Opportunities for Teledentistry in South Africa
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Information, communication and technology (ICT) is a part of everyday life, and the constant evolution of technology has resulted in many opportunities for the health care sector. While health professionals globally have embraced the use of ICT to assist in the delivery of health care services and education there remains a lack of scientific evidence to support the practice. The uptake of ICT in low and middle-income countries has been slow, despite the fact that this is where a great need for innovative solutions is required to improve the delivery of health care services. ICT for health is being used throughout South Africa with promising results, and there is potential for the use of ICT in the field of Dentistry. This paper provides a background of ICT for health by highlighting the applications of tele-medicine, teledentistry and mHealth and examples are given of the various uses of ICT in the various disciplines of Dentistry. The benefits and challenges of teledentistry are documented and recommendations about the use of teledentistry in South Africa are discussed.