Lead Author Affiliation

Doctor of Dental Surgery

Lead Author Program & Year

DDS Year 2

Presentation Category

Community Oral Health

Introduction/Context/Diagnosis

• Dental caries is the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood in the US. • Young children are a particularly vulnerable population because of their dependence, inability to communicate needs, and relative poverty. • Furthermore, this can be exacerbated by disparities such that an increased rates of caries are observed in children who are of low socioeconomic status and minority backgrounds. • However, community oral health screenings can play a vital role in childhood caries as a predominately preventable disease. • The current emphasis on social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic has brought attention to teledentistry, which may have a valuable role in the future of community oral health outreach.

Methods/Treatment Plan

A literature search was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of teledentistry in providing pediatric oral health screenings and how it may potentially benefit community oral health.

Results/Outcome

• All three of the included studies found that teledensity had similar diagnostic results to traditional, in-person examinations when screening for childhood caries (Table 1).

• Reported benefits of teledentistry: ○ Reduced cost ○ Less labor intensive ○ Potential to identify caries in high-risk children ○ Improved access to all ○ Less time consuming ○ No patient transportation needed ○ Minimal disruption of daily routines ○ Safety

Significance/Conclusions

• Phase I review of EBD and the literature suggested that teledentistry provides similar diagnostic value as in-person exams for oral health screenings for childhood caries. • Pursuit of development of “Best Practices” for a pilot teledentistry project at a dental school is worthwhile given it is a valid alternative to traditional pediatric screenings. • Teledentistry offers a number of unique benefits and should be explored as one model to engage students in a community oral health projects and preparation for practice.

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The Potential of Teledentistry in Community Oral Health for the Pediatric Population

• Dental caries is the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood in the US. • Young children are a particularly vulnerable population because of their dependence, inability to communicate needs, and relative poverty. • Furthermore, this can be exacerbated by disparities such that an increased rates of caries are observed in children who are of low socioeconomic status and minority backgrounds. • However, community oral health screenings can play a vital role in childhood caries as a predominately preventable disease. • The current emphasis on social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic has brought attention to teledentistry, which may have a valuable role in the future of community oral health outreach.