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The missing piece in telemedicine? Dentistry

December 05, 2018 / Paige Minemyer

Telemedicine has gotten plenty of chatter when it comes to specialty and mental health care, but more providers should drill down on using it for oral health care, according to a new study. The University of Rochester’s Eastman Institute for Oral Health piloted a teledentistry program that in 2014 extended into a partnership with Finger Lakes Community Health, a federally qualified health center, to provide access to pediatric dentistry.  Finger Lakes facilities have screened more than 850 rural pediatric patients in the program to date, 95% of which had oral care needs that could not be treated at a community dental clinic, according to the study published in Health Affairs. Of the program’s initial 251 patients, 93% had oral care needs that required general anesthesia. The majority (87%) of these treatments were completed. Dorota Kopycka-Kedzierawski, the study’s lead author and a dentist with the University of Rochester, said many of these patients, who were t...