Purpose: Teledentistry uses computer-based technology to render remote healthcare-related therapy and/or consultation. The purpose of this study was to review the contributions and concerns about the use of teledentistry in clinical orthodontics.
Keywords: benefits, clinical, COVID, limitations, orthodontics, teledentistry, telemedicine
Materials and Methods: The focused question was “What are the benefits and limitations of the use of teledentistry in clinical orthodontics?” PubMed/Medline, Scopus, Embase, Google-Scholar and ISI Web of knowledge databases were searched up to and including February 2021 using the following key words: 1. teledentistry; 2. teleorthodontics; 3. ethics; 4. orthodontics; 5. scope. The inclusion criteria were: (a) clinical studies; (b) case reports; and (c) case series. Studies on animal models, in vitro and/or ex vivo studies, letters, commentaries, and narrative and systematic reviews were not included in the search. The design of the study was tailored to recapitulate the relevant information.
Results: Four clinical studies fulfilled the eligibility criteria and were processed for data extraction. All studies had been performed after obtaining informed consent from the participants. Three studies reported that teledentistry was useful in clinical orthodontics. In one study, a clear conclusion could not be drawn regarding the benefits of teledentistry in clinical orthodontics. Two out of the four studies did not obtain prior approval from an institutional review board or ethics committee. Three studies did not report any measures that were undertaken to safeguard the electronic transfer of patient-related health information.
Conclusions: Teledentistry is a useful tool for initial patient assessments; however, it is not a reliable alternative for in-office clinical orthodontic practice.