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      Teledentistry awareness, its usefulness, and challenges among dental professionals in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia

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          Abstract

          Objectives

          This study aims to describe the perception of dental professionals in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia (SA) towards the practice of teledentistry, its usefulness and challenges.

          Methods

          A cross-sectional study was carried out among 190 dentists from January 2021 to April 2021. The participants were included in the study using snowball sampling method. A 26-item adopted questionnaire was distributed using different social media channels. Chi-square test was used for analysis.

          Results

          Out of 190 participants, 46.3% were from Pakistan and 53.7% were from SA. The majority of participants in both countries agreed that teledentistry would enhance guidelines and advice (74.2%), improve peer-to-peer interaction (79.5%) and make patient's referrals more efficient (75.8%). For the usefulness, most participants agree that it is economical for the patients (61.1%), improves communication (74.7%), helps in educating the patients (86.3%), avoid unnecessary travel (76.8%), helps monitoring (71.6%), and benefits patients in remote areas (74.7%); however, more Pakistani participants perceived that time spent with the patient would increase compared to SA participants ( p < 0.001) and a higher proportion of SA participants believe that it helps in communication and monitoring of patients ( p < 0.001) than Pakistani participants. Regarding the challenges in the use of teledentistry, few participants think that it violates the patient's privacy (22.6%) or is difficult to use (14.7%) or have distrust towards the teledentistry equipment (24.2%).

          Conclusion

          The results indicated a high awareness and a positive attitude towards teledentistry, and its adaptation in their dental practice in both countries. However, limited infrastructure, set-up cost, and information technology (IT) literacy are the main challenges in integrating teledentistry which can be overcome by strategic government initiatives, policies, and programs.

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          Most cited references28

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          Diffusion of Technology: Frequency of Use for Younger and Older Adults.

          OBJECTIVES: When we think of technology-savvy consumers, older adults are typically not the first persons that come to mind. The common misconception is that older adults do not want to use or cannot use technology. But for an increasing number of older adults, this is not true (Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2003). Older adults do use technologies similar to their younger counterparts, but perhaps at different usage rates. Previous research has identified that there may be subgroups of older adults, "Silver Surfers", whose adoption patterns mimic younger adults (Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2003). Much of the previous research on age-related differences in technology usage has only investigated usage broadly -- from a "used" or "not used" standpoint. The present study investigated age-related differences in overall usage of technologies, as well as frequency of technology usage (i.e., never, occasional, or frequent). METHODS: The data were gathered through a questionnaire from younger adults (N=430) and older adults (N=251) in three geographically separate and ethnically diverse areas of the United States. RESULTS: We found that younger adults use a greater breadth of technologies than older adults. However, age-related differences in usage and the frequency of use depend on the technology domain. CONCLUSION: This paper presents technology usage and frequency data to highlight age-related differences and similarities. The results provide insights into older and younger adults' technology-use patterns, which in turn provide a basis for expectations about knowledge differences. Designers and trainers can benefit from understanding experience and knowledge differences.
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            Applications of teledentistry: A literature review and update

            Teledentistry is a combination of telecommunications and dentistry involving the exchange of clinical information and images over remote distances for dental consultation and treatment planning. Teledentistry has the ability to improve access to oral healthcare, improve the delivery of oral healthcare, and lower its costs. It also has the potential to eliminate the disparities in oral health care between rural and urban communities. This article reviews the origin, rationale, scope, basis, and requirements for teledentistry, along with the current evidence that exists in the literature. This article also reviews the ethical and legal issues related to the practice of teledentistry and the future of this alternative and innovative method of delivering dental care.
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              Teledentistry in practice: literature review.

              Teledentistry can be defined as the remote provision of dental care, advice, or treatment through the medium of information technology, rather than through direct personal contact with any patient(s) involved. Within dental practice, teledentistry is used extensively in disciplines like preventive dentistry, orthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, periodontal conditions, detection of early dental caries, patient education, oral medicine, and diagnosis. Some of the key modes and methods used in teledentistry are electronic health records, electronic referral systems, digitizing images, teleconsultations, and telediagnosis. All the applications used in teledentistry aim to bring about efficiency, provide access to underserved population, improve quality of care, and reduce oral disease burden.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Digit Health
                Digit Health
                DHJ
                spdhj
                Digital Health
                SAGE Publications (Sage UK: London, England )
                2055-2076
                24 March 2022
                Jan-Dec 2022
                : 8
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Dentistry (SOD), Federal Medical Teaching Institution/PIMS, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Islamabad, Pakistan
                [2 ]School of Dental Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian, Malaysia
                [3 ]Department of Conservative Dental Sciences, College of Dentistry, Qassim University, Al-Qassim, Saudia Arabia
                [4 ]College of Dentistry, Bakhtawar Amin Medical and Dental College, Multan, Pakistan
                [5 ]Preventive Dentistry Department, College of Dentistry, Jouf University, Sakaka, Saudi Arabia
                Author notes
                [*]Farooq Ahmad Chaudhary, School of Dentistry (SOD), Federal Medical Teaching Institution (FMTI)/PIMS, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU), Islamabad, Pakistan. Email: chaudhary4@ 123456hotmail.com
                Article
                10.1177_20552076221089776
                10.1177/20552076221089776
                8958680
                c6562d2e-df65-45bd-b7f2-6aa254510a20
                © The Author(s) 2022

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work as published without adaptation or alteration, without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page ( https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

                Categories
                Original Research
                Custom metadata
                ts19
                January-December 2022

                teledentistry,attitude,awareness,usefullness,challenges,dental professionals

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