New app launched to give dental advice via video call

New app launched to give dental advice via video call

The Daily Mail  has reported on a new mobile phone app that lets dentists diagnose patients and even prescribe antibiotics over a video call. Tooth Fairy is the UK’s first dental video app that patients use from home. It is the brainchild of dentists Deepak Aulak and Kian Dhinsa. However the BDA has expressed scepticism over the role of tele-consultations in dentistry.

The Association  recognises the potential for this technology in areas including triaging cases for NHS 111, but does not see how it is possible to conduct a full and thorough examination remotely on the basis of current technology.

They have also expressed discomfort over the facility to provide ‘prescriptions on demand’, potentially for painkillers and antibiotics without the benefit of a full diagnosis. Antibiotics do not cure toothache, and unnecessary prescriptions are contributing to the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance.

British Dental Association Chair Mick Armstrong said: “It’s wishful thinking to imagine any app offers a quick fix for millions of patients struggling to secure an NHS dental appointment. When you’re in the chair your dentist can use a mirror to see the back of your mouth, will touch and probe teeth and gums, and can offer x-rays to identify unseen problems. It is difficult see how a thorough examination could ever be replicated over a smartphone. 

“Yes, technology is having a transformative impact on health services, but it should not be a route for prescriptions on demand, potentially without a full diagnosis. Government must not make the same mistake it did with GP at Hand. Patient safety must come first, and we need to see a robust evaluation before we hear a ringing endorsement from Ministers.”

Questioned by GDPUK on whether the service was CQC registered, the BDA spokesperson said “we would certainly expect any apps offering diagnoses and prescriptions to meet basic standards to ensure patient safety. We contacted the CQC and this specific app registered as a provider in Feb 2019.”

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