Teledentistry Services

As the world is experiencing a transition to digitalization because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the dentistry industry is also part of this transition.

Dental practices are a little bit harder to change to a more virtual world, but it is not impossible.

Telemedicine was always a part of our life, but with the pandemic, usage has increased, and teledentistry also became more popular.

Teledentistry

Similar to telemedicine, teledentistry aims to find solutions to basic problems without having to go to a dentist physically.

This helps dental practices to work more efficiently, quickly, and safely. You can learn more about teledentistry in this article.


What is Teledentistry?

What is Teledentistry

Teledentistry is basically offering dental consultations through online communication to patients. Dentists can remotely provide consultation, diagnose issues and educate patients with teledentistry.

The consultations they can offer are generally for dental patients’ condition evaluation, discussing potential treatments, and offering services.

Its main aim is to find solutions to existing problems and determine whether you need physical consultation or not.

With teledentistry, dentists and dental patients aim to find faster, more efficient, and safer solutions to simple problems.

However, teledentistry only goes to a certain level, and if you need a more thorough check-up, you need to physically attend the dental practice. 

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How Can Teledentistry Help Patients?

How Can Teledentistry Help Patients

By creating a virtual communication line with the patient, teledentistry aims for safer and quicker help for the patients.

The main help is that if you think you need medical intervention, a quick teledentistry appointment could confirm that. In addition, you could also get education through teledentistry sessions.

There could be different ways of doing teledentistry. The method of your choice depends on your situation or what you are comfortable with.

According to American Dental Association, there are four teledentistry methods.

Live Teledentistry

This is a synchronous teledentistry method. It provides a live two-way interaction between the dentist expert and the patient.

It’s generally the most frequent method of teledentistry and provides immediate results.

Asynchronous Teledentistry

This method is about transferring already recorded health information, videos, and x-rays between the patient and the dental expert.

It could be useful if you already have some tests in your hand and you want to check that.

However, this teledentistry method is not the best if you are looking to get a diagnosis by asking various questions.

Remote Patient Monitoring

Similar to asynchronous teledentistry, this type of teledentistry stores all your dental information in one place. It then transmits all that when needed for future dental care.

It doesn’t focus on providing solutions right away, but it keeps your information digitally in-store.

Mobile Health

Mobile health teledentistry is purely for educational resources. It helps to provide dental education to the public through computers, mobile phones, and tablets.


Is Teledentistry Really Useful?

Because you still need to physically attend a dental practice for further diagnosis and treatments, some might wonder whether teledentistry is really useful and worth it.

Teledentistry doesn’t focus on fixing issues. It focuses on diagnosing problems and seeing what you need so that you don’t have to go to the dental practice frequently.

That means that teledentistry is only useful if you are looking to find a quick, efficient, and safe answer to your possible problem.

The possible diagnosis or treatments you could get via teledentistry is extremely limited. This narrows down the possibility of making it useful, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not useful at all.


Should Every Dentist Offer Teledentistry?

Should Every Dentist Offer Teledentistry

Our world is becoming digital at an extremely fast rate. Everyone and every business is also adapting to this digitalization every passing day. This means as dental practices and dentists, you have to adapt to it, as well.

That’s why, even though its use is very limited right now, every dentist must offer some sort of teledentistry.

The most common and useful way of teledentistry is the sync method, where you talk online, live, and face-to-face. Offering as many teledentistry options as possible is the most viable option.

If a dental practice fails to adapt teledentistry at the right time, there might be some lost opportunities.

Since teledentistry is also not a deep dive examination, it doesn’t take a long time, and it doesn’t require much effort. That’s why every dentist must make use of teledentistry.


Are There Any Regulations for Teledentistry?

The dental industry is highly regulated due to the nature of the industry, which comes with safety issues and the health industry’s already tight regulations.

When you are offering teledentistry services, you must use platforms that comply with Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

If the platform doesn’t obey HIPAA guidelines, this might put you at risk of breach of laws and breach of the integrity of your patient’s Protected Health Information (PHI).

Here are some of the platforms that don’t opt for HIPAA-compliant solutions:

  • Skype,
  • Facetime,
  • Emails,
  • SMS

You shouldn’t use these and similar technologies for teledentistry activities. Review all the documentation of the applications you want to use and contact them to ensure they comply with HIPAA guidelines.

Some of the providers that comply with HIPAA compliance:

  • Zoom,
  • GoToMeeting.

You can find more detailed information about HIPAA compliance on their website. You ensure your and your patient’s safety by using providers that comply with HIPAA regulations.

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The Verdict

The world is changing and digitalizing at an alarming rate. Teledentistry is one of the newest additions to our lives that aims to make things easier and safer. You can get diagnosis, education, and consultation via teledentistry.

It can’t help with anything more than that. Still, it provides a safer alternative for the beginning of your dentist journey as a patient.

As a dentist, you must not run away from providing this because offering teledentistry services could be a very easy method of attracting clients to your dental clinic.

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