Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, ISSN - 0973 - 709X

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Dr Mohan Z Mani

"Thank you very much for having published my article in record time.I would like to compliment you and your entire staff for your promptness, courtesy, and willingness to be customer friendly, which is quite unusual.I was given your reference by a colleague in pathology,and was able to directly phone your editorial office for clarifications.I would particularly like to thank the publication managers and the Assistant Editor who were following up my article. I would also like to thank you for adjusting the money I paid initially into payment for my modified article,and refunding the balance.
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Dr Mohan Z Mani,
Professor & Head,
Department of Dermatolgy,
Believers Church Medical College,
Thiruvalla, Kerala
On Sep 2018




Prof. Somashekhar Nimbalkar

"Over the last few years, we have published our research regularly in Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. Having published in more than 20 high impact journals over the last five years including several high impact ones and reviewing articles for even more journals across my fields of interest, we value our published work in JCDR for their high standards in publishing scientific articles. The ease of submission, the rapid reviews in under a month, the high quality of their reviewers and keen attention to the final process of proofs and publication, ensure that there are no mistakes in the final article. We have been asked clarifications on several occasions and have been happy to provide them and it exemplifies the commitment to quality of the team at JCDR."



Prof. Somashekhar Nimbalkar
Head, Department of Pediatrics, Pramukhswami Medical College, Karamsad
Chairman, Research Group, Charutar Arogya Mandal, Karamsad
National Joint Coordinator - Advanced IAP NNF NRP Program
Ex-Member, Governing Body, National Neonatology Forum, New Delhi
Ex-President - National Neonatology Forum Gujarat State Chapter
Department of Pediatrics, Pramukhswami Medical College, Karamsad, Anand, Gujarat.
On Sep 2018




Dr. Kalyani R

"Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research is at present a well-known Indian originated scientific journal which started with a humble beginning. I have been associated with this journal since many years. I appreciate the Editor, Dr. Hemant Jain, for his constant effort in bringing up this journal to the present status right from the scratch. The journal is multidisciplinary. It encourages in publishing the scientific articles from postgraduates and also the beginners who start their career. At the same time the journal also caters for the high quality articles from specialty and super-specialty researchers. Hence it provides a platform for the scientist and researchers to publish. The other aspect of it is, the readers get the information regarding the most recent developments in science which can be used for teaching, research, treating patients and to some extent take preventive measures against certain diseases. The journal is contributing immensely to the society at national and international level."



Dr Kalyani R
Professor and Head
Department of Pathology
Sri Devaraj Urs Medical College
Sri Devaraj Urs Academy of Higher Education and Research , Kolar, Karnataka
On Sep 2018




Dr. Saumya Navit

"As a peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research provides an opportunity to researchers, scientists and budding professionals to explore the developments in the field of medicine and dentistry and their varied specialities, thus extending our view on biological diversities of living species in relation to medicine.
‘Knowledge is treasure of a wise man.’ The free access of this journal provides an immense scope of learning for the both the old and the young in field of medicine and dentistry as well. The multidisciplinary nature of the journal makes it a better platform to absorb all that is being researched and developed. The publication process is systematic and professional. Online submission, publication and peer reviewing makes it a user-friendly journal.
As an experienced dentist and an academician, I proudly recommend this journal to the dental fraternity as a good quality open access platform for rapid communication of their cutting-edge research progress and discovery.
I wish JCDR a great success and I hope that journal will soar higher with the passing time."



Dr Saumya Navit
Professor and Head
Department of Pediatric Dentistry
Saraswati Dental College
Lucknow
On Sep 2018




Dr. Arunava Biswas

"My sincere attachment with JCDR as an author as well as reviewer is a learning experience . Their systematic approach in publication of article in various categories is really praiseworthy.
Their prompt and timely response to review's query and the manner in which they have set the reviewing process helps in extracting the best possible scientific writings for publication.
It's a honour and pride to be a part of the JCDR team. My very best wishes to JCDR and hope it will sparkle up above the sky as a high indexed journal in near future."



