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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1

The World Wide Web of orthodontics- A comprehensive narrative on teledentistry pertaining to the orthodontics of the 21st century


1 Saveetha Dental College and Hospital, Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Saveetha University, Chennai, India; Department of Orthodontics, University of Puthisastra, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
2 Saint Louis University, Missouri; Case Western Reserve University, Ohio; The University of Michigan, Michigan, USA
3 Department of Orthodontics, University of Puthisastra, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
4 Saveetha Dental College and Hospital, Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Saveetha University, Chennai, India
5 European University College, DHCC, Dubai, UAE
6 Department of Orthodontics, University of Homburg/Saar, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Adith Venugopal
Saveetha Dental College and Hospital, Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Saveetha University, Chennai; Department of Orthodontics, University of Puthisastra, Phnom Penh

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jos.jos_147_21

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Teledentistry has proven effective in practically all dental fields. It also allows access to inaccessible and underdeveloped locations. Better treatment outcomes were documented in patients treated by an orthodontist supervised by teledentistry than by a general dentist with minimal orthodontic experience alone. It may also help to focus referrals to specialists and weed out those who do not need them. But, on a critical note, a doctor-patient relationship is much more than a business transaction. A face-to-face initial consultation instills trust that a remote session cannot. Teledentistry includes professional networking of doctors. This contact includes digital information exchange, CPD programs, case discussions, and analysis that bring dentists from all around the world together to improve patient care. Teledentistry has not only spanned the distance between dentists worldwide, but has also served as a conduit between customer (patient) and manufacturer. This spawned Direct to Consumer (DTC) dentistry, sparking substantial debate among dentists worldwide. In DTC dentistry, inadequately trained customers conduct complex procedures on themselves with minimal guidance of a dentist. One of the major issues today is the general availability of clear aligners to patients without the requirement for an intermediary skilled orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) has publicly questioned the validity of Smile Direct Club, a private firm that dominates the DTC industry. European Federation of Orthodontic Specialists Association, on the other hand, has sponsored a joint declaration with the representative orthodontic associations in Europe to highlight and alert patients about the potential risks of DTC products. Unfortunately, public shaming hasn't slowed commercialization of DTC firms. Teledentistry has been a boon for healthcare, but a nightmare for our profession, raising fundamental questions like what is the difference between a customer and a patient? Is dentistry a just another discipline of cosmetics? Is teledentistry making us less connected with our patients?


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