The efficacy of remote screening for dental caries by mid-level dental providers using a mobile teledentistry model

Mohamed Estai, Yogesan Kanagasingam, Boyen Huang, Hellen Checker, Lesley Steele, Estie Kruger, Marc Tennant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study aimed to determine whether intraoral photographic assessment by mid-level dental providers (MLDPs) offers a valid and reliable means of dental caries screening. Methods: A mobile teledentistry model was developed to facilitate the acquisition of dental images, and transmission and reviewing of data. One hundred regularly attending patients at a dental clinic participated in the study. Following an on-site clinical examination by a senior dentist, photographs of participants' teeth were taken by a teledental assistant, using a smartphone camera. These intraoral photographs were directly uploaded from an Android App to a cloud-based server, ‘Remote-i’, using an encrypted store-and-forward telemedicine technology. The photographic assessment carried out by two independent screeners (MLDPs), was compared to the visual oral examination scores of a benchmark examiner. Results: The sensitivity and specificity values for the photographic assessment method (assessed by screeners) as compared to the direct visual examination ranged from 60% to 68%, and 97% to 98%, respectively. The intra-rater reliability for the photographic assessment was almost perfect, with a kappa score of 0.89. The inter-rater reliability between the photographic and visual oral assessments ranged from moderate to substantial agreement, with kappa scores ranging from 0.57 to 0.61. Conclusion: A new smartphone-based mobile teledentistry model used by mid-level dental providers shows potential for remote screening of dental caries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-441
Number of pages7
JournalCommunity Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge the kind assistance of Clinical Associate Professor John Winters from the Princess Margret Hospital and Professor Stuart Bunt from the University of Western Australia for their contributions in this trial. We gratefully acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Dr. Christopher Pantin, Mrs. Debbie Williams, and Ms. Jennine Bywaters from Absolute Dental for their efforts in data collection. We would like to thank Di Xiao and Janardhan Vignarajan from the CSIRO Australia for their technical support. Thanks also to dental students (Andrew Liaw, Olivia Haselton, and Abhayjit Dhillon) at the dental school, James Cook University, for their efforts in collecting data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • caries
  • digital imaging
  • mid-level dental providers
  • remote
  • screening
  • smartphone
  • teledentistry


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