Utilizing Virtual Visits During the COVID-19 Pandemic

What is Teledentistry?

Teledentistry is a method of providing dental services utilizing technology to provide audiovisual communication between patient and provider without the need for an in-person meeting.  Teledentistry can include patient care services provided using the following methods:
  • Live Video (Synchronous): Live, two-way interaction between a person (patient, caregiver or provider) and a provider using audiovisual telecommunications technology
  • Store-and-forward (Asynchronous): Transmission of recorded health information (radiographs, photographs, video and digital impressions) through a secure electronic communications system to a practitioner, who uses the information to evaluate a patient’s condition or render a service outside of a real-time, live interaction
  • Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM): Personal health and medical data collection from an individual in one location via electronic communication technologies, which is transmitted to a provider in a different location for use in care and related support of care 
As you can see, teledentistry is a great tool for the dentist and patient to interact without the need for expensive, inconvenient in person visits

Benefits of Teledentistry

While teledentistry will never replace in-person dentistry, it can help to make dentistry more affordable and more accessible. When used appropriately, and in combination with qualified providers, teledentistry can:

Improve Accessibility of Care

The use of virtual communications technology provides a significant benefit in providing patients access to care.  Many barriers reduce patient’s access to care including, but not limited to: overall health condition, work/school obligations, physical location and issues associated with transportation. With the use of teledentistry and electronic communication devive can easily be utilized from home or at work to help patients receive answers to their questions/concerns when, and where, it is most convenient for them.

Reduce Cost of Treatment

Research shows the use teledentistry encourages people to seek advice on dental problems earlier and, often, before they become serious. In other words, teledentistry is helping your provider to identify problems sooner, which brings down the cost of treatment across the industry.
In addition, patients benefit from the use of teledentistry as it eliminates travel costs and time away from other obligations (i.e. work or school).

Provide More Precise Planning

Providers can be reached more easily and sent specific information about a patient’s case, allowing for more accurate diagnosis and more precise, individually tailored treatment.
For example, a patient with a mysterious sore spot in his or her mouth can have a video consultation performed, receive an assessment, and determine if the problem merits an appointment with a provider.

Reduce Patient Fears

Many people have a fear, or at least a strong dislike, of the dentist. Teledentistry removes many of the visual and auditory cues that trigger anxious feelings in the dental office. Patients often report feeling less nervous and more “in control” when turning to teledentistry.

What can be done using Teledentistry?

Telehealth services are becoming more and more popular and it’s not just because of COVID-19.  There are many benefits to having virtual appointments for your health and dental care.  Some common services provided utilizing Teledentistry include:
  • Emergency dental care assessment: A helpful step to decide if you need to come in for treatment right away or not.
  • General dental questions or concerns: A simple way to get your dentist’s help without requiring a physical appointment.
  • Dental Consultations: If you want to improve the look of your smile, your dentist can provide you with treatment recommendations and helpful information like costs and a timeline.

Teledentistry During COVID-19 Pandemic

During this pandemic our goal as dental care providers is to use telecommunication technology to identify patient needs and conduct problem-focused evaluations to limit in-office visits.  Teledentistry is being employed at Gallery Park Dental to improve our patients access to care while helping to ensure patient safety.