What Is Teledentistry? Everything You Need to Know
COVID-19 has changed the world we live in. It has affected everything, including the way that we see the dentist. While usually, you might only ever see your dentist every few months on a routine check-up, emergencies do happen as many people found out during lockdown.
With the spread of COVID-19, restrictions were put in place, and many dental practices have been unable to see their patients in person. This is where teledentistry has come into play.
Although it’s not a new idea, the practice of teledentistry has risen this year to become more commonplace. But what is teledentistry?
In this article, we’ll look at how a dentist can continue caring for you even when they cannot physically examine you in their surgery.
What Is Teledentistry?
Teledentistry uses a range of teledentistry equipment including digital communication tools to consult, diagnose, and even treat dental patients. By carrying out an online assessment, it is possible for dentists to provide the necessary support and education to their patients.
How TeleDentistry Works
A teledentistry examination could use communication either via video call or phone. The teledentistry process can also entail the sharing of dental records, photos, x-rays, and prescriptions via digital channels.
Using teledentistry techniques, a dentist is able to give you the best advice and recommend treatment options. They can answer any questions you have, and they could refer you for further support from a dental specialist. You can do all of this without ever actually leaving your house.
Read more now about how virtual exams are used by one dental practice.
How Has Teledentristry Been Used During the Pandemic?
Throughout the coronavirus crisis, many dental surgeries have been forced to close their doors. Dentists have been unable to treat patients for fear of spreading the virus. But teledentistry has been a useful tool for many dentists as it has meant that in an emergency, a dentist can still assess patients.
Throughout the pandemic, it’s not just been those who are experiencing an emergency that has needed assistance. Without knowing when they would be able to see a dentist again and how long the dental industry may be affected, dentists have had to work to avoid a backlog of patients.
Teledentistry is useful in helping dentists to see their patients for routine appointments. Without regular checkups, dentists would be more likely to see an increase in the emergency treatment being required at a later date.
What Are the Benefits of Teledentistry During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Another benefit of teledentistry is that there is no need to have any additional support staff working in the office. With social distancing in place, having fewer people working is safer.
In addition to this, because there is no physical examination and no actual contact with the patient, there is no need for dentists to waste valuable PPE such as masks and gloves, particularly when there may have been a shortage of these at the time.
There are also cost-saving implications for teledentistry too. Without the need for a full team in the office, it is possible to see and treat patients with lower staff overheads.
Not only are staffing costs lower, but the amount of time it takes for an appointment is less. This means that, in theory, more patients can be seen in one day.
The time savings are also helpful to patients. Without having to travel to the dentist’s office for their appointment, they save time, money, and energy. Wherever the patient is at that moment, they can have their appointment. This means that there may not even be a need to take time off work for many people.
What Are the Remote Treatment Options for Teledentistry?
When helping patients through teledentistry, in addition to carrying out routine and emergency assessments, dentists are able to provide teeth whitening kits and teeth aligners as solutions to help patients to improve their oral health.
Teeth whitening kits are not a new thing. The concept allows patients to improve the color of their teeth from the comfort of their own homes. This a treatment option that is available via teledentistry.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have evaluated their lives and looked at making changes while they had the opportunity. Teeth whitening and alignment are two areas of cosmetic dentistry that can be carried out remotely.
With dentists offering online teeth alignment, anyone that wants to do something about how straight their teeth are can do this.
What Are the Prospects for Teledenistry After COVID-19?
While social distancing measures may be in place for some time to come, life will eventually return to normal. But what will happen to teledentistry following COVID-19?
The practice of teledentistry is unlikely to go away. The benefits that have sprung from carrying out assessments of a patient’s dental health in this way are going to be useful outside of the pandemic too.
Patients are always going to have a limited time-frame to attend their appointments. And, for a routine check-up, it makes sense to offer the option of having a teledentistry appointment.
But it’s not just patient convenience that will be a driving force behind teledentistry continuing to thrive outside of the pandemic; it’s the cost savings and efficiency it offers the dental practice.
Teledentistry Is Here to Stay
What is teledentistry? Teledentistry is a way of seeing your dentist for a routine or emergency appointment without having to actually attend the dental practice. It offers convenience to the patient and provides safety during the times of COVID-19.
Teledentistry looks set to be a permanent fixture in dental practices all over the world. Enquire with your dentist to see if it’s a service that they offer.
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