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Prevalence of Dental Caries in Early Head Start Children as Diagnosed Using Teledentistry

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Purpose: This study's purpose was to assess caries prevalence by means of teledentistry in 12- to 60-month old children enrolled in Early Head Start inner-city child care centers. Methods: Images of the primary dentition were obtained by trained telehealth assistants using an intraoral camera. Images were entered into a Web-based storage and retrieval program. They were transmitted to a secure, remote-site computer and evaluated by a calibrated pediatric dentist. Results: Of 162 children screened, 93 were caries free and 69 had early childhood caries (ECC). Of these, 28 had severe early childhood caries (S-ECC). The mean dfs score for all 162 children was 1.88. The mean dfs score for the 69 ECC children was 4.42. The mean dfs for the subgroup of 28 S-ECC children was 7.61. Caries scores of S-ECC children were statistically significantly different from caries scores of the entire cohort and from caries scores of the ECC children. Conclusions: This study's results show that: (1) almost half of the preschoolers enrolled in the study were affected by dental caries; (2) only a few children had ever had a dental visit; and (3) teledentistry offers a potentially efficient means of screening high-risk preschool children for signs of early childhood caries.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • Pediatric Dentistry is the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. It is published bi-monthly and is internationally recognized as the leading journal in the area of pediatric dentistry. The journal promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. This peer-reviewed journal features scientific articles, case reports and abstracts of current pediatric dental research.
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