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Telehealth to make a splash in Hawaii at annual meeting

May 15, 2018

By David Burger

ADA 2018 Annual MeetingHonolulu — In 20 years, teledentistry may play a key role in improving access to oral health care, and an annual meeting course will offer insight into that future.

Dr. Paul Glassman, a professor of dental practice at the University of the Pacific's Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and immediate past chair of the ADA's National Eldercare Advisory Committee, will co-present the course Using Teleheath Technology to Reach Underserved Populations (5805) at ADA 2018 – America's Dental Meeting in Honolulu on Oct. 18.

Dr. Glassman said teledentistry can be a great "communication tool" that will be a "very important tool for dentists in the future."

The 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. course is a no-fee class worth 2.5 hours of continuing education credit, and is part of the ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention track.

Dr. Glassman, as director of the dental school's Pacific Center for Special Care, has much experience in the delivery of care to underserved populations. The Pacific Center has created best-practice models of, and advocates for, improved access to dental care for anyone who faces challenges receiving oral health services through the traditional oral health care system. This includes groups and individuals who have difficulty maintaining good oral health or accessing oral health services because of medical, physical, social, economic and geographic conditions.

Elders and low-income children are among the chief concerns when it comes to providing care at The Pacific Center, Dr. Glassman said.

Photo of Dr. Glassman
Dr. Glassman
Photo of Dr. Helgeson
Dr. Helgeson
In the past three years, the ADA has taken two actions that recognize the potential usefulness of teledentistry, observed Dr. Glassman. CDT 2018 marks the first time teledentistry codes are included in the code set, and the ADA House of Delegates in Resolution 45H-2015 adopted the Comprehensive ADA Policy Statement on Teledentistry.

Dr. Glassman said the ADA 2018 course will cover team organization, equipment, communication strategies and considerations for working within individual state's legal and regulatory environments to make telehealth a reality. After this course, he said, attendees will be able to identify health care environments that would benefit from teledentistry; define teledentistry and describe alternate modalities for its use; and recognize how telehealth-connected teams work, he said.

Dr. Michael Helgeson, chief executive officer of the nonprofit Apple Tree Dental, will accompany Dr. Glassman in leading the. Dr. Helgeson said he plans on discussing Apple Tree's teledentistry in Minnesota.

"Since 2002 our teams have been using teledentistry technologies to connect dental hygienists working in Head Start centers, schools, nursing homes and other sites with supervising dentists," Dr. Helgeson said. "Teledentistry facilitates diagnostic, preventive and restorative dental services, and makes it possible for our dental teams to work more efficiently. With assessment and prevention services delivered by hygienists and evaluations completed via teledentistry, our dentists are able to focus on restorative, surgical and prosthodontic procedures when they are providing onsite care. It's a win-win for our patients and for our teams."

The course is filling up fast, with only about 50 seats left as of May 11.

To register or learn more about ADA 2018, visit ADA.org/meeting.