Teledentistry is a relatively new field that combines telecommunication technology and dental care. Most dentists and dental educators are unaware that teledentistry can be used not only for increased access to dental care, but also for advanced dental education. TYPE OF STUDIES REVIEWED: The authors describe teledentistry as it is applied worldwide, as well as its uses in education. Teledentistry in education can be divided into two main categories: self-instruction and interactive videoconferencing. Both of these methods have been used in several studies and countries.
The type of network connectivity used greatly affects the feasibility of teledentistry education. Furthermore, no optimal type exists, but health care professionals should choose the mode based on budget, geography and technical support available. Of the two main categories of teledentistry in education, the interactive videoconferencing method has had better results because of its ability to provide immediate feedback.
Teledentistry can extend care to underserved patient populations, such as those in rural areas, at a reasonable cost. Teledentistry provides an opportunity to supplement traditional teaching methods in dental education, and will provide new opportunities for dental students and dentists.