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Idaho State University: Empowering the Future of Oral Healthcare
Idaho State University: Empowering the Future of Oral Healthcare

Driven by a commitment to excellence in dental education and patient care, Idaho State University (ISU) has embraced innovative dental technologies to elevate its programs. The adoption of MouthWatch Intraoral Cameras and TeleDent have proven instrumental in achieving ISU’s goals.

Pioneering Intraoral Camera Integration

In 2021, ISU sought an affordable and user-friendly alternative to its existing intraoral cameras. After thorough research, the MouthWatch cameras emerged as the ideal choice, offering cost-effectiveness and ease of use. These cameras were integrated into ISU’s dental hygiene clinic, enabling students to capture images and videos, enhance patient education, and facilitate proper referrals.

Innovative Curriculum Integration

ISU’s approach to curriculum integration sets it apart. Beyond traditional clinical use, the university has incorporated MouthWatch cameras into its restorative program. Students are taught to capture pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative images during restorative procedures. This hands-on experience not only enhances patient education but also provides valuable feedback for student learning and skill development

Teledentistry Expansion

Building upon the success of the intraoral cameras, ISU adopted teledentistry in 2023 with the introduction of TeleDent to its program. Through a grant-funded initiative, ISU aimed to address oral health disparities in Idaho’s underserved communities.

By integrating MouthWatch Intraoral Cameras with TeleDent, the university can dispatch dental hygiene students and nursing students to underserved areas to perform cleanings or conduct evaluations remotely. The students captured intraoral images and streamed live video via TeleDent, enabling off-site, supervising hygienists and dentists to provide real-time guidance and oversight.

This enables students to provide preventive treatments such as cleanings, fluoride varnish applications and silver diamine fluoride (SDF) treatments in remote settings. Collaborating with nursing students, dental hygiene students conduct patient evaluations and coordinate care, adhering to established guidelines and protocols. By facilitating referrals for advanced dental care when necessary, students ensure comprehensive patient care and contribute to expanding access to oral health services in underserved communities across Idaho.

Quantifiable Impact

ISU’s integration of MouthWatch technologies has yielded tangible results, substantiating the program’s impact on expanding access to oral healthcare. Through the grant-funded initiative, ISU has trained 64 nursing students across two cohorts to use MouthWatch Intraoral Cameras and TeleDent, who have since participated in over 20 rotations with 8 to 12 students per rotation.  

These nursing students, under the guidance of dental hygiene faculty, have provided over 90 oral health screenings and appropriate referrals to underserved adult populations in Idaho’s dental health professional shortage areas. The screenings have been categorized based on urgency, with all moderate and high-priority cases confirmed by dental hygienists and dentists asynchronously.

The nursing students have applied over 50 fluoride varnish treatments, while the use of silver diamine fluoride has been limited due to its specific indications and student comfort levels. The TeleDent platform has streamlined the process, enabling the direct upload of informed consent forms and consolidating patient records in a centralized location.  

These quantifiable outcomes underscore ISU’s commitment to enhancing access to preventive oral healthcare services, facilitating early intervention, and ensuring continuity of care for underserved communities across Idaho.

Empowering Students for the Future

ISU’s integration of MouthWatch Intraoral Cameras and teledentistry aligns seamlessly with its educational goals. By equipping students with the latest essential dental technology, ISU ensures they meet industry standards and are prepared for the evolving landscape of dental healthcare. Moreover, by incorporating teledentistry into its curriculum, ISU fosters interprofessional collaboration and empowers nursing students to become advocates for oral health within their communities.

Idaho State University’s incorporation of MouthWatch solutions exemplifies the transformative potential of dental technology in education and patient care. By embracing innovation and fostering interprofessional collaboration, ISU remains at the forefront of dental education, preparing students to meet the evolving challenges of oral healthcare and continues to elevate the standard of care and positively impact the oral health of communities across Idaho.