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Pediatric dental group uses teledentistry to give kids a head start toward oral health

Aug. 1, 2019
Brittany Kinol, DMD, talks about how teledentistry “helps save time, shorten the distance between patient and office, and...allows my team to see these patients in their most familiar surroundings.”

One of the rising stars of innovative dental care delivery models is Brittany Kinol, DMD, who owns Miracle Dental Associates, with two offices (soon to be three) in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area. Miracle Dental Associates focuses on taking an integrative approach to children and special needs patients.

Miracle Dental Associates is a unique blend of pediatric dentists working in its brick-and-mortar offices, with general dentists and dental hygienists providing care at community outreach events and Head Start programs.

Dr. Kinol is a strong proponent of the collaborative care health-care model. In fact, Miracle Dental Associates acts as a dental hub connecting its special needs patients with allied health-care providers such as orofacial myologists, autism advocates, surgery centers, pediatricians, chiropractors, occupational therapists, and even therapy dogs. 

However, one of the most innovative approaches to collaboration occurs with local Head Start programs via teledentistry. Specifically, by using the TeleDent all-in-one teledentistry platform (MouthWatch), Dr. Kinol can reach children and special needs patients in a range of settings that is most convenient to children and their families. She is a perfect example of a forward-thinking dentist who has found the sweet spot between public health and private practice dentistry.

“One of the challenges regarding access to care is proximity to care, or rather the lack of it,” says Dr. Kinol. “Teledentistry helps save time, shorten the distance between patient and office, and perhaps more importantly, allows my team to see these patients in their most familiar surroundings. This greatly reduces the level of stress for patients, guardians, and care providers.” 

By coordinating care delivery with Head Start programs, schools, and insurance carriers, Miracle Dental’s team of mobile hygienists and general dentists use teledentistry and portable equipment to deliver preventive oral care in a wide area surrounding each of the office locations. This allows kids who live in areas with few dental providers to receive the majority of their dental care at school, which eliminates the need for travel. If a child needs restorative care, he or she is scheduled for treatment with a pediatric dentist at the nearest Miracle Dental Associates office. 

It should be noted that in the state of Pennsylvania, the role of Public Health Dental Hygiene Practitioner (PHDHP) allows Miracle Dental hygienists, who are all licensed PHDHPs, to see patients in these settings without a dentist on-site. 

This progressive provider role allows for a very efficient program, as the doctor maintains supervision through live video conferencing and store-and-forward capabilities provided by teledentistry. In this way, patients are receiving evaluations and diagnostic services by Dr. Kinol, who reviews all key clinical information through the teledentistry platform, while the mobile hygiene team is on-site providing preventive care and collecting the clinical information. 

Miracle Dental’s mobile hygiene team can set up at a Head Start location and deliver care for 20 to 30 kids at a very reasonable pace. Not only are those children’s preventive needs being taken care of, but they are also getting a thorough dental exam via teledentistry.

“Plus,” as Dr. Kinol says, “kids love to see what’s going on in their mouths and learn to understand the importance of home care.” Being able to see the intraoral images helps the kids stay engaged and understand the importance of their oral health.

“The MouthWatch intraoral camera captures still pictures and live video, while I review them on the other side of a computer or my smartphone from more than 70 miles away,” explains the doctor. “Teledentistry is enabling me to see more kids in their communities and help alleviate access-to-care issues.”

These remote evaluation and treatment-planning capabilities also make the future restorative visit more efficient and effective. All preventive and diagnostic services have already been completed before the kids walk in the door, which maximizes the dentist’s time. 

Dr. Kinol’s groundbreaking work in teledentistry has not gone unnoticed. During the 2018 Greater New York Dental Meeting, she was one of three recipients of the first annual Teledentistry in Action Awards, aka the “Tellies,” which were presented by MouthWatch. Dr. Kinol was also recently recognized by Incisal Edge magazine’s “40 under 40” top young dentists. DE

EDEN IVIE, BSDH, RDH, PHDHP, is a MouthWatch teledentistry specialist who has been involved in the implementation of many teledentistry programs currently using the MouthWatch TeleDent platform. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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