Validity and reliability of remote dental screening by different oral health professionals using a store-and-forward telehealth model

Mohamed Estai, J. Winters, Y. Kanagasingam, Julia Shiikha, H. Checker, Estie Kruger, Marc Tennant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 British Dental Association. All rights reserved.Objective This study was conducted to evaluate the validity and reliability of intraoral photographic assessments by different members of a dental team as a means for dental screening in children.Methods The intraoral photographic records of 126 children (2 to 18 years old) were obtained from routine clinical records taken before dental treatment. Intraoral photographs were obtained using a DSLR camera and then uploaded to a cloud-based server using store-and-forward telehealth technology. Images were reviewed by an expert panel to formulate a benchmark screening baseline, to which the screeners' data were compared. The photographic assessments conducted by a mid-level dental practitioner (MLDP) and dentist, were compared to the benchmark expert panel assessment.Results The screeners' assessments by means of intraoral photography, when compared to the expert panel assessment had a sensitivity value of 82-89% and specificity value of 97%. The inter-examiner agreement between the expert panel assessment and photographic method (assessed by a dentist and MLDP), was almost perfect, with a kappa score ranging from 0.82 to 0.88. The mean DFT/dft score for the children as determined by the expert panel's review and photographic assessment ranging from 5.41 to 5.79, with mean scores between the two assessment methods not significantly different (P = 0.746).Conclusion Our results suggested that oral health professionals (other than dentists) have the potential to screen for caries from intraoral photographs with the same diagnostic accuracy and reliability as dentists. This strategy has implications for supporting the use of MLDPs such as dental therapists or hygienists to screen for oral disease using telehealth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-414
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2016


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