Teledentistry Benefits for Rural Patients

It’s a fact of life that many services in larger cities are not as accessible to those in more rural locations. Healthcare is an area that often has significant disparities in quality and access between urban and rural areas. One aspect of healthcare that is often overlooked is dental care, and many Americans in more rural locations neglect to visit a dentist as often as they should. Fortunately, recent advances in technology have made it possible for residents of even the most remote areas to visit a dentist. Teledentistry is changing how rural residents positively access their dental care and make it more accessible than ever before.

Why Should Teledentistry Matter to Rural Patients?

Loosely speaking, teledensity encompasses the range of technologies to administer dental care remotely. This remote access to care is essential for rural patients, and may include:

Video or voice calls with a dentist to make dental care more convenient
Remote monitoring of oral procedures like braces to avoid traveling
Medication prescription for oral issues
These are just a few of the more popular services rural patients will value for their part in making dental care more accessible and convenient to those who might not otherwise have easy access to it.

Teledentistry Benefits for Rural Patients
So, why use teledentistry? Well, rural residents are poised to benefit the most from the variety of teledental services offered. Most benefits focus on convenience, but with teledentistry, rural patients also have greater access to dental experts.

Rural Teledentistry Provides Patients Quick Access to Routine Dental Services
One of the biggest draws for those living in rural locations is the ability to have a completely virtual dental appointment. Many people live far away from any dental office; teledentistry provides them with the ability to book an appointment that’s convenient for them.

Several teledentistry services aim to provide virtual appointments through video chat software. Online dental consultations allow rural patients to meet with their dentist without spending excessive amounts of time traveling. Less travel time is especially beneficial for routine visits or when a simple prescription is all that would be needed.

Teledentistry Gives Rural Patients Access to Prescriptions and Other Dental Support
Lastly, teledentistry offers access to certain services to save rural patients time and unnecessary travel. Take for example the opportunity to have your dentist prescribe you medication, without having to travel to the dentist’s office.

At-home orthodontics is another service that is well supported by teledentistry. Instead of simply having supplies for teeth straightening sent to your home, teledentistry offers your dentist the opportunity to monitor your care — without having to make frequent trips to the dentist.

Many of these companies offer longterm plans and will periodically check up digitally and send the next set of aligners right to a patient’s home. They can save patients tons of times as there is no need to schedule many appointments throughout the process. They can also bring a service that might not exist in certain areas to the people that live there.

Remote Teledentistry Allows Rural Patients to Get Feedback From Qualified Dentists
Another teledentistry benefit for rural patients is the ability to consult with remote dentists. Teledentistry removes the need for geographical proximity, giving patients more healthcare options. For example, a patient might want to get a second opinion about an issue from a dental specialist. While this may have seemed impossible before, with teledentistry, it becomes a real option. Patients can find the best care available, and make more informed decisions.

Teledentistry is convenient for patients and gives rural patients more control over their oral health by connecting rural communities with dentists

Online Dental Consultations Give Rural Patients Options During an Emergency
Emergency services are another great benefit to rural patients. Being able to hop on a call with a dentist immediately after an emergency can provide great peace of mind as well as make sure you are treating the emergency in the best way possible. Having immediate access to a dentist can help patients get instant feedback, but they can also help instruct patients on proper care to minimize any damage caused.

Rural Teledentistry Benefits More People
With the services offered through teledentistry continuing to expand, more people in rural areas can visit their dentist — without even leaving their homes. The convenience, and removing the need to travel sometimes hours to receive care are benefits that cannot be understated. Understandably, millions of Americans are already taking advantage of the growth in teledentistry technology (especially in rural areas) and will continue to do so for years to come.

Teledentistry Benefits for Kids – What is Tele-Dentistry?

What is Tele-Dentistry?

