Teledentistry and its use in education

Author: Jung-Wei Chen, DDS, MS

Primary Advisor: Martin H. Hobdell, BDS, MA, PhD (University of Texas – Houston Health Science Center, Dental Branch) (co-author)

Committee Members: Kim Dunn, MD, PhD (co-author); Kathy A. Johnson, PhD (co-author); Jiajie Zhang, PhD (co-author)

Masters thesis, The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston.

Background: Teledentistry is a relatively new field, which combines telecommunication technology and dental care. Most dentists and dental educators are unaware that teledentistry can be used, not only for increased access to dental care, but also for advanced dental education. Type of Studies Reviewed: Teledentistry is described worldwide and often used in education. Teledentistry in education can be divided into two main categories; one is self-instruction education and the other is interactive videoconferencing. Both of these methods have been used in different studies and countries. Result: The type of network connectivity greatly affects the feasibility of teledentistry education. Furthermore, there is no single optimal type, but should be chosen based on budget, geography and technical support available. When Comparing the two teledentistry education categories, the interactive videoconferencing method has better results due to immediate feedback. Clinical Implications: Teledentistry can extend care to additional patient populations, such as those in rural areas, at a reasonable cost. Teledentistry provides an opportunity in dental education to supplement traditional teaching methods. Teledentistry in dental education will provide a new way for dental education both to dental students and dentists.