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Teledentistry

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania issued an emergency disaster declaration in response to COVID-19 to expand telehealth and teledentistry. Real-time, interactive communication with or without video technology could be used to assess whether a patient has an urgent or emergent dental condition that can be treated during that encounter via teledentistry or whether the patient should be seen in the office setting.

What type of equipment is needed?

Dentists may use smartphone apps or can provide a link to a free app to download to use during a teledental visit. It is recommended that patients use a WiFi connection.

Virtual oral exams and consultation can provide a cost effective and more convenient way to provide necessary dental care. Diagnosis and treatment planning can occur during these visits, as well as patient education. 

Who can benefit from a teledental visit?

  • Patients with chronic conditions who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 that need to limit their public interaction
  • Patients who do not have convenient access to a dental provider
  • Patients who may not have the time for a traditional in office visit.

What happens during a teledental visit?

Similar to medical telehealth visits, a dentist can interview the patient, perform a visual examination, and take pictures of the area in question for documentation purposes. 

Does the patient still need to go into the dental office?

While it is obvious that cleanings or extractions are impossible through a teledental visit, dentists can diagnose and plan for treatment in the office. Teledentistry helps dentists better prepared to schedule an appropriate amount of time for treatment and can offer suggestions for temporary in-home treatments to patients.

Resources

https://www.colgateoralhealthnetwork.com/article/telehealth-telemedicine-and-teledentistry/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3894070/

https://www.newmouth.com/blog/teledentistry/

https://dentaquest.com/oral-health-resources/teledentistry/