  1. What is telehealth and teledentistry?

Telehealth is not a specific service; it refers to a broad variety of technologies and tactics to deliver virtual medical, health, and education services. As an umbrella term, it is further defined when applied to specific health care disciplines, such as dentistry.
Teledentistry, according to the ADA’s Comprehensive Policy Statement on Teledentistry, refers to the use of telehealth systems and methodologies in dentistry. Teledentistry can include patient care and education delivery using, but not limited to, the following modalities:

• Live video (synchronous): Live, two-way interaction between a person (patient, caregiver, or provider) and a provider using audiovisual telecommunications technology.
• Store-and-forward (asynchronous): Transmission of recorded health information (for example, radiographs, photographs, video, digital impressions and photomicrographs of patients) through a secure electronic communications system to a practitioner, who uses the information to evaluate a patient’s condition or render a service outside of a real-time or live interaction.
• Remote patient monitoring (RPM): Personal health and medical data collection from an individual in one location via electronic communication technologies, which is transmitted

Teledentistry During a Global Pandemic and Beyond

In 2020, the world faced one of the worst pandemics it has ever seen. With this pandemic gripping the country, many people are looking for creative, safer alternatives to their usual routines. The healthcare industry has fared admirably with the rise of telehealth services and, in particular, teledentistry. With the improvement in virtual dental services, dentists are in a position to continue helping patients without the need for them to be on-site for their appointment. During this pandemic, and even in the future, dental care doesn’t need to be out of reach with teledentistry here to help.

How Teledentistry Can Help During a Pandemic?

Teledentistry is a broad term that encompasses a whole range of virtual and contactless dental services. Some services that are particularly useful to patients during a pandemic might include:

Virtual visits through video or voice services
Prescription of medication
Other contactless dental services
While these services are always convenient, they can be life saving during a pandemic. Not having to leave your home to receive dental care helps us all obey social-distancing guidelines and stay safe during a pandemic.

Social Distancing With Teledentistry
The most significant benefit of teledentistry during a pandemic is how it encourages people to stay home. Accessing dental care and advice from anywhere is key to reducing the spread of a virus, and still allows patients to keep up with their dental care.

Dental offices are naturally very intimate places. You’re in close contact with the dentist and hygienists, as well as other patients that may be waiting. This type of close-contact situation is what we should strive to avoid, as it dramatically increases the risk of spreading a virus.

Teledentistry, being a remote service, neatly removes the need to be in the office and prevents the increased risk of spreading the virus throughout your community. It also gives patients access to services such as prescriptions for medications and guidance regarding other dental needs at home, saving them from going out into public.

Teledentistry allows us to stay safe and social distance even when working closely with a dental professional. Your oral health doesn’t need to take a back seat even during a pandemic.

Other Benefits of Teledentistry During a Pandemic
While the remote services teledentistry offers are a large part of its appeal, it also has a wide range of other benefits for patients. They include:

Reduced costs for patients who might be out of work during a pandemic
Improved access to care for those staying home
Straightforward second opinions from experts around the world
It’s easy to see how this variety of benefits makes teledentistry very appealing to a broad range of patients and has caused teledentistry to steadily gain traction for the past few years. Add to that, the absolute need for teledentistry during a pandemic, and it becomes a perfect storm for rapid growth. Patients love the benefits teledentistry provides.

Protecting Dental Patients During a Health Crisis
This growth has spurred many laws as well as support from the ADA. These laws are all about protecting patients and their privacy and have done a lot to ease patient concerns. Safety is always something patients will worry about, and fortunately, that won’t be an issue for those using teledentistry services. As the industry continues to evolve, we’ll see further legislation enacted to ensure that proper care and procedures are followed by dentists — both in and outside of the office.

Teledentistry After COVID-19
While all thoughts are on the current COVID-19 pandemic, it’s essential to know that teledentistry’s benefits will persist in future health crises. If we should find ourselves in this position again, the dental community will be better equipped to handle it.

Additionally, even once we no longer need to be concerned about the pandemic, it’s inevitable that teledentistry will remain a big part of dental care. The convenience factor and cost-saving benefits are sure to drive both dentists and patients to continue using teledentistry techniques.

Aspects such as in-car check-ins are a great way to reduce numbers in the waiting room and speed up the process. It’s also very effective in just generally reducing the spread of infection — and that will always be beneficial for those who are immunocompromised, or otherwise at risk.

