For those of us who are users of smartphone technology, it is common knowledge that there is an app out there for virtually everything. For those who are not quite so tech savvy, an ‘app’ or ‘mobile app’ is simply a computer program designed and formatted specifically for smartphones and tablet computers. Although they have only been on the market since 2008, apps are now used far more commonly than web browsing on smartphones, particularly because they are formatted to fit on a smaller screen.
App users will not be surprised to know that there are some very handy dental apps available for download, and many of them are free. Although most dental apps are geared toward professionals and dental students, there are quite a few apps that are very ‘patient friendly.’
Here are some of the more user-friendly apps designed with the patient in mind:
DCStory is an app designed specifically for patient education, and describes over 200 different dental procedures in language that is mostly free of technical terminology. This app is very helpful for patients who have been presented with different treatment options for a particular dental problem, and need direction in deciding the best option for their particular situation.
Dental Expert is designed with the inquisitive patient in mind. For those individuals who like to know more about what their dentist is doing (and for those who like to impress their dentist!), this app provides a wealth of information, as well as handy tips on good preventive practices.
MyDentist is a novel app that was designed to improve and enhance communication between dentists and patients. With this app, patients can communicate with their dentist or dental office using photographs and diagrams to convey or describe a given dental problem, and then seek advice on the urgency of the problem, and whether or not an immediate visit is required.
Epocrates Rx is a free download which serves as an excellent reference library for prescription medications. This app helps patients understand medication which has been prescribed for them, including the primary mode of action, potential side effects, and possible interactions with other medications they may already be taking. This app is easy to navigate and equally useful to professionals and patients.
These are only a small sampling of the many apps available to smartphone and tablet users. Dentists agree that informed patients make the best decisions for their own dental health. With that in mind, any technology that helps to inform and educate patients is a welcome addition to the dental environment.
Dr. Allan Katchky is a dentist who practises in the East End ~ 416-694-2220