Prevalence of dental caries in Early Head Start children as diagnosed using teledentistry

Pediatr Dent. 2008 Jul-Aug;30(4):329-33.


Purpose: This study's purpose was to assess caries prevalence by means of teledentistry in 12- to 60-month old children enrolled in Early Head Start inner-city child core centers.

Methods: Images of the primary dentition were obtained by trained telehealth assistants using on intraoral camera. Images were entered into a Web-based storage and retrieval program. They were transmitted to a secure, remote-site computer and evaluated by a calibrated pediatric dentist.

Results: Of 162 children screened, 93 were caries free and 69 had early childhood caries (ECC). Of these, 28 had severe early childhood caries (S-ECC). The mean dfs score for all 162 children was 1.88. The mean dfs score for the 69 ECC children was 4.42. The mean dfs for the subgroup of 28 S-ECC children was 7.61. Caries scores of S-ECC children were statistically significantly different from caries scores of the entire cohort and from caries scores of the ECC children.

Conclusions: This study's results show that: (1) almost half of the preschoolers enrolled in the study were affected by dental caries; (2) only a few children had ever had a dental visit; and (3) teledentistry offers a potentially efficient means of screening high-risk preschool children for signs of early childhood caries.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries / diagnosis*
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Early Intervention, Educational
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Telemedicine*
  • White People / statistics & numerical data