Dental disease impacts children more than many realize. In fact, it is the most common childhood disease. Poor dental health causes several entirely preventable issues in children, including dental caries. According to the CDC, 13.2% of children ages 5-9 had untreated dental caries in 2019. Early detection and treatment are key to reducing oral health problems that have a severe impact on children’s lives. School nurses can help to bridge the gap between medical and dental care by using teledentistry solutions like intraoral cameras and telehealth or teledentistry platforms.
Preventable Issues. Major Consequences.
Oral health can affect a child’s speech, performance, self-esteem and so many other areas of their life. Dental pain can cause discomfort during eating and is linked to malnutrition. Lack of sleep from dental pain and pain during the day results in decreased focus and diminished performance in the classroom. Worse, a student’s attendance may also be affected as students are three times as likely to miss school when impacted by dental health issues.
Seeing is Believing
With intraoral cameras, nurses can document a student’s oral health and share that information with parents or guardians through a HIPAA-compliant and secure platform, like TeleDent by MouthWatch. When a student or their parent sees dental conditions that look abnormal, they know right away that the child’s oral health oral health isn’t ideal. Nurses are not tasked with making diagnoses—they are facilitating referrals and communication between families and dental care resources. Being able to visualize areas of concern, whether from insufficient homecare or abnormalities, gives patients and their parents a solid motivational starting point to change behavior.
Screenings for Students
Schools can implement a school-wide screening on an annual or bi-annual basis. With intraoral cameras, nurses can get a snapshot of the school population’s oral health and share with local community dental partners for triaging and evaluation. For children that visit the nurses office with dental pain or concerns the nurse can quickly and easily capture an image to share for diagnosis and provide a referral. Teledentistry provides the ability to virtually connect children and families with a dental care provider to overall health improvement and ensure school can be as dental pain-free as possible.
Don’t currently have a dental care resource you work with? We can help! Talk with your TeleDent School specialist about your needs.