The mission of the American Teledentistry Association is to educate dental professionals, public policy makers and patients about the scope of teledentistry and to develop best practices in this growing area of healthcare delivery. We have found that there is a tremendous amount of misinformation on the web regarding teledentistry. It is unfortunate that most of it has come from dental professionals and protectionist trade groups who believe that teledental practice diminishes the role of the dental practitioner in diagnosis and treatment.
The most common misconception is that teleorthodontic treatment is “Do-it-yourself” orthodontics. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Through the use of information technology and the digital health record, orthodontists are able to, in real time or in a store-and-forward method, utilize teledentistry to diagnose, treatment plan, render treatment and monitor treatment progress of patients. Do-it-yourself orthodontics, either Do-it-Yourself Braces or Do-it Yourself Aligners, on the other hand, does not involve a doctor in any part of the process.
The following definition best describes teledentistry today:
“Teledentistry can be defined as the remote provision of dental care, advice, or treatment through the medium of information technology, rather than through direct personal contact with any patient(s) involved. Within dental practice, teledentistry is used extensively in disciplines like preventive dentistry, orthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, periodontal conditions, detection of early dental caries, patient education, oral medicine, and diagnosis. Some of the key modes and methods used in teledentistry are electronic health records, electronic referral systems, digitizing images, teleconsultations, and telediagnosis. All the applications used in teledentistry aim to bring about efficiency, provide access to underserved population, improve quality of care, and reduce oral disease burden.” (Emphasis added.)
Khan SA, Omar H. Teledentistry in practice. Telemed J E Health 2013;19:565-7.