Term: Dental Informatics
Description: Dental Informatics is by definition, "The application of computer and information science to improve dental practice, research, education and management." It has expanded rapidly since its creation. Dental Informatics includes many topics that cover an immense amount of information. It was created to help the dental professional manage his or her increasing amount of information. Dental Informatics professionals work in a variety of jobs. Their jobs can range from working with the computers that control the flow of information to teaching at a dental school. Dental Informatics improves patient care by improving efficiency and effectiveness in different areas of a common dental practice. These areas can include administration, clinical care, charting records, and patient education. Similar to how doctors and hospitals have begun using electronic medical records (EMRs), dentists have begun developing electronic dental records (EDRs). EDRs will allow dentists to interact with 3D models of a patient's teeth.

Current research in the field includes:
  • 3D interactive tooth atlas
  • Histopathologic diagnosis of salivary glands
  • Security of patient records
  • Automated discovery of tooth disease

Applications:
  • Managing electronic prescriptions and electronic insurance claims
  • Better storage and retrieval of digital radiology
  • Universal accessibility to patient oral health records
  • Better distribution and effectiveness of patient education
  • Maximizing workflow support
  • Supporting clinical decision making and evidence based dentistry
  • Accommodating trends in clinical data acquisition
  • Reducing practice management and administration costs
  • Understanding patient use of the internet for health related information
  • Relaying the most up to date clinical practices and information to dentists

Web Resources:
University of Pittsburgh - Center for Dental Informatics
American Dental Association
Dental Informatics Online Community

Related Terminology:
Health Informatics
Medical Informatics
Teledentistry

Citations/References:
Wikipedia: Dental Informatics
Dental Informatics
What is Dental Informatics?

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