Bridging the Miles — And the Pandemic — Teledentistry Makes Some Dentists Wince

Donella Pogue has trouble finding dentists in her rural area willing to accommodate her 21-year-old son, Justin, who is 6 feet, 8 inches tall, is on the autism spectrum and has difficulty sitting still when touched.

And this summer, he had a cavity and his face swelled. Pogue, of Bristol, New York, reached out to the Eastman Institute for Oral Health in Rochester, which offers teledentistry.

Dr. Adela Planerova looked into his mouth from 28 miles away as Pogue pointed her laptop’s camera into her son’s mouth. Planerova determined they did not need to make an emergency one-hour drive to her clinic. Instead, the dentist prescribed antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, and weeks later he had surgery.

Teledentistry allows dental professionals like Planerova to remotely review records and diagnose patients over video. Some smile about its promise, seeing it as a way to become more efficient, to reach the one-third of

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