The feasibility of a digital health approach to facilitate remote dental screening among preschool children during COVID-19 and social restrictions

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4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Abstract
Background
Tele-dentistry can be useful to facilitate screening of children, especially those living in rural and remote communities, and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aim
This study evaluated the feasibility of tele-dental screening for the identification of early childhood caries (ECC) in preschoolers using an app operated by their parents with remote review by oral-health therapists.
Design
This cross-sectional study was a sub-project nested in ORIGINS Project, a longitudinal birth cohort study in Western Australia. Initially, children were visually examined by a paediatric dentist (gold standard). Subsequently, dental photographs were taken by parents using a smartphone camera. Two trained oral health professionals asynchronously evaluated dental photographs. The presence of dental caries was recorded as per the International Caries Detection and Assessment System-II classification. The diagnostic accuracy and reliability of the tele-dental screening and the gold standard dental examinations were then compared.
Results
Forty-two children aged =95.5%) for both reviewers compared to the gold standard dental examination. However, the sensitivity scores for the two reviewers varied, ranging from 44% to 88.4%.
Conclusion
Tele-dental screening for ECC was shown to be a feasible approach following a brief training for primary caregivers. This approach can offer a potential low-cost and sustainable alternative for visual dental examinations for young children, particularly in times of COVID-19-related restrictions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-245
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Paediatric Dentistry
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

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