December 18, 2013 Updated: December 19, 2013 at 12:04 pm
So your Pop Warner football player or Little League slugger looks like he's about to be the hero of the game when suddenly, instead of scoring the game-winning touchdown or hitting the go-ahead home run, the future all-star gets struck in the mouth.
How bad is the dental damage? What can be done, and when does it need to be done?
A new Apple iPhone app being tested in Colorado Springs may provide the answers even before the kid makes it to the dentist.
Dr. Gary Moore, the sole practitioner at Stetson Hills Dental, began testing the OralEye app about six weeks ago. The app lets people send him pictures of broken, loose, crooked, damaged and diseased teeth from wherever they are, and Moore can give an initial assessment within a few hours.
"What I see mostly is broken teeth or crooked teeth and missing teeth," said Moore, who believes he's the only dentist in the Springs area testing the app. "A lot of people are embarrassed about their dental health, and this helps them overcome that."
The app was designed by OralEye owner and Limerick, Ireland, native Mark Moore (no relation to the dentist). Two years ago, while Mark Moore was in another city, he discovered a "significant gap" between his gums and teeth, so he snapped a picture of it and sent it to his dad - a dentist - for a consultation. Moore's father told him what it was and how it needed to be treated.
"And when I saw him the next time, he said it was valuable information for him," Mark Moore said, "So I showed the photos to other dentists and they said it was amazing how much they could see from the photos."
A year and a few trial and errors later, and the app was born.
Mark Moore doesn't promote the use of his app for emergencies; rather he feels it is good for people who want a diagnosis before they go to a dentist to save time, and for follow up treatments to see if things are healing properly.
It may also prove to be a boon for people who are in assisted living homes and other elderly care facilities who have limited access to transportation, and those who live in rural areas.
"We are working with the Colorado Dental Association for those who can't get to a dentist easily," Mark Moore said. "Some people live 2.5 hours away from one."
Gary Moore saw the app in an ad and decided he wanted to help test it. While the app is not a replacement for total dental care, Moore said, it does provide people with almost instant information that allows them to know whether their dental injuries require immediate treatment, or if work can be postponed without further damaging the injured area.
People also are using the app to see if they are a candidate for braces, Gary Moore said.
He said the majority of people using the app are younger than 35 and are impressed that they can get almost instant feedback from the photos they send him.
"This app is a door opener," he said, "and if they are not comfortable coming to me that's fine. They can got to someone else, but it gets them faster answers."
The app is free, but for now, it's limited to the Apple iPhone. That is expected to change in January, when the app is expected to be available on Google- and Android-based phones, and possibly tablets, Gary Moore said.
To download the app go to: app.oraleye.com/drgarymoore.
Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275