Teledentistry within Kentucky

Teledentistry allows for an entirely new way of providing specialist advice. Through the use of telecommunication and computer technologies, it is now possible to provide interactive access to specialists that are not limited by the constraints of time and distance. It is a valuable tool in providing dental care in rural areas, where there is a shortage of specialists and a lack of comprehensive and sophisticated health care. It can be a solution to the barriers of dental care like the lack and cost of transportation, time off from work and school, and to save the patient’s money.
In September of 2014 a member of the Kentucky Board of Dentistry discussed the advantages for the practice of teledentistry. The member questioned if the board needed to transmit regulations that addressed teledentistry, as it is an emerging issue nationally and publicly in Kentucky. After a discussion, it was decided to table the issue and try to find out more about other state boards’ involvement in teledentistry at an upcoming AADB meeting. During a meeting later held on November of 2014, the Kentucky board of Dentistry discussed the impact that teledentistry will soon have on the dental profession by creating issues in the areas of public health; digital imaging of dentition; fee splitting; and cyber dentists. A motion was also made that the teledentistry committee be comprised of certain members and that the committee will invite members from other reasonable stakeholders from such entities as the KY Dental Association, University of Louisville School of Dentistry; University of Kentucky College of Dentistry; KY Dental Hygienists Association; Academy of General Dentistry, etc. as appropriate to facilitate, research and formulate potential regulations to then present to the full Board for consideration.
Using the state of Virginia as a proposed model to immolate, the Virginia Legislator has directed the Department of Medical Assistance Services to create a two-year pilot program to provide dental services to school-age children who are eligible to receive pediatric dental services through the “Smiles for Children” program in school systems, which at least 50 percent of the elementary students have not been examined by a dentist within the preceding 12 months or have no dental home of record. Those participating dentists will provide supervision of dental hygienists through the methods of teledentistry.
A cost analysis was undertaken by comparing the costs of teledentistry with two alternatives: outreach visits, in which the specialist regularly visited the remote communities, and hospital visits, where patients in remote communities traveled to hospital for consultations. This study found the cost savings of teledentistry were greatest in the remote communities, where patients would otherwise have had to travel long distances for specialist consultations.
Currently, overall dentist needed in the Commonwealth of Kentucky is high with 36% of the current supply required to meet current demand. Many counties in Kentucky need greater than 100% increases in the current dentist workforce, and three counties appear to have no dentists currently practicing. Jefferson County has the most pronounced need of 150 dentists. In spite of some issues, which need to be resolved, the potential of teledentistry is tremendous, which needs to be explored immensely in the state of Kentucky.

Works Cited
1. "Kentucky Board of Dentistry." 13 Sept. 2014. Web. 29 Sept. 2015. http://www.dentistry.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/73A6DB01-4DA1-4E59-B509-5E1730E9C29E/324451/approvedseptminuteswithcorrections.pdf
2. "Kentucky Board of Dentistry." 22 Nov. 2014. Web. 29 Sept. 2015. <http://dentistry.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/73A6DB01-4DA1-4E59-B509-5E1730E9C29E/325525/NOV222014minutes1.pdf>.
3. "MATRC - Teledentistry." MATRC. 15 Feb. 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2015. <http://www.matrc.org/teledentistry>.
4. Nikumbh, Dhiraj B. "Http://www.jcdr.net/article_fulltext.asp?issn=0973-709x&year=2013&month=March&volume=7&issue=3&page=604-605&id=2821." Jcdr Journal Of Clinical And Diagnostic Research 5.7 (2011). Print.
5. "VA Legislation: SB 647 - Teledentistry Pilot Program." VA Legislation: SB 647. 3 Mar. 2014. Web. 29 Sept. 2015. <http://cchpca.org/va-expired-legislation-sb-647>.