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Disadvantaged children could get dental work over the phone
Updated: 4/4/2008 2:00:41 PM

A team of scientists have looked at a revolutionary new way of providing socially disadvantaged children with access to orthodontist's services, using teleconferencing.

Reporting its findings to the American Association for Dental Research, the group noted that children from poorer socio-economic backgrounds tend to have limited access to orthodontists, despite potentially needing the specialist treatment they provide.

It followed the results of an orthodontic specialist who provided remote assistance to a general dentist via teleconferencing to perform simple orthodontic procedures on Medicaid-eligible children at a public health clinic in Washington.

Results were compared with those achieved by orthodontic graduate students with direct supervision and it was found that there was no difference between the two.

The team therefore suggested that allowing general dentists to perform early orthodontic treatment with a specialist on the phone could present a "viable approach" to dealing with the exclusion of disadvantaged children from orthodontist's services.

Senators in Nebraska recently gave first-round approval to a scheme that would require any town or city of more than 1,000 people to add fluoride to its water, in an attempt to improve dental health for all residents.
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