Teledentistry is the use of telehealth in the dental industry. Telehealth is a digital communication technology used to coordinate and deliver health care services.
Teledentistry refers to the virtual communication between dentists and patients. During these appointments,a patient sends in photos for the dentist to examine.
Then the dentist provides virtual care and education on the dental issue(s) at hand. Teledentists can also refer patients to in-person dentists as needed.
Teledentistry has an enormous potential to increase the reach and quality of dental care.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA):
"...examinations performed using teledentistry can be an effective way to extend the reach of dental professionals, increasing access to care by reducing the effect of distance barriers to care. Teledentistry has the capability to expand the reach of a dental home to provide needed dental care to a population within reasonable geographic distances and varied locations where the services are rendered."
Teledentistry & Dental Emergencies
Video consultations can help people undergoing a dental emergency. A quick video call with a dentist could provide the patient with vital information that gives them a clear path ahead or even saves their life.
Many patients are unsure if their condition is considered an emergency. In many cases, urgent care is not necessary. Teledentistry could save these patients a costly trip to the emergency room with a video conference and follow-up dental appointment.
When a patient does experience a true dental emergency, teledentistry can get them medication or refer them to an urgent care facility immediately.
Remote teledentistry is a great alternative to office visits during such difficult times. In the USA, teledentistry services are included in insurance coverage.
During the virtual dental consultation, a doctor will attentively listen to your symptoms, check available records (X-rays, photos, etc.), and provide you with:
Assessment. A dentist can perform dental assessments with the help of videos and photos that are taken by the patient, look through available records and examine the patient remotely.
Prescription. A doctor can prescribe some necessary medicine when a person is suffering from a toothache and needs some antibiotics to relieve the pain until there is an opportunity to visit a dentist’s office.
Supervision. Teledentistry orthodontics is a very effective and cheap way that allows a doctor to monitor the process of teeth movement from a distance without requiring the patient to visit the office regularly.
As can be seen, dental teledentistry offers new opportunities for patients, allowing them to enjoy all related benefits.
Benefits of Virtual Dental Services
An impressive number of patients and dentists that use teledentistry innovations is not surprising at all if to consider numerous benefits it comes with:
Access to care. People who live in rural areas, older patients, and those with disabilities get access to dental care. Telemedicine dentistry breaks the barriers between patients and doctors, enabling the former to get professional consultations without going out.
Services to kids with disabilities. In urban areas, children can get necessary oral assistance with the help of school computers and community health programs. Pediatric teledentistry allows their parents to receive answers to all important questions.
Less intimidating. Plenty of people suffer from dental anxieties and are afraid of visiting a dentist. Communication with a doctor at home will not be so stressful.
Improvement of oral hygiene education. It is one of the main benefits of teledentistry that allows improving public awareness of virtual dental hygiene. For example, a dentist can teach the kids how to clean and floss their teeth.
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