We’re also likely to see continued use of electronic form filing for patients. Completing forms is a time consuming but necessary part of the visit that no one likes. Having forms pre-filled at home saves everyone time, and keeps people in the office for shorter periods. These are just two small examples of the non-pandemic benefits that all patients can enjoy.

While the current pandemic has undoubtedly forced the usage of teledentistry, patients have been steadily growing accustomed to telehealth solutions for some time. We’ll likely see this trend continue, with teledentistry remaining a significant part of dentistry for years to come.

Teledentistry Benefits for Kids

Proper oral care is necessary for a healthy life, and this is especially true for children. For parents, getting their kids the proper dental care is critical, but unfortunately, this task can be fraught with difficulties. Parents can lessen these challenges by looking for a teledentist. Remote dental care offers many advantages so that parents can keep their children’s oral health care a top priority.

How Can Teledentistry Services Positively Impact Kids?

Teledentistry is simply any remote dental service. Anytime you receive dental care without needing to be present in the office, you’re benefiting from teledentistry.

The services are numerous, but a few popular ones that benefit kids are:

Video calls with a dentist to help children and parents get feedback
Remote monitoring through live video services
Medication prescription services for oral care
Teledentistry encompasses a wide range of services, and this is part of the reasons why so many parents are currently taking advantage of it for their children.

How Teledentistry Is Beneficial for Children

While the importance of dental care is well known, it’s often difficult to schedule convenient times to meet with a dentist. Luckily, there is a range of teledentistry benefits for children and their parents to make oral care more manageable.

Teledentistry Keeps Kids On Schedule

The first benefit is that teledentistry keeps kids from missing school due to routine appointments. Getting feedback and advice from a dentist at any time means parents can schedule appointments around a child’s schedule. This convenience factor ultimately leads to more kids getting dental care more often.

It’s estimated that children aged 5-17 missed a total of 2 million days of school each year due to dental related issues. That’s a lot of missed school, which can lead to slipping grades and other classroom issues. Time missed often includes simple routine check-ups but also includes f hours lost for more severe dental treatments. But perhaps the biggest concern is when children miss school because of untreated dental issues (tooth decay, cavities, infections, tooth loss), which can then lead to more serious health and social issues. Teledentistry has the ability to impact these absences as well.

Teledentistry Prevents Serious Issues in The Future

Teledentistry makes it easy for more kids to see the dentist. Dentists have more face time with a child, which can help catch problems early. With more access to dental care and check-ups, the result will mean fewer serious issues down the road and a healthier mouth overall. Most dental issues can be prevented with regular check-ups from a dental professional, and that is key to catching and correcting any dental problems.

Poor oral care can also lead to a lot of pain from infections and oral issues. On its own, this is problematic, but it can also directly cause other concerns. Dental discomfort can be a cause of poor sleep or diet habits, which can then spiral into other issues both in and out of the classroom.

Oral issues have also been linked in multiple studies to other health risks and concerns. These can directly affect a child’s health and put them at a higher risk of developing specific ailments. Proper oral care is a lifelong habit, and neglecting it can have severe consequences for the entire body.

Teledentistry Is Less Intimidating for Kids

For some children, a trip to the dentist’s office can be a little scary. Teledentistry offers a way for those children to receive dental care, safely and comfortably from their own home. It can also be a great way to introduce younger children to the idea of visiting the dentist — their first couple of visits being conducted at home and then “graduating” to an office visit.

Teledentistry Increases the Number of Kids Who Can Access Care

Teledentistry also extends services to those who might otherwise have a hard time getting it. It might also help out busy parents who have difficulty scheduling their child’s appointments around jobs and other obligations. Teledentistry opens the doors to otherwise underserved communities.

Educating Children on Why Oral Hygiene Matters
There are also several programs that use teledentistry to educate children on the importance of oral health. Many children, younger ones especially, might not understand exactly why things like brushing matter. These sorts of programs aim to spread this knowledge and help children understand the importance of (as well as the correct way to perform) basic oral care tasks. This information allows kids to take control of their oral health in ways they weren’t before.

Education is an integral part of oral care for children and helps them build a lifetime of good habits. Having the ability to learn from their own home or school makes the process as seamless as possible.

