Dental selfie: An innovative teledentistry tool for safe dental examination of children during the COVID-19 pandemic
How to cite this article: Jayam C, Arun Babu T. Dental selfie: An innovative teledentistry tool for safe dental examination of children during COVID-19 pandemic. Karnataka Paediatr J 2023;38:14-5.
Oral and dental problems are one of the most common diseases of childhood which requires immediate intervention to prevent, treat or ameliorate the disease. When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, dental clinics were the first ones to close due to the risk of oral spread of COVID-19. The shutting of dental clinics had prevented children from getting their routine dental care. Most of the non-emergency dental services have gradually resumed in most countries including India, thanks to the reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases and the introduction of COVID-19 vaccination.
Tele-consultation services were utilised to a great extent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Telemedicine played a significant role in keeping dental clinics functional during the COVID pandemic. We propose one innovation, ‘dental selfies’ which we used in our setup during the COVID pandemic and found to be very useful. All children contacting us for telemedicine consultations were encouraged to send a selfie picture of their oral cavity and teeth are taken using a smartphone camera. Parents were asked to send either pictures or short video selfies depending on the clinical condition. Some of the common ‘dental selfie’ views that patients need to send based on our experience are individual maxilla [Figure 1a] view/mandibular view [Figure 1b], anterior view [Figure 1c], and zoomed image of the lesion in question.
In an era where smartphones with camera capabilities have become common in households, utilising the same to bridge the challenges during teleconsultation was largely rewarding. A few tips for taking good dental selfies include using adequate lighting and using the ‘autofocus’ feature to enhance the quality of the image. Telemedicine relies heavily on patients’ information but with additional dental selfies, dentists can get more information on the dental condition. Dental selfies can be used for initial screening of the disease and contactless follow-up of conditions. These also reduced the chances of ‘white coat syndrome’ and anxieties associated with physical consultations, time-saving and more convenient for children and parents. However, this innovation is not without any disadvantages. Image resolution issues/diminished quality of image due to inherent filtering by media software can pose difficulties. There is a chance of misdiagnosis due to the reduced scope of clinical examination.
In spite of these disadvantages, this innovation has a potential role in teledentistry and also in supplementing the existing old-fashioned format of physical consultation and is worth exploring.
Declaration of patient consent
The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent.
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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