Teledentistry – whodda thunk it eh?


I remember receiving a phone call about “bottle mouth syndrome” when my daughter was in medical school at Queens and she was sent up to Sioux Lookout and environs to do a component of her residency……caught this little snippet and realized, when you live in the big smoke, you don’t realize that access to dental care for many doesn’t come so easy if you live in outlying brush fires……

She may be miles away, but through a state of the art video feed, pediatric dentist Jeffrey Karp can examine Amaya‘s teeth up close. 

“It makes the opportunity for me to be in the room without actually being in the room,” Karp said. 

Amaya lives more than an hour away from Rochester’s Eastman dental center. It’s a rural area in upstate New York where tooth decay is a major problem. 

“I don’t think a lot of private offices realize how much decay is still out there in children,” said Dr. Tony Mendicino. 

Some of these families that use these rural dental clinics lack the financial resources to travel to center’s like Eastman when they are in need of more complex dental procedures. 

“We have children coming from hours away. And so, when there’s only one provider in the upstate or a few providers, that are doing these services, the need is constantly increasing,” Karp said.

Through tele-dentistry, real-time videoconferencing, Karp can assess a patient’s dental health and get a feel for how a child behaves. All this information helps Karp develop a treatment plan without actually having to see the patient in his office. 

I took photo with Canon camera in Shamrock, TX.

Image via Wikipedia

“It’s much more cost effective to do it through this kind of strategy,” Karp said. 

It’s a savings in cost and time Amaya’s mother can appreciate. 

“It works with my schedule, I mean, I have five kids. I work full time. So it does help us with that part,” said Dedre Hayes Cordero, Amaya’s mother. 

It’s technology Karp believes will catch on. 

“There certainly cou
ld be a future where this could be a new way to deliver care in rural communities or underserved communities,” Karp said.
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