Dental informatics is the application of computer and information science to improve dental practice, research, education and management1. It is a sub-discipline of biomedical informatics2.
Many confuse dental informatics with the mere application of computers (=information technology)3. Informatics is a research discipline, and much of its basic research is about information, not computers. The methods used in this research come from fields such as information science, computer science, cognitive science and telecommunications. Eventually, many innovations in the informatics field are translated into computer programs or devices, and that is where informatics becomes information technology.
Digital imaging and image processing, computer-based dental records, clinical decision support and teledentistry are only some examples of research topics in dental informatics.
1. Eisner J. The future of dental informatics. Eur J Dent Educ. 1999;3 Suppl 1:61-9.
2. Schleyer T. Dental informatics: An emerging biomedical informatics discipline. Adv Dent Res 17:4-8, December, 2003.
3. Schleyer, T, Spallek, H. Dental informatics: A cornerstone for dental practice. JADA 2001: 132 (May): 605-613.