‘Digitalisation in dental health care is the way to go’ - GulfToday

‘Digitalisation in dental health care is the way to go’


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Digitalisation in dental and oral health care is the way to go and those in practice have become more open to this form of telehealth in these Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) times.

Align Technology-Europe/Middle East/Africa senior vice president/managing director Markus Sebastian said: “I can only speak of the feedback I have received from conversations I recently held with members of various dental associations in the region. Since the pandemic, the response from the dental community has been heartening, and knowledge sharing has become more of a priority than ever before.”

“Digital dentistry helps optimise processes, creating a more streamlined digitised workflow that covers every aspect of the patient’s journey. From diagnostics to planning and dental laboratory production as well as patient follow-up,” he added.

Sebastian was interviewed because COVID-19 too has definitely affected the physical appointments of dentists and their patients: “The dental sector has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. Typically, the industry has reported that while emergency dental procedures are being delivered, routine treatments have been on hold.”

Moreover, dental and oral health requirements should not be ignored for these consequently result in debilitating physical, psychological, social, emotional and spiritual conditions.

Take the case of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) which a team from the University of Birmingham-School of Dentistry (UK) had researched on and came up with “The Role of Oral Healthcare Teams in Identification of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review” published in the Jan. 18, 2020 issue of “Current Oral Health Reports.”

Lead researcher was the School of Dentistry head, Prof. Iain Chapple who noted that severe periodontitis or gum disease is significantly linked to T2DM.

According to World Health Organisation, there were 422 million adult T2DM suffferers globally in 2017 as one in two for a total of 212 million were living with undiagnosed T2DM.

Chapple and co-researchers wanted to know how dentists and other dental healthcare professionals could close the gap between them and physicians such as the diabetologists for the benefit of the dental/oral health patients.

“Our review identified positive attitudes of physicians, dental team members, patients and the public towards risk-

assessing and early case detection of diabetes and pre-diabetes with the dental surgery,” Chapple explained to Gulf Today.

He added: “Patients also strongly support tests being undertaken that provide immediate results. They will benefit from the more joined up approach to care pathways between physicians and dental practitioners.”

On the local front and over at the New York University-College of Dentistry (Abu Dhabi/NYUAD), a research team discovered only last April a novel explanation on how dental flourosis takes place in the formation of teeth in children due to excessive exposure to flouride.

Long-term challenges resulting from flourosis are osteoporosis and the stiffness of the neck, backbone, shoulder, hip and knee joints which, if worsened, become a permanent disability. “Our research (published in “Science Signalling”) highlights how over-exposure to fluoride can be detrimental to the teeth, especially in children when they are developing. Children should get the right amount of fluoride through a combination of fluoridated toothpaste and fluoridated water or supplements,” said NYUAD Biology assistant professor Youssef Idaghdour.

Lead researcher Rodrigo Lacruz, Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology asistant professor, said they pursued the research for even though “the benefits of fluoride for oral health considerably outweigh the risks, dental fluorosis is so common and the cellular mechanisms responsible for it are poorly understood.”

Align Technology has so far invented and has come up with digital equipment even workable during pandemics.

One is the Invisalign Virtual Appointment tool helpful for dentists to check on the progress of the patient treatment remotely.

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