need for Teledentistry|| |
Teledentistry can improve access to oral health care, improve the delivery of oral health care, and lower its costs. It also has the potential to eliminate the disparities in oral health care between rural and urban communities. Teledentistry may turn out to be the cheapest, as well as the fastest, way to bridge the rural-urban health divide and also can help bring specialized health care to the remotest corners of the world.
| Internet as the Basis of Teledentistry|| |
Internet is the basis of modern systems of teledentistry, being up-to-date and fast, and able to transport large amounts of data.
There are numerous reasons why internet-based teledentistry has taken precedence over other ways of communication: The reasons being speed, low cost, efficacy, documented consultation, minimized occupancy, simultaneous communication of multiple participants, and asynchronism, while potential shortcomings are necessity of appropriate training, pressure for an instant response, impression, message misunderstanding, privacy concerns, and possibility to overlook/neglect the message.
| Types of Teledentistry|| |
Teleconsultation through teledentistry can take place in either of the following ways – “real-time consultation” and “store-and-forward method.” Real-time consultation involves a videoconference in which dental professionals and their patients, at different locations, may see, hear, and communicate with one another. Store-and-forward method involves the exchange of clinical information and static images collected and stored by the dental practitioner, who forwards them for consultation and treatment planning. The third method has also been described, known as “remote monitoring method,” in which patients are monitored at a distance and can either be hospital-based or home-based. A “near real-time” consultation has also been mentioned in the literature, which involves low resolution, low frame rate product that looks like jittery television. Patients are not present during the “consultation.” Dentists can share patient information, radiographs, graphical representations of periodontal and hard tissues, therapies applied, laboratory results, tests, remarks, photographs, and other information transportable through multiple providers [Figure 1] and [Figure 2].,,,
Requirements to practice teledentistry
For most dental applications, store-and-forward technology provides excellent results without excessive costs for equipment or connectivity. A typical store-and-forward teledentistry system consists of a computer with substantial hard drive memory, adequate random access memory, and a speedy processor; an intraoral video camera and a digital camera for the capture of pictures; a modem and an Internet connection. A fax machine, scanner, and printer may also be required in some cases. To enable live videoconferencing, one might employ a widely available standalone IP/ISDN videoconferencing solution or install a PCI codec board into the system. If a live group session is desired, a multipoint control unit that bridges three or more parties is required. The codec must be able to accommodate audio and visual functions.
Instructors of teledentistry education courses need to have both teaching experience and computer knowledge. The educational team must continuously update the course. Educational courses should be guided by instructors who are experienced in leading online communication, able to promote discussion, and familiar with the use of computer technology. Finally, most of the teledentistry-based education programs are in English. Since the internet is a worldwide tool, future goals should include consideration of more multilingual programs.
Evidence-based review on applications of teledentistry in various specializations
The results of various articles are summarized in [Table 1].
|Table 1: Evidence based review on applications of teledentistry in various specializations|
Click here to view
| Discussion and Conclusion|| |
Teledentistry is “not” a new specialty. It is, in reality, an alternative method to deliver the existing dental services. The utility of teledentistry in distant, remote areas cannot be emphasized enough. Its application is of utmost importance and great value in rural and urban areas where there is unavailability of specialist consultation. India, with its diverse landmass, huge rural population, and existing health-care delivery mechanism clubbed with advances in telecommunications technology, could be an ideal setting for teledentistry. A cost-effective dental care can be provided through teledentistry by appointing general dental surgeon and dental hygienists can be appointed at the subcenters. Similarly, graduate dentists with knowledge in teledentistry can be appointed at the primary health centers and community health centers for discussing the diagnosis and treatment plan of the difficult cases with the specialists. The dental colleges with a predetermined catchment area could be ideal places to serve as hub sites for teledentistry consultation as they encompass all the specialists serving under a common roof. A team of specialists could communicate for a few hours on a daily basis with the dentists/hygienists/patients at the remote clinics. The results achieved so far are very encouraging, setting the road signs for future investigations. However, a few things have to be addressed before teledentistry can rise to its peak. Studies involving greater number of participants will be required in future to validate the various aspects of teledentistry applications.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflflicts of interest.
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[Figure 1], [Figure 2]