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September 5, 2018

Hate dental checkups? This app lets you check your smile by snapping a few selfies

by John_A

Between finding the time for an appointment and possessing a totally logical fear of drills, surely no-one enjoys going to the dentist. Imagine how much easier life would be if getting your dental checkup was as simple as taking a few mouth-based selfies (“mouthies?”) and sending them off for a remote evaluation by a real dentist in your area.

That’s the pitch behind the company Toothpic, whose new app is trying to help the more than half of Americans who haven’t been to see the dentist in the last year. And, hopefully, to save them some dental pain down the road.

“We have a network of hundreds of dentists across all 50 states that make themselves available to review these cases,” Mark Moore, founder and CEO of Toothpic, told Digital Trends. “These dentists can identify a surprising amount from images, just like they would when looking directly into a patient’s mouth from their chairs. Dentists regularly observe cavities, gum disease, crooked or over-crowded teeth, stain, calculus build-up, cracked teeth, missing teeth, impacted wisdom teeth, infections, the range of oral hygiene from poor to excellent — as well as a whole host of other conditions.”

According to Moore, the quality of image which can be taken with modern smartphones is comparable to the images captured in dental offices. This has been borne out in a number of previous studies.

Moore said that the idea for Toothpic came to him after he suffered damage to his gums and, rather than go for a dentistry appointment, snapped a quick photo and sent it to his dentist father. While there was a degree of embarrassment in Mark Moore being the son of a dentist who nonetheless skipped out on appointments, his dad was able to use the photos to give him an idea of what treatment to seek and how much this would cost. He even recommended a good dentist he knew nearby.

While we can’t all send photos to Mr. Moore, Sr., Toothpic is based around a similar concept. Users answer a few questions, and are then guided through a photo-taking process. (Best results come from getting another person to take them for you.) After you submit the images, a licensed dentist then reviews them and contacts you with a report within 24 hours. What could be easier than that?

Toothpic is available to download on both the Google Play and iOS App Store.

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