Teledentistry Benefits Kids and Families

Teledentistry is already making notable waves in the dental world, and helping kids get the oral care they need. With millions already using it, it’s apparent that teledentistry services will only continue to grow. Learning and utilizing them today can help kids throughout the country stay happy and healthy.

Using Teledentistry to Get a Second Opinion

While most dentists have the patient’s best interests in mind, it’s not uncommon for you to want a second opinion. Historically, getting a second opinion can be challenging. You have to schedule an appointment, spend time in a crowded office waiting room, and in some cases, your insurance may not cover the second opinion. When you find a teledentistry service, you might be surprised that it has the potential to make getting a second opinion easier than ever.

How Teledentistry Helps With Second Opinions
One of the key teledentistry advantages for patients is the ability to seek remote treatment and advice. Virtual dental visits are one way to use teledentistry, but it could also be as simple as forwarding medical exam documents to a new dentist. This concept gives patients much more freedom in making choices about their oral healthcare needs.

Teledentistry Gives Patients Options for More Dentists
The virtual nature of teledentistry means that patients have a more comprehensive range of dentists whom they can access. Patients aren’t limited to local dentists and can reach them even if they’re located a world away.

Access ultimately improves the level of care that patients can seek. For example, for unique or complicated procedures, you can reach out to world-class experts and get feedback from dentists who are the top in their field. Patients in rural and remote areas can reach more dentists than they would typically be able to. Overall, it provides patients greater access to dentists, which can help them decide on the proper level of care they need.

Virtual Second Opinions Provides Dental Patients Feedback Quickly
Another key benefit of getting a second opinion with teledentistry is the speed at which patients can receive feedback. Due to it being remote, you can speak with, and get advice from, a dentist without unnecessary travel. There are even services that are being set up that solely focus on providing second opinions.

Receiving a virtual second opinion is extremely convenient for patients and removes any need to spend additional time traveling or looking for a local option. It also means that in time-sensitive situations, patients aren’t wasting precious minutes. Many patients who may not have originally sought a second opinion because of timeliness will now have access to better care.

Teledentistry Provides More Affordable Options
Teledentistry is also shown to be a more cost-efficient option than in-person visits. Many patients might be reluctant to get a second opinion due to the cost of revisiting the dentist. Luckily, teledentistry appointments are generally cheaper than in-person visits. Teledentistry gives patients the option to seek a second opinion without breaking their bank. Some teledentistry services are also starting to be covered by insurance, which can further ease financial burdens for patients.

Why Would I Want a Virtual Dentist Second Opinion?
While you should undoubtedly trust the dentist you work with, you’re entitled to receive a second opinion. Every medical professional is perfectly capable of being wrong. There’s no harm in wanting to confirm a diagnosis or see what another expert has to say about a health issue.

Teledentistry Gives You Access to Experts Around the World
In some cases, a patient might want to confer with an expert for a particularly important or challenging procedure. Dentists will often specialize, and your general dentist might not be the best fit for a particular procedure. Searching for a second opinion can help find dentists who are more suited to the task at hand. There’s a lot of value in getting additional feedback from someone who is an expert at a particular procedure.

Weigh Your Options with Teledentistry and Possibly Save Money
Another big reason many people look for a second option is to gauge how necessary a procedure might be. Many dental procedures are expensive, and some patients might not feel like a recommended procedure is 100% necessary. Getting a second opinion can help a patient decide how necessary a given procedure might be.

Patients can also compare quotes from competing dentists to get the best price. While you shouldn’t base your healthcare on cost alone, it can be a driving factor for many people, and many are looking to minimize their costs while keeping an acceptable level of care.

Getting a Second Opinion is Your Right! Teledentistry Makes it Easier
It is your right to get a second opinion. Any person can seek other medical advice or refuse a procedure that makes them uncomfortable. A patient need never feel guilty about trying to get the best dental service they can afford. Shopping around for a skilled and affordable dentist should be no different than any other service you might require, medical or not.

Teledensity Benefits All Patients Looking for Second Opinions
For patients seeking second opinions, teledentistry services offer attractive solutions to help them. Teledentistry, overall, gives patients more agency over their dental care and can help them find the right provider for their dental needs.