Tele Dentistry (Tele-Dentistry):
Teledentistry or Tele-dentistry is a revolutionary new technology that falls under the umbrella of Telehealth and is an emerging field meant to increase access to dentists and dental professionals by using video and audio conferencing between patient and doctor. The National Telehealth Policy Resource Center defines telehealth as “a collection of means or methods for enhancing health care, public health, and health education delivery and support using telecommunications technologies.” Telehealth encompasses a broad variety of technologies and tactics to deliver virtual medical, health, behavioral, and education services. Telehealth is not a specific service, but a collection of means to enhance care and education delivery. It is primarily a communications tool and is changing the way in which information is passed on between patient and doctor.
Teledentists can now utilize Teledentistry software to video chat with patients and treat a variety of potential clients without actually being in front of the patient. This allows for fast and immediate responses to emergencies with professional solutions within reach of most patients addressing most dental and oral care problems, anytime and anywhere. Teledentists combine technology with reliable dental care to better serve the needs of a variety of patients reducing patient frustrations, wait time, mobility issues as well as costs. The TeleDentists can now provide virtual dental visits for all dental emergencies and urgent oral/dental problems with 24/7 access to a dentist utilizing face-to-face communication instead of sending emails or trying to speak to a receptionist for information. Patients can often resolve their immediate problems within a short period of time and if needed schedule next day appointments with the dentist in the office or by utilizing mobile dental services with companies such as Dentulu which provide at home dental services through their mobile dental application.
Emergency dentists are very difficult to reach and most dentist do not work nights leaving sudden emergency patients with little to no recourse and often times ending up in the emergency room for basis dental services that can be easily addressed by a dentist. Emergency rooms are often not equipped or staffed to address emergency dental patients who are given pain medications and sent back to find a dentist who can help them. This is heavily contributing to the severe and growing Opioid epidemic and often results in emergency patients returning to the emergency room for more pain medication and predisposing them to opioid addictions and dependency.
With video consults and virtual “facetiming” between patient and doctor, telecommunication software connects the patient’s laptop, tablet or smart phone to a virtual dentist on encrypted networks within a minute or two. Patients will pay for the virtual consultation for a certain period of time and the dentist and patient can communicate for as long as is needed to address the patients concerns and to answer the patients questions. The dentist is then able to send the patient attachments, pictures, videos, and even prescriptions that can help the patients with whatever problem he/she is having.
Advanced Telehealth/Teledentistry technology utilized:
Patients can use intraoral cameras as well as their cameras on a smartphone or ipad to show the dentist what their concerns are allow the dentist to get better information and a visual look at the patient. The patient can also send the dentist or dental office their x-rays from another dentist along with notes, list of medications, and any other pertinent information through encrypted file sharing capabilities or with the use of encrypted emails.
Dentists can use this information to diagnose the patient’s problems using advanced virtual care technology and immediately provide an e-script for pain medication or antibiotics as they see fit or until the patient has time to come to the office for a visit.
Advantages of Teledentists and Teledentistry:
- Enhances patient access to dental care and pain relief
- Immediate and convenient dental visits with a dental professional
- Cheap and affordable dental consultations that do not require costly visits to the dentist
- Allows the patient and doctor to “meet” virtually establishing a relationship
- Lets patients quickly decide whether they like the dentist and whether they want to choose them
- Eliminates guesswork about what the patients problem is by enhancing communication
- Avoids unnecessary, costly trips to the Emergency Room and Hospital and Urgent Care Clinics.
- Increases access to care to those who are not close to a dental office
- Decreases driving time sitting in traffic going and returning to and from a dental office
Follow Up Care with Teledentistry Technology:
Teledentistry is not only for emergency patients but can also be used by dentists and dental clinicians to follow up with their patients AFTER dental procedures in order to check up on them. The dental office can now visually see the patient’s progress and assess healing by using advanced telecommunication technology giving them a much better understanding of the patients post operative status. Patients can now also take photos or videos of their healing and oral health and send that data to their dentist with just a few clicks of their Smartphone or tablet.
Dentulu Teledentistry Application:
Dentulu is one of the leading companies offering Teledentistry technology to its patients who can simply download the mobile application and immediately connect to a live representative and licensed dentist who can address their concerns and answer their questions within minutes. The dentist can then schedule the patient into their calendar the very next day or use the Dentulu mobile dentist application to schedule an at home visit to bring the dental office to the patient at a location of their choosing. You can download Dentulu on your Apple or Android telephone or by visiting their website www.dentulu.com