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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 provided 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 companies operate in the United States. 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]

Help within the dental community[edit]

Another method is the Remote Monitoring Method in which dentists communicate with each other through the use of radiographs and other data like the patient’s clinical findings, photographs, test results and case history. The patient is not present in this method of teleconsultation.

Disadvantages of this can include misinterpretation of messages, privacy issues and insufficient training of the professionals.[6]


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[7] and improve services to underserved populations such as in rural or less developed areas.[8]


  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. ^ Santi, Dr Priti (2019-07-06). "Why is teledentistry wonderful for you?". DentalDost. Retrieved 2020-12-11.
  7. ^ "Teledentistry Shows Potential to Assist Rural Communities". NIH. December 24, 2008.
  8. ^ 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.