Dentistry, e-health and digitalisation: A critical narrative review of the dental literature on digital technologies with insights from health and technology studies

Patricia Neville Marieke M. van der Zande

Dentistry, e-health and digitalisation: A critical narrative review of the dental literature on digital technologies with insights from health and technology studies

Authors: Patricia Neville Marieke M. van der Zande
doi: 10.1922/CDH_4664Neville08

Abstract

Objective: To overview current developments in e-health and digitalisation in dentistry and identify gaps in the dental literature on this topic; Basic research design: a critical narrative review of published articles and relevant online materials; Results: Four themes are identified as characterising the current dental literature on e-health and digitalisation: 1) the impact of digitalisation on dental surgeries, 2) digital technology and practice management, 3) digitalisation beyond the dental surgery and in dentist-patient communication, and 4) digital technology and education. However, gaps remain in our understanding of the impact of digital technology on dental practice, particularly in relation to its ethical considerations. Following the example of the wider medical literature, the review introduces the field of critical digital health studies and identifies areas for future investigation and exploration based on its four characteristics: devices and software, data materialisation, data practices and data mobilities; Conclusion and Clinical significance: Digital technology is changing clinical practice and patient care. Dentistry needs to expand its understanding of how dental apps, digital workflow models and digital health information are transforming and disrupting dental practice in order to anticipate how this digital shift will impact on dentistry. The emerging field of critical digital health studies can signpost ways to improve research and practice on the topic in the future. Keywords: Dentistry, e-health, m-health, digitalisation, critical digital health studies

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