During the COVID-19 global pandemic, nearly all services, from schools and colleges to exercise classes and retail shops, have moved online to help limit the virus’ spread through in-person contact.

Many dental practices have also begun to offer no contact services using teledentistry so you can receive essential dental care from the safety of your home. If you’re seeking dentistry services during COVID-19, here are the key benefits of teledentistry, as well as advice on when to choose in-person treatment and care. 

What a Teledentistry Appointment Looks Like

A teledentistry appointment works like a regular consultation, but it’s performed online. Often, this appointment happens over web chat programs such as Zoom or Skype. Ask your dentist which app they prefer to use for their consultations so you can download the app in preparation for your teledentistry appointment. 

Using your smartphone or tablet, you’re able to send pictures of tooth or gum problems to your dentist before or during the conference call. You can even show the dentist your dental issues in real-time while you’re on camera. Your dentist will then decide whether to prescribe you treatment remotely or bring you into their practice for in-person care. 

Key Benefits of Teledentistry 

There are several benefits of teledentistry, including: 

  • Limiting the Danger of Viral Transmission 

Teledentistry reduces the viral spread rate by ensuring people maintain an appