Grant Application

Mary Chapman, DDS, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Pediatric Dental

Proposed Innovation

Dental caries, or tooth decay, is one of the most common chronic childhood conditions. Children from low-income and minority backgrounds are especially vulnerable, experiencing higher levels of decay and mouth pain. Although the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children have their first dental visit by age one, many children don’t see a dentist until they are in pain.

UPMC Children’s Hospital has multiple clinics where a dentist is not currently on-site for dental exams. And there is a 9- to 10-month waitlist to see a pediatric dentist at the main hospital clinic. This project aims to streamline access to pediatric dental care by providing a small intraoral camera for use as a virtual diagnostic tool. The camera would allow dentists to triage care after reviewing photos along with patient charts of children who visit the dental or medical clinics.

Improvements in Action

Through this project, public health hygienists at the dental satellite clinic in Hampton Township and medical staff at a second satellite clinic will be trained to use the intraoral camera as a diagnostic tool for caries detection. The cameras will then be integrated into routine care at these two clinics.

Intended Results

It is estimated that by May 2025, 1,000 children will be screened via the intraoral camera who otherwise would not have had a dental exam by a dentist. Having intraoral cameras at these two sites will improve access to care and streamline treatment for children who need it most. Using it for routine screening via teledentistry also will help identify issues earlier.