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Challenges in the uptake of telemedicine in dentistry

Submitted: 11 February 2016
Revised: 26 September 2016
Accepted: 3 October 2016
Published: 28 November 2016

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Author(s) : Estai M, Kruger E, Tennant M, Bunt S, Kanagasingam Y.

Estie KrugerMarc Tennant

Citation: Estai M, Kruger E, Tennant M, Bunt S, Kanagasingam Y.  Challenges in the uptake of telemedicine in dentistry. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2016; 16: 3915. Available: (Accessed 21 October 2017)


With the availability of oral care services very unevenly distributed in rural or remote areas, underserved people seek oral care from non-dental care providers. Against this backdrop, and coupled with the decreasing cost of and innovations in technology, there is a growing interest in the adoption of telemedicine services. Regardless of the lack of good-quality evidence supporting the cost-effectiveness of telemedicine, evidence already indicates that telemedicine, even with extra costs, helps in reducing the inequalities in the provision of primary health care. Telemedicine has the potential to overcome geographical barriers and contribute to closing the rural–urban healthcare gap in Australia and many other regions. Although research examining different teledentistry applications has found that this technology can be successfully integrated into different settings, there is little active teledentistry practice in Australia. The integration of telemedicine into the mainstream oral health system is a complex and collaborative process in which numerous factors at individual, infrastructure and organisational levels are involved. Addressing the barriers that delay the implementation of a teledentistry service can provide valuable insights into its lack of acceptance and establish an evidence base that can help to inform future decisions about the benefits of teledentistry.

Key words: acceptance, Australia, barriers, evidence, oral health, teledentistry.

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