Remote diagnosis of children dental problems based on non-invasive photographs - a valid proceeding?

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2009:150:458-62.


Telemedicine models using commercially available technology have enabled high-quality illness care in paediatric primary care settings and markedly improved access. This fact should be explored in Pediatric Dentistry, considering that dental problems are very common in children at pre-school age and it becomes important to screen them as early as possible in order to promote the appropriate treatment. In this sense, we aim to know how telemedicine, or more specifically, teledentistry, could help on this process, evaluating the validity of children dental problems remote diagnosis based on non-invasive photographs, using accessible and low-cost technologies. Three photographs were taken for each of 66 children to be remotely analyzed by four dentists. Each dentist filled a web-based questionnaire for each child. The same children had a traditional in-person dental consultation that is used as a gold standard in this study. The results show sensitivity between 94% and 100% and specificity between 52% and 100%. The positive predictive value was between 67% and 100% and the negative predictive value between 94% and 100%. These results suggest that remote diagnosis of children dental problems based on non-invasive photographs constitute a valid resource when we pretend to exclude referred children to a dentist for treatment of dental problems, but further studies should be carried out to increase the validity of this proceeding to referring children for the same treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Dental Care for Children*
  • Diagnosis, Differential*
  • Humans
  • Photography*
  • Remote Consultation*