Teledentistry Innovators Honored by MouthWatch

February 10, 2021

5 Winners of the 2020 “Teledentistry Innovation Awards” Honored During Virtual Event

While the pandemic may have postponed many in-person trade shows and events, it couldn’t stop this year’s Tellies from taking place in a virtual event last Friday.

MouthWatch recently recognized 5 teledentistry pioneers during its third annual Teledentistry Innovation Awards, affectionately known as the “Tellies”. The 2020 Tellie Awards were presented on Friday, February 5, during a well-attended virtual event organized by the dentist-managed, patient-friendly teledentistry solutions, digital case presentation tools and intraoral imaging devices provider.

According to MouthWatch CEO and founder Brant Herman, “2020 presented significant challenges to dentistry and the world at large, but the year also marked a time of unprecedented growth and innovation in the teledentistry field. We weren’t about to let a pandemic prevent us from recognizing this year’s Tellie Awards winners, so we hosted a great virtual event instead.”

Just as in previous years, the purpose of the Tellie Awards is two-fold:

Highlight the many ways that teledentistry is being implemented across a broad spectrum of dental care including public health, private practice, and organizational settings.

Recognize individual, forward-thinking dental providers who are realizing the full potential for connected dental care technology and who are reshaping the practice of dentistry while improving the state of oral health across the country.

In past years, Teledentistry Innovation Awards winners were named in the following categories:

Dentist/Specialist, Dental Hygiene and Oral Health Program (non-profit or business). New for the 2020 Tellie Awards were two special COVID Response categories: COVID-19 Response/Provider and COVID-19 Response/Oral Health Program. This year’s 5 Tellie Awards winners are:

Winner Name and Organization: Scott Howell, DMD, MPH / AT Still University/Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health

Award Category: Dentist/Specialist

Dr Howell developed a robust oral health program at AT Still University/Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH). To date, this program has trained over 300 students in teledentistry. Students learn about how they can use the technology to reach a diverse patient population and evaluate digital records collected via teledentistry. Dr Howell’s program effectively pivoted during the pandemic by having students participate in one-week public health rotations. During this rotation, the students worked with diverse patients, including children in detention, children and adults with special needs, low-income seniors, and men in rehabilitation/reentry programs.

Winner Name and Organization: Jingjing Qian RDH, EA /Your Special Smiles PLLC

Award Category: Dental Hygiene

Qian was instrumental in developing and implementing a COVID response—The Guided Oral Hygiene Program that continued to provide oral care to long-term care residents who would otherwise not have received these critical services. Qian and her dentist, Dr. Brooke Fukuoka, developed the Guided Oral Hygiene Program “through which caregivers were trained on how to gather information via teledentistry and then used live teledentistry interactions to help caregivers with patient-specific oral hygiene regimens.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, this teledentistry-enabled touchpoint was the only dental service many of these patients received for months.

Winner Name and Organization: University of Rochester Eastman Institute for Oral Health

Award Category: Oral Health Program (Non-Profit or Business)

The University of Rochester Eastman Institute for Oral Health has published significant studies on teledentistry. However, its accomplishments also include the real-world implementation of teledentistry in oral health programs that provide care to underserved patients in the Greater Rochester, New York region. The University’s innovative deployment of teledentistry is part of its long experience and successful track record in designing, implementing, and sustaining community-based oral health programs—including outreach programs that have been replicated nationwide.

Candidate Name and Business: Barry Raphael, DMD / The Raphael Center for Integrative Orthodontics

Award Category: COVID-19 Response—Provider

During the pandemic's peak, many dental clinicians were pausing dental procedures and maintenance appointments because face-to-face interactions posed a very real risk of COVID-19 transmission. Dr Raphael, a practicing orthodontist for over 30 years, decided to pivot instead of pause. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, he had already been re-examining his traditional views on patient treatment and adopted a new integrative approach. With his patient's safety as a top priority, he implemented teledentistry. All intraoral photos are submitted remotely, new patient records are completed electronically, and all consultations are conducted through a web-based platform.

Winner Organization: Advantage Dental from DentaQuest Care Group

Award Category:COVID 19 Response—Oral Health Program

Advantage Dental and DentaQuest have long seen the value of teledentistry and how it can transform access to dental care. Teledentistry was long supported through Advantage Dental’s outreach and mobile programs. The recent teledentistry rollout across their over 80 practice locations were even more crucial in addressing urgent care needs during COVID-19. Through virtual consultations facilitated with their providers and member service representatives, patients had easy access to experienced clinical assistance when practices were open only for emergencies. As practices reopened, Advantage Dental saw the numbers reflect that their teledentistry platform improved the patient experience, saved time for patients and providers, and helped bring convenience for patients already facing access challenges. The long-term vision to roll out teledentistry as part of Advantage Dental’s services is well underway.

For those who were not able to attend the live virtual event, you can watch the recording of the awards and in-depth winner interviews, which is available on demand—visit: teledentistryinnovationawards.com/2020Live for 24/7 access.