Dental care practices invariably carry the risk of COVID-19 infection due to the nature of its procedures, which involve face-to-face communication with patients, frequent exposure to bodily fluids, and the handling of sharp instruments. However, the public should NOT panic. Dentists are trained to always practice infection control policies to prevent cross-contamination of any and all infectious diseases. Patients can feel confident that dentists and their governing bodies are taking proactive measures to ensure the safety of their patients.
Telehealth, and specifically teledentistry, are valuable preventative tools to combat the spread and cross-contamination of COVID-19. With teledentistry, both patients and dental professionals can continue to safely maintain access to care.
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Spread of Coronavirus
The virus can be transmitted through inhalation of airborne microorganisms that can remain suspended in the air for long periods as well as with direct contact with blood or oral fluids. Dental offices are particularly susceptible to this due to the nature of their procedures. Dentists come into contact with oral fluids all the time, and airborne aerosols can be propelled by dental drills, which pose a serious health risk to the entire office. The likelihood of cross-contamination in the dental office is significant, so it is important to enforce through infection control protocols and decontamination of dental instruments and work surfaces.
Teledentistry will prove to be one of the most effective means of maintaining continuity of care and communicating and contacting patients virtually through video conferencing and file sharing this type of statement tonight different virus confirmed as live in the newsroom on the Dentulu Teledentistry app. Dentists and dental staff should refrain from text messaging and emailing patients as these platforms are not HIPAA compliant and can result in serious and costly HIPAA violations by compromising private personal records.
Patients who are symptomatic or who have had contact with other symptomatic friends and family members or have traveled to at risk countries such as Italy, Iran, China amongst others should be assessed virtually through telemedicine and if possible diagnosed and treated as best as possible through Teledentistry.
Spread of Coronavirus
Here are some questions and considerations you should ask all patients before administering any services:
- Do you have fever or experience fever within the past 14 days?
- Have you experienced a recent onset of respiratory problems, such as a cough or difficulty in breathing within the past 14 days?
- Have you, within the past 14 days, traveled to Italy, China, Iran or other locations with documented 2019-nCoV transmission?
- Have you come into contact with a patient with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection within the past 14 days?
- Have you come into contact with people who have traveled to Italy, China, Iran or other locations with documented 2019-nCoV transmission?
- Are there at least two people with documented experience of fever or respiratory problems within the last 14 days having close contact with you?
- Have you recently participated in any gathering, meetings, or had close contact with others in large gatherings and now showing symptoms?
- Is your dental appointment an emergency or is it an elective procedure that can wait several weeks?
- Do you smoke or have had respiratory issues or disease in the recent past?
- Do you have a thermometer and can you measure your current body temperature?
You can download the Questions Here
According to the CDC, World Health Organizations and other governing bodies Teleschooling,
Telemedicine, and Teledentistry among other forms of telecommunications will play an instrumental role in minimizing the transmission of the Coronavirus. As such Dentulu has reduced its fees to patients and dentists for utilizing their Teledentistry platform in order to help minimize the financial burden and
increase access to care during this crisis. You may download the Dentulu Teledentistry mobile application on your mobile phone or register online by visiting the following links:
For Symptomatic patients who require care, Dentulu provides mobile dentists who are able to visit patients in the comfort of their home providing palliative and restorative dentistry without exposing others to potentially infectious diseases. If you are interested in Mobile Dentistry please read more about our services by following the link below:
Prescribe Medications Quickly and Easily
Dentulu Teledentistry platform is a HIPAA compliant and encrypted software that allows dentists to establish patients as a patient of record to prescribe medications when doing so is appropriate at the discretion of the license dentist. Prescriptions can be also sent for establish patients.
Dentulu’s Teledentistry for Clinical Collaboration
Dentulu’s Tele dental platform allows for clinical collaboration between dentists, hygienists, and dental specialists with capabilities to share files, x-rays, intraoral pictures and pertinent patient medical records.
24/7 Emergency Dentist Available
Dentulu’s Tele dentistry software allows for clinicians to set their own schedule and allow patients to schedule with them virtually upon the dentist’s availability. Should the dentists want to make himself or herself available 24/7 or simply one hour every single day, Dentulu allows for flexibility in scheduling for the dental clinician and office staff..
Send and Receive Medical Clearances
Sending and receiving medical clearances between dental and medical professionals is a widely used feature on Dentulu and can be done electronically through a encrypted doc you sign format between the two providers.
Dentulu’s Intra Oral Camera
Dentulu’s proprietary consumer intra oral camera can be purchased for $25 per camera and be sent home with patients for follow-up care or left with local health clinics, schools, nursing homes and other facilities who may require Teledental consultations from dentists on our network.
Countries, States, and local counties are increasingly declaring states of emergencies and the public has not only become alarmed but conscientious of the potential threat this may have to themselves and family members. The mortality rate as of March, 4th 2020 was determined to be almost 4% which is almost double the previously alarming rate of 2%.
The airborne spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome #coronavirus is well reported in many literature’s and dental papers show that many dental procedures produce aerosols and droplets that are contaminated with the virus. As a result droplet and aerosol transmission are the most important concerns in dental clinics and hospitals because it is almost impossible to avoid the generation of large amounts of aerosols and droplets mixed with patient’s saliva and even blood during dental practices becoming airborne. In addition to infected patients potentially coughing and breathing onto dental devices such as a dental hand pieces lights and other nearby equipment, the high-speed turbines as well as cavitrons can propel aerosols which can travel significant distances and remain in the air for respiration.
Contact spread is a huge concern as dental professionals direct or indirect contact with human fluids and contaminated dental instruments may expose them to the Coronavirus. Infected patients who cough in the waiting room or on dental instruments as well as dental professionals who touch contaminated dental instruments or even doorknobs may cross contaminate others without knowing it. It has been documented that human coronaviruses can persist on various services such as metal, glass, and even plastic for several days. Therefore contaminated surfaces can continue to infect other unsuspecting professionals as well as patients long after they infected individual has left her trace.
As a result, it is highly likely that patients may develop a fear of going to hospitals and dental offices where potential, cross infection may become rampant. Telemedicine and Teledentistry can alleviate some of these concerns and if necessary be followed up by individualize care by a mobile dentist who can visit families in their homes or other locations of choice taking proper infection control steps by following protocols published by the CDC, World Health Organization, and governing dental bodies.
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