Dr. Raul Escalante: How teledentistry will evolve

Raul Escalante, DDS, a San Marcos, Calif.-based dentist, sees a place for teledentistry in the future focused primarily on providing diagnostic support.

Question: What is your impression of teledentistry today?

Dr. Raul Escalante: Teledentistry, I feel, is still in its infancy as a tool for the dentist. Dentistry is such a 'hands on' field that teledentistry I think can only provide so much. I can see its use as a diagnostic tool, however, even then you can't replace being with the patient in person.

Q: How do you anticipate teledentistry evolving in the next few years?

RE: I think teledentistry is an excellent triage tool, and you can calm a nervous or anxious patient by giving them information. However, I just feel it has its limitations. Like I said, I think it's in its infancy, and maybe sometime in the future, with new apps or new phones, a dentist will be able to accurately diagnose through teledentistry. That is how I anticipate teledentistry will be evolving in the next few years.

I think because it has its place in dentistry, there may be a company or some type of specialty group that will be developing apps for your phone or computer. Apps that will allow a patient to connect with their dentist, and the dentist will be able to somehow look into the patient's mouth as if the patient was in his/her office. Maybe through fiber optics? Maybe through some sort of 3D app, like a cone beam for your phone? I believe we'll see something along these lines.

The more information the dentist can attain, the better he/she can help the patient. I think teledentistry has a place and can develop into a niche in dentistry.

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6 benefits of teledentistry, per ATDA
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