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Teledentistry is the use of information technology and telecommunications for dental care, consultation,[1] education, and public awareness (compare telehealth and telemedicine).


In 1994, the Department of Defense introduced the Total Dental Access Program (TDA) for the Army.[2] The goals of TDA were to increase soldier's access to care and reduce associated costs. At the time, they used what was called the plain-old-telephone-system (POTS).

In the early nineteen nineties, videoconferencing, e-mail, fax, and telephone calls were used but more recently, video conferencing and high-quality image transfer have become easily accessible. These, and the considerable improvements in digital camera technology, have provide radical new opportunities.

Nearly a third of all Americans don't visit a dentist regularly enough, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.[3] There are many reasons for this, most notably affordability, access and fear.

Several teledental startup companies operate in the United States, including Dentulu The Teledentists and Virtudent. Direct-to-consumer orthodontics companies like SmileDirectClub also utilize teledentistry, but have drawn criticism regarding proper supervision of care. [4]

Methods and Modalities[edit]

Live Video (Synchronous): Live two-way video between a patient and provider using audiovisual telecommunications technology.[5] Live video is often used to triage patients to the appropriate level of care or for specialty consultations.

Store-and-forward (Asynchronous): Transmission of recorded health information (for example, radiographs or digital impressions taken by an appropriately licensed provider) through a secure electronic communications system to a practitioner, who uses the information to evaluate or diagnose the patient's condition outside at a later time.[5]

Remote Patient Monitoring: Health data collection from an individual in one location (usually outside of a conventional clinical setting), which is transmitted to a provider in a different location for use in care and related support.[5]

mHealth: Health promotion and education via mobile devices such as cell phones or tablets. [5]


Teledentistry can provide easier, cheaper and less intimidating way to connect with dentistry. Teledentistry can also be used to assist general dentists with speciality work[6] and improve services to underserved populations such as in rural or less developed areas.[7]


  1. ^ Clark, GT (2000). "Teledentistry: What is it now, and what will it be tomorrow?". Journal of the California Dental Association. 28 (2): 121–7. PMID 11323836.
  2. ^ Rocca, M. A.; Kudryk, V. L.; Pajak, J. C.; Morris, T (1999). "The evolution of a teledentistry system within the Department of Defense". Proceedings. AMIA Symposium: 921–4. ISSN 1531-605X. PMC 2232632. PMID 10566495.
  3. ^ "Oral Health Isn't Much Of Americans' Concern, Poll Finds: One-Third Didn't See The Dentist Last Year". Medical Daily. 2014-04-29. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  4. ^ "In-home teeth straightening can save thousands. But brace yourself for the risks". Los Angeles Times. 2020. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  5. ^ a b c d "ADA Policy of Teledentistry". American Dental Association. 2015. Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  6. ^ "Teledentistry Shows Potential to Assist Rural Communities". NIH. December 24, 2008.
  7. ^ Chen, Jung-Wei; Hob-Dell, Martin H.; Dunn, Kim; Johnson, Kathy A.; Zhang, Jiajie (2003). "Teledentistry and its use in dental education". Journal of the American Dental Association. 134 (3): 342–6. doi:10.14219/jada.archive.2003.0164. PMID 12699048.