For many of us, oral health care was not emphasized in medical school and frankly seemed like the purview of our dental colleagues. During my years as a full scope family physician, I have had the opportunity to perform dental care in places such as Mongolia and Afghanistan. If you have never had the opportunity to pull teeth, clean teeth and drill some dental caries you are missing out on a lot of fun!

But you don’t have to be half way around the world to provide oral health care. In 2014, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) added fluoride varnish as a recommended preventive service for children from first tooth eruption through age five. Many Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) are starting to work this easy and inexpensive procedure into their routine well child visits to make it as standard as receiving required immunizations.

This doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t be sending children to dentists; in fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends establishment of a dental home by age one. Dental care is a necessity throughout our lives not just during childhood. The up to date primary care provider must be aware of recommended treatments for a variety of oral health urgencies/emergencies including oral lesions, dental trauma, etc.

Previously here on iMedicalApps, we reviewed the top apps for family medicine and pediatrics. Both times I mentioned the outstanding app, Smiles for Life, by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM). This group, working alongside the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and others, recently released a totally new and updated version of their Oral Health Curriculum in app format. The medical app is meant to be a complementary extension of their excellent and free online oral health curriculum. The medical app includes diagnostic modules for child, adult and prenatal dental concerns including mucosal and dental lesions. These diagnostic modules include a step by step algorithmic approach with numerous tables, graphics and quality photos to aid you in making the proper diagnosis and evidence-based treatment plan. The Smiles for Life app also contains a risk assessment tool designed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to assist providers in properly evaluating and counseling pediatric patients and their parents on oral health issues.

At iMedicalApps we recently reviewed another dental emergencies app from the New Zealand Society of Endodontics, but studies have shown there is a paucity of dental apps for management of oral hygiene.

Clinical Scenario

You are working in your clinic when a mother brings in her eight year old son who has fallen while playing kick ball during recess at school and partially avulsed one of his front teeth. What is your approach to the patient? How do you care for the child and his tooth while arranging follow-up?

Video Review

Login to iMedicalApps in order to view the following video review of Smiles for Life. Registration for iMedicalApps is free.

Evidence based medicine

The Smiles for Life app comes from a reputable source and includes guidelines to oral health care from many national groups including USPSTF, AAP, etc. The Smiles for Life app contains excellent information on care of a wide variety of oral health conditions and includes a step by step approach. Most of the medical app’s sections include references to pictures, tables, etc., but not references for the actual medical content.  The Smiles for Life app helps you with evidence based practice.

What providers would benefit from this App?

Any health care provider working with children, adults or pregnant patients with oral health concerns.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.

  • Price
    • Free
    • Modern look and feel to user interface.
    • High quality graphics and tables throughout app.
    • Evidence based risk assessment tool built in.
    • Diagnostic modules with disease based algorithms.
    • Link to online modules available for CME credit.
  • Dislikes
    • No global search function or ability to sort by diagnosis.
    • Some sections of old app curiously missing such as a dedicated section on fluoride varnish and a collection of handy tables/charts like the fluoridation table.
    • Some tables/graphics do not view well on smartdevices.
    • Not as well referenced as it probably should be.
  • Overall

    The Smiles for Life app is a welcome update to an already excellent resource now with a more modern look and feel along with an evidence based algorithm to oral health care for children and step by step approaches to oral health concerns for patients of all ages.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Efficient interface, but would benefit from ability to search content globally and by diagnosis.

  • Multimedia Usage

    Contains numerous in app charts, tables, graphics, and high quality photos of oral pathology.

  • Price

    App is free.

  • Real World Applicability

    Required reference for any primary care provider who takes care of children, adults or pregnant patients with oral health concerns.

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 6S running iOS 9.2.1

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