A new app developed by researchers working at the Indiana University School of Dentistry and Regenstrief Institute could help people who are having a dental emergency and ultimately increase access to care.
The idea for the application came when one of the researchers had a dental emergency of his own, says IU School of Dentistry Professor Dr. Thankam Thyvalikakath.
“He was trying to convey the information to the dentist about what he was experiencing and at that time he realized if only I could send all this information in an effective manner,” Thyvalikakath says.
The DentaCom app guides users through a series of questions about their dental problem and then lets them take a picture of the tooth in question and send it off to a dentist. The study was published in last month’s issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association and found that all the participants were able to successfully use the app in under four minutes.
Thyvalikakath says the app could be helpful in alleviating trips to the emergency room and delaying treatment.
“Oftentimes they receive symptomatic treatment and not much direction on the definition of treatment they need,” says Thyvalikakath.
In use beyond emergency scenarios, Thyvalikakath says the tool could be helpful providing guidance for patients who don’t have dental insurance or live in remote areas, including children.
“Typically school children could get screened for dental and for entire physical health and that could be an example of using our app,” says Thyvalikakath.