Dr. Arunava Biswas
MD, DM (Clinical Pharmacology)
Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmacology
Calcutta National Medical College & Hospital , Kolkata




Dr. C.S. Ramesh Babu
" Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (JCDR) is a multi-specialty medical and dental journal publishing high quality research articles in almost all branches of medicine. The quality of printing of figures and tables is excellent and comparable to any International journal. An added advantage is nominal publication charges and monthly issue of the journal and more chances of an article being accepted for publication. Moreover being a multi-specialty journal an article concerning a particular specialty has a wider reach of readers of other related specialties also. As an author and reviewer for several years I find this Journal most suitable and highly recommend this Journal."
Best regards,
C.S. Ramesh Babu,
Associate Professor of Anatomy,
Muzaffarnagar Medical College,
Muzaffarnagar.
On Aug 2018




Dr. Arundhathi. S
"Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (JCDR) is a reputed peer reviewed journal and is constantly involved in publishing high quality research articles related to medicine. Its been a great pleasure to be associated with this esteemed journal as a reviewer and as an author for a couple of years. The editorial board consists of many dedicated and reputed experts as its members and they are doing an appreciable work in guiding budding researchers. JCDR is doing a commendable job in scientific research by promoting excellent quality research & review articles and case reports & series. The reviewers provide appropriate suggestions that improve the quality of articles. I strongly recommend my fraternity to encourage JCDR by contributing their valuable research work in this widely accepted, user friendly journal. I hope my collaboration with JCDR will continue for a long time".



Dr. Arundhathi. S
MBBS, MD (Pathology),
Sanjay Gandhi institute of trauma and orthopedics,
Bengaluru.
On Aug 2018




Dr. Mamta Gupta,
"It gives me great pleasure to be associated with JCDR, since last 2-3 years. Since then I have authored, co-authored and reviewed about 25 articles in JCDR. I thank JCDR for giving me an opportunity to improve my own skills as an author and a reviewer.
It 's a multispecialty journal, publishing high quality articles. It gives a platform to the authors to publish their research work which can be available for everyone across the globe to read. The best thing about JCDR is that the full articles of all medical specialties are available as pdf/html for reading free of cost or without institutional subscription, which is not there for other journals. For those who have problem in writing manuscript or do statistical work, JCDR comes for their rescue.
The journal has a monthly publication and the articles are published quite fast. In time compared to other journals. The on-line first publication is also a great advantage and facility to review one's own articles before going to print. The response to any query and permission if required, is quite fast; this is quite commendable. I have a very good experience about seeking quick permission for quoting a photograph (Fig.) from a JCDR article for my chapter authored in an E book. I never thought it would be so easy. No hassles.
Reviewing articles is no less a pain staking process and requires in depth perception, knowledge about the topic for review. It requires time and concentration, yet I enjoy doing it. The JCDR website especially for the reviewers is quite user friendly. My suggestions for improving the journal is, more strict review process, so that only high quality articles are published. I find a a good number of articles in Obst. Gynae, hence, a new journal for this specialty titled JCDR-OG can be started. May be a bimonthly or quarterly publication to begin with. Only selected articles should find a place in it.
An yearly reward for the best article authored can also incentivize the authors. Though the process of finding the best article will be not be very easy. I do not know how reviewing process can be improved. If an article is being reviewed by two reviewers, then opinion of one can be communicated to the other or the final opinion of the editor can be communicated to the reviewer if requested for. This will help one’s reviewing skills.
My best wishes to Dr. Hemant Jain and all the editorial staff of JCDR for their untiring efforts to bring out this journal. I strongly recommend medical fraternity to publish their valuable research work in this esteemed journal, JCDR".



Dr. Mamta Gupta
Consultant
(Ex HOD Obs &Gynae, Hindu Rao Hospital and associated NDMC Medical College, Delhi)
Aug 2018




Dr. Rajendra Kumar Ghritlaharey

"I wish to thank Dr. Hemant Jain, Editor-in-Chief Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (JCDR), for asking me to write up few words.
Writing is the representation of language in a textual medium i e; into the words and sentences on paper. Quality medical manuscript writing in particular, demands not only a high-quality research, but also requires accurate and concise communication of findings and conclusions, with adherence to particular journal guidelines. In medical field whether working in teaching, private, or in corporate institution, everyone wants to excel in his / her own field and get recognised by making manuscripts publication.


