Knowledge, attitude and practices of dental professionals in Rwanda towards the benefits and applications of teledentistry
Background: Currently, the use of teledentistry is still low in developing countries. In Rwanda, the state of teledentistry is undocumented. Without knowledge and positive attitude of dental practitioners towards teledentistry, it will not be easy to implement teledentistry innovations.
Methods: To assess the knowledge, attitude and practices of dental professionals towards teledentistry, a cross-sectional study was conducted in Kigali-Rwanda on 103 dental professionals.
Results: The majority of respondents had good knowledge and positive attitude (88%) towards the benefits and application of teledentistry. However, the practice of teledentistry being done by dental professionals is still at low level where only seven (6.8%) of dental professionals are using videoconference for health related purpose intercommunication. Also only 13 (12.6%) and eight (7.8%) were sharing digital x-ray and digital photographs as the reason for intercommunication respectively. The knowledge, attitude and daily internet access were significantly positively associated with practice (p <0.05). Also knowledge of dental professionals towards the benefits and application of teledentistry was significantly and positively associated with their attitude teledentistry (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The results revealed that dental professionals are knowledgeable and have positive attitude towards teledentistry. Again, dental professionals overall believe that teledentistry is good and it has to be integrated into the current dental practice. However, the practice of teledentistry is still at low level in Rwanda compared to other advanced applications of teledentistry done in developed countries.
Keywords: Teledentistry, attitude, knowledge, practice, dental professionals