Professor Developing App to Help Identify Kids Who Need Urgent Dental Care

Dentistry Today


Professor Marc Tennant of the University of Western Australia (UWA) School of Human Sciences has received a $50,000 Future Health Research and Innovation Fund Focus Grant to develop a system that uses smartphones to identify children in need of urgent dental care.

The system will allow parents to take photos of their children’s teeth on their smart devices and send them to offsite dental practitioners for evaluation. The dental team will be able to access the database from their desktop, review the photos, and assess whether cases need a referral or can be delayed.

Tennant said the system would ensure access to routine dental care and reduce inappropriate referrals, reducing unnecessary travel and waiting times

“This approach has the potential to prioritize children based on their dental needs to receive appropriate treatment at the appropriate time,” said Tennant. “It will help to provide potentially low-cost and sustainable preventive dental care for children even during the pandemic.”

The grant was one of 10 awarded by the state government, totaling $3.2 million, to the university to tackle COVID-19 health challenges.

“The university’s ability to translate knowledge into practice means that this research will directly help Western Australians affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic,” said UWA vice chancellor and professor Amit Chakma.

“Through investment in research and innovation, we can prepare to meet the health and well-being needs of communities, both local and global, as we respond to COVID challenges,” Chakma said.

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