Authors are the souls of any journal, and deserve much respect. To publish a journal manuscripts are needed from authors. Authors have a great responsibility for producing facts of their work in terms of number and results truthfully and an individual honesty is expected from authors in this regards. Both ways its true "No authors-No manuscripts-No journals" and "No journals–No manuscripts–No authors". Reviewing a manuscript is also a very responsible and important task of any peer-reviewed journal and to be taken seriously. It needs knowledge on the subject, sincerity, honesty and determination. Although the process of reviewing a manuscript is a time consuming task butit is expected to give one's best remarks within the time frame of the journal.
Salient features of the JCDR: It is a biomedical, multidisciplinary (including all medical and dental specialities), e-journal, with wide scope and extensive author support. At the same time, a free text of manuscript is available in HTML and PDF format. There is fast growing authorship and readership with JCDR as this can be judged by the number of articles published in it i e; in Feb 2007 of its first issue, it contained 5 articles only, and now in its recent volume published in April 2011, it contained 67 manuscripts. This e-journal is fulfilling the commitments and objectives sincerely, (as stated by Editor-in-chief in his preface to first edition) i e; to encourage physicians through the internet, especially from the developing countries who witness a spectrum of disease and acquire a wealth of knowledge to publish their experiences to benefit the medical community in patients care. I also feel that many of us have work of substance, newer ideas, adequate clinical materials but poor in medical writing and hesitation to submit the work and need help. JCDR provides authors help in this regards.
Timely publication of journal: Publication of manuscripts and bringing out the issue in time is one of the positive aspects of JCDR and is possible with strong support team in terms of peer reviewers, proof reading, language check, computer operators, etc. This is one of the great reasons for authors to submit their work with JCDR. Another best part of JCDR is "Online first Publications" facilities available for the authors. This facility not only provides the prompt publications of the manuscripts but at the same time also early availability of the manuscripts for the readers.
Indexation and online availability: Indexation transforms the journal in some sense from its local ownership to the worldwide professional community and to the public.JCDR is indexed with Embase & EMbiology, Google Scholar, Index Copernicus, Chemical Abstracts Service, Journal seek Database, Indian Science Abstracts, to name few of them. Manuscriptspublished in JCDR are available on major search engines ie; google, yahoo, msn.
In the era of fast growing newer technologies, and in computer and internet friendly environment the manuscripts preparation, submission, review, revision, etc and all can be done and checked with a click from all corer of the world, at any time. Of course there is always a scope for improvement in every field and none is perfect. To progress, one needs to identify the areas of one's weakness and to strengthen them.
It is well said that "happy beginning is half done" and it fits perfectly with JCDR. It has grown considerably and I feel it has already grown up from its infancy to adolescence, achieving the status of standard online e-journal form Indian continent since its inception in Feb 2007. This had been made possible due to the efforts and the hard work put in it. The way the JCDR is improving with every new volume, with good quality original manuscripts, makes it a quality journal for readers. I must thank and congratulate Dr Hemant Jain, Editor-in-Chief JCDR and his team for their sincere efforts, dedication, and determination for making JCDR a fast growing journal.
Every one of us: authors, reviewers, editors, and publisher are responsible for enhancing the stature of the journal. I wish for a great success for JCDR."



Thanking you
With sincere regards
Dr. Rajendra Kumar Ghritlaharey, M.S., M. Ch., FAIS
Associate Professor,
Department of Paediatric Surgery, Gandhi Medical College & Associated
Kamla Nehru & Hamidia Hospitals Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462 001 (India)
E-mail: drrajendrak1@rediffmail.com
On May 11,2011




Dr. Shankar P.R.

"On looking back through my Gmail archives after being requested by the journal to write a short editorial about my experiences of publishing with the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (JCDR), I came across an e-mail from Dr. Hemant Jain, Editor, in March 2007, which introduced the new electronic journal. The main features of the journal which were outlined in the e-mail were extensive author support, cash rewards, the peer review process, and other salient features of the journal.
Over a span of over four years, we (I and my colleagues) have published around 25 articles in the journal. In this editorial, I plan to briefly discuss my experiences of publishing with JCDR and the strengths of the journal and to finally address the areas for improvement.
My experiences of publishing with JCDR: Overall, my experiences of publishing withJCDR have been positive. The best point about the journal is that it responds to queries from the author. This may seem to be simple and not too much to ask for, but unfortunately, many journals in the subcontinent and from many developing countries do not respond or they respond with a long delay to the queries from the authors 1. The reasons could be many, including lack of optimal secretarial and other support. Another problem with many journals is the slowness of the review process. Editorial processing and peer review can take anywhere between a year to two years with some journals. Also, some journals do not keep the contributors informed about the progress of the review process. Due to the long review process, the articles can lose their relevance and topicality. A major benefit with JCDR is the timeliness and promptness of its response. In Dr Jain's e-mail which was sent to me in 2007, before the introduction of the Pre-publishing system, he had stated that he had received my submission and that he would get back to me within seven days and he did!
Most of the manuscripts are published within 3 to 4 months of their submission if they are found to be suitable after the review process. JCDR is published bimonthly and the accepted articles were usually published in the next issue. Recently, due to the increased volume of the submissions, the review process has become slower and it ?? Section can take from 4 to 6 months for the articles to be reviewed. The journal has an extensive author support system and it has recently introduced a paid expedited review process. The journal also mentions the average time for processing the manuscript under different submission systems - regular submission and expedited review.
Strengths of the journal: The journal has an online first facility in which the accepted manuscripts may be published on the website before being included in a regular issue of the journal. This cuts down the time between their acceptance and the publication. The journal is indexed in many databases, though not in PubMed. The editorial board should now take steps to index the journal in PubMed. The journal has a system of notifying readers through e-mail when a new issue is released. Also, the articles are available in both the HTML and the PDF formats. I especially like the new and colorful page format of the journal. Also, the access statistics of the articles are available. The prepublication and the manuscript tracking system are also helpful for the authors.
Areas for improvement: In certain cases, I felt that the peer review process of the manuscripts was not up to international standards and that it should be strengthened. Also, the number of manuscripts in an issue is high and it may be difficult for readers to go through all of them. The journal can consider tightening of the peer review process and increasing the quality standards for the acceptance of the manuscripts. I faced occasional problems with the online manuscript submission (Pre-publishing) system, which have to be addressed.
Overall, the publishing process with JCDR has been smooth, quick and relatively hassle free and I can recommend other authors to consider the journal as an outlet for their work."



Dr. P. Ravi Shankar
KIST Medical College, P.O. Box 14142, Kathmandu, Nepal.
E-mail: ravi.dr.shankar@gmail.com
On April 2011
Anuradha

Dear team JCDR, I would like to thank you for the very professional and polite service provided by everyone at JCDR. While i have been in the field of writing and editing for sometime, this has been my first attempt in publishing a scientific paper.Thank you for hand-holding me through the process.


Dr. Anuradha
E-mail: anuradha2nittur@gmail.com
On Jan 2020

Important Notice

Original article / research
Year : 2023 | Month : June | Volume : 17 | Issue : 6 | Page : ZC43 - ZC46 Full Version

Scope of Teledentistry during the Trying Times of COVID-19 Pandemic: A Patient Perspective Questionnaire Survey


Published: June 1, 2023 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2023/62576.18096
Manasa Prabakar, Hemalatha Ramakrishnan, Sathya Prathiba Parthiban, Dhivakar Cheyyar Palani, Indumathi Palayathan

1. Postgraduate (Student), Department of Periodontics, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Dental Sciences, Chengelpet, Tamil Nadu, India. 2. Professor, Department of Periodontics, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Dental Sciences, Chengelpet, Tamil Nadu, India. 3. Postgraduate (Student), Department of Periodontics, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Dental Sciences, Chengelpet, Tamil Nadu, India. 4. Professor, Department of Periodontics, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Dental Sciences, Chengelpet, Tamil Nadu, India. 5. Senior Lecturer, Department of Periodontics, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Dental Sciences, Chengelpet, Tamil Nadu, India.

Correspondence Address :
Dr. Manasa Prabakar,
No: 7, Department of Periodontics, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Dental Sciences, GST Road, Padalam Taluk, Chengelpet-603308, Tamil Nadu, India.
E-mail: drmanasa212@gmail.com

Abstract

Introduction: Teledentistry has provided a glimmer of hope for patients who require treatment, but are limited to their homes owing to Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) restrictions. Like any other professional careers, dentistry also had to switch to a new normal mode of consultation and teledentistry came to its aid. With the support of advanced technologies dental care was made possible even though face to face interactions were to be refrained due to the curfew restrictions.

Aim: To assess the scope of teledentistry from a patient’s perspective.

Materials and Methods: The survey was designed as a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted in the Department of Periodontics, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Dental Sciences, Chengelpet, Tamil Nadu, on dental patients of Chennai, India, from April 2021 to May 2021 who made use of Telemedicine for dental consultation. The study population included those who sought teledentistry and the study included 100 participants. A computer aided self-administered questionnaire was designed and validated. Practicing dentists were requested to circulate a questionnaire containing 10 questions that assessed scope of teledentistry from patient’s perspective, to their patients at the end of their teleconsultation after obtaining consent. A total of 94 responses were obtained successfully out of 100 participants. Descriptive analysis of the obtained data was done using International Business Machines Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (IBM SPSS) software version 22.0.

Results: The mean±Standard Deviation (SD) age of the study participants was 33±2.5 years, there were 51 males and 43 females. A 57.5% (n=54) of individuals made the best use of teledentistry during the lockdown and 59.6% (n=56) of the respondents felt that teledentistry was safe as it prevented the risk of unnecessary exposure and cross-infection. Of all, 79 (84.04%) respondents answered that they support teledentistry in the future. Suggestions were received requesting reduction in consultation fee and to increase consultation timings.

Conclusion: Teledentistry proved to be an excellent alternate mode of dental service during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Moreover, it helped to bring down the cross-infection and made health services available to people caught up in inaccessible areas thus, making teledentistry a valuable tool that can be used on a day to day basis.

Keywords

Coronavirus disease-2019, Cross-infection, Pain management, Quarantine, Telemedicine, Teleconsultation

The emergence of teledentistry was as early as in the 1960s and the service of which was maximum utilised by space technology sectors and the military (1). The word “Telemedicine” was coined in 1970s meaning healing at a distance. It denotes the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) which provides scope for increased access to medical care and information (1). World Health Organisation (WHO) defined Telemedicine as, the delivery of healthcare services, where distance is a critical factor, by all healthcare professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of healthcare providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities (2).

Telemedicine being an umbrella term it has various branches and one such branch of Telemedicine is teledentistry. As defined by Cook in 1997, teledentistry is a practice of making use of video conferencing technologies as an aid to diagnose and provide advice over a treatment over a distance (3).

Dental care has been provided mostly through physical examination, wherein technology has provided an opportunity for dentists to communicate with patients. Teledentistry utilises the aid of technological innovations and high-speed internet networks for connecting the dental care provider and patient to provide timely care and also for sharing of essential information for treatment planning and dental consultation (4). Dental healthcare professionals encountered a tough time at the time of COVID-19 pandemic, as dental consultation involves face to face interaction with patients. The occurrence of pandemic and the lockdown curfew following it brought things to a standstill, where the only way the dentist could provide care to the patients was through teleconsultation. Teledentistry made easy the tasks of history taking and obtaining consent and to an extent frame treatment planning thereby, sparing an initial visit to the dentist (5). A second appointment face-face could be directly done to carry on the procedure.

Teleconsultation may prove to be an effective form of consultation, as the patient feels at ease and more comfortable being at home, as it spares certain anxiety related issues, which few patients experience in physical consultation (6). Teleconsultation has an advantage of preventing the patients from unwanted exposure to COVID-19 patients or asymptomatic carriers including healthcare workers (7). This minimises the risk of healthcare workers as well from getting exposed to asymptomatic carriers.

Consultation through Telemedicine is an excellent option to save resources as well as to improve patient healthcare services. For example, teleconsultation spares the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), thereby facilitating judicious use by frontline workers. Although teledentistry had existed for a very long time, most literature on teledentistry have evaluated its scope from the clinician’s perspective (8). Only limited literature is available that assessed the impact of teledentistry from the patient’s end (9). The aim of the present self-administered computer aided questionnaire is to assess the scope of teledentistry from the patient’s perspective.

Material and Methods

The present survey was a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted in the Department of Periodontics, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Dental Sciences, Chengelpet, Tamil Nadu, on dental patients of Chennai, India, from April 2021 to May 2021. The proposal was submitted to the Institutional Ethical Committee of Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Dental Sciences and was approved to proceed further (IEC NO: KIDS/008/2021).

Inclusion criteria: Dental patients who made use of Telemedicine for dental consultation were included in the study.

Exclusion criteria: Dental Patients who were not willing to participate in the survey and incomplete forms were excluded from the study.

Sample size calculation: The sample size was estimated using G*Power software. Sample size was calculated as 85 subjects.

Study Procedure

Questionnaire: The questions were designed to assess the individual’s attitude and perception towards Telemedicine for dental consultation. The questionnaire consisted of a total of 10 questions, out of which seven were Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ), three were dichotomous questions (10). The questionnaire was prepared as a Google Form and was validated in a pilot study by administering it to 10 volunteers, who would not participate in the actual survey. Following validation, the questionnaire was sent to practicing dental surgeons in Chennai, India and they were requested to get the Google Forms filled from their respective patients at the end of teleconsultation after obtaining consent. The questionnaire was sent to 100 patients through e-mail and other online telecommunication systems such as WhatsApp, Telegram, etc., a total of 94 responses were recorded.

Statistical Analysis

With the submission of google forms, data entry was done in excel sheets. Descriptive analysis of the obtained data was performed using IBM SPSS software version 22.0.

Results

The computer aided questionnaire was filled by patients who utilised the teledentistry facility. The mean±SD age of the subjects participated in the study was 33±2.5 years. A total of 51 males and 43 females participated in the study.

The individuals who participated in the survey were those who opted for teleconsultation for dental problems. Of the 94 responses recorded, n=74 (78.7%) respondents had used teledentistry atleast once, whereas n=12 (12.8%) respondents had teleconsulted twice and n=8 (8.5%) of them had utilised teledentistry more than twice. About 54 (57.4%) individuals had agreed that teledentistry helped them at the best during the time of pandemic and 35 (37.2%) respondents had said that they made use of teleconsultation when they were not able to reach the clinic due to personal reasons and that it was time saving and 5 (5.4%) respondents had made use of teledentistry when their dentist was unavailable in the clinic (Table/Fig 1).

When the respondents were queried about what they thought was the advantage of teledentistry, n=56 (59.6%) of the population had suggested that the prevention of cross-infection was the greatest advantage of teledentistry especially during times of pandemic and n=27 (28.7%) of them agreed that teleconsultation is time saving as it saved the waiting time at clinics and 11 (11.7%) respondents felt that it saves a trip to the dental clinic. To assess the extent to which teledentistry could serve the patients, the various options given to the patients by the dentist who opted teleconsultation was asked, for which n=62 (66.0%) of the respondents answered intial pain management till the clinic is reopened, n=23 (24.5%) of them answered they were referred to a nearby functioning clinic and n=9 (9.6%) of them answered that there was no response from their dentist (Table/Fig 1).

The majority of patients who participated in the survey suggested that an increase in the time spent per consultation and reduction in the consultation fee will help in better use of teledentistry.

Discussion

Lockdown during COVID-19 pandemic was one of the tough times when people encountered difficulties in commutation to dental clinics. Telemedicine helped to overcome these difficulties and helped patients, when there was an absolute need for it. Though teledentistry, a branch of telemedicine was an age-old concept, the lockdown was a prime reason why teledentistry has come to lime light, mostly due to the curfew restrictions. The response of the current study was in synchrony with the above statement as 57.4% of the respondents also replied that it was more useful for them during lockdown. Teledentistry was a choice for people when there was a desperate need for dental consultation, when caught up in inaccessible areas and when physical consultation was not possible (11). Other reason why patients opted teleconsultation was unavailability of dental surgeon in his office or clinic or whenever he was out of station.

The most advantageous attribute of telemedicine especially during this pandemic was, it cut down the risk of exposure and cross-infection to the novel Coronavirus. Khairat S et al., in 2020 studied the trends of virtual care aids in this COVID-19 pandemic through a cohort study and their study findings concluded that service of teledentistry proved useful in decreasing cross transmission of the disease and unwanted overcrowding of hospitals at the time of pandemic (12). The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its guidelines for dental settings in 2020 has recommended to use teledentistry as alternatives to in-office care (13). The results of this questionnaire were also in agreement with the above statement as 59.6% of the respondents answered that they think teleconsultation prevented the risk of cross-infection especially during this pandemic. Janakiram C et al., in his review stated that a beforehand telephonic conversation will help to assess the absolute need for physical consultation (14). Moreover, it helps to filter the patients suspected with COVID-19 symptoms. While 28.7% of the respondents replied that teleconsultation was time saving that it saves a trip to the dental clinic. Added to this advantage, when there was an extreme shortage of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic in the hospital settings, the use of teledentistry minimised and helped judicious usage of PPE.

As dentistry is more of a procedural practice the resolution that can be given over a teleconsult is much limited. Hence the questionnaire incorporated question regarding the various options given by the dentist to the patients when approached for teledentistry. A 66.0% of the patients responded that the dentist advised initial pain management and asked the patient to wait till he reopens the clinic, while 24.5% of the patients replied that the dentist referred to other functioning clinic as majority of the respondents had pain as their chief complaint. A 9.6% of the respondents said that there was no response from the dentist. A survey conducted from patient’s perspective by Rahman N et al., suggested that teledentistry was a reliable, easy alternative method of dental consultation with good patient satisfaction providing better access, especially during these trying times of pandemic (10).

Considering the patient satisfaction as the key factor for any treatment or consultation offered the questionnaire posed queries regarding the time spent and fee charged per consultation and to suggest what measures can be taken to improve and most of the suggestions were to improve the time spent per consultation, which clearly shows that a physical consultation with the dentist has its own advantages. The dichotomous question asked regarding people’s support towards teledentistry in future suggested that 84.0% of the respondents support teledentistry in the future, where 16.0% of the individuals answered ‘No’.

Teleconsultation has some short comings and pitfalls as far as dental treatment is concerned (15). Though teledentistry might be advantageous in some aspects like initial pain management, it may not provide a justified service to the patient as a physical consultation does, as dental consultation involves performing treatment procedures (16). So, teledentistry could be used as an adjunct to physical dental appointments, to bring the best out of dental service to the patients (17).

Limitation(s)

The limitation of the present study was that it was a computer-generated questionnaire, only patients with smart phone facility and English language knowledge were able to take part in the survey.

Conclusion

On assessing the patient’s perspective on teledentistry, the majority of participants agreed that teledentistry was able to minimise the risk of cross-infection and was of great assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The common complaint of patient for seeking teledentistry during the pandemic was dental pain. More than 60% of the study participants voted initial pain management was provided through teledentistry consultations. Thus, teledentistry proved to be a valuable tool during the tough times of COVID-19 pandemic and has a great scope for usage on a day to day basis claiming to its advantages.

Acknowledgement

The authors would like to thank all the general dentists, who helped us in circulating the forms among their patients and getting them filled.

References

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Strehle EM, Shabde N. One hundred years of telemedicine: Does this new technology have a place in paediatrics? Arch Dis Child. 2006;91(12):956-59. [crossref][PubMed]
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WHO. A Health Telematics Policy in Support of WHO’s Health-for-all Strategy for Global Health Development: Report of the WHO Group Consultation on Health Telematics, 11 e 16 December, Geneva.
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Fricton J, Chen H. Using teledentistry to improve access to dental care for the underserved. Dent Clin North Am. 2009;53(3):537-48. [crossref][PubMed]
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Yoshinaga L. The use of teledentistry for remote learning applications. Pract Proced Aesthet Dent. 2001;13(4):327-28. PMID: 11402774.
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General Dental Council. High level principles for good practice in remote consultations and prescribing.
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Tables and Figures
[Table / Fig - 1]
DOI and Others

DOI: 10.7860/JCDR/2023/62576.18096

Date of Submission: Dec 30, 2022
Date of Peer Review: Feb 02, 2023
Date of Acceptance: Apr 18, 2023
Date of Publishing: Jun 01, 2023

AUTHOR DECLARATION:
• Financial or Other Competing Interests: None
• Was Ethics Committee Approval obtained for this study? Yes
• Was informed consent obtained from the subjects involved in the study? Yes
• For any images presented appropriate consent has been obtained from the subjects. NA

PLAGIARISM CHECKING METHODS:
• Plagiarism X-checker: Dec 31, 2022
• Manual Googling: Mar 14, 2023
• iThenticate Software: Apr 12, 2023 (1%)

ETYMOLOGY: Author Origin

EMENDATIONS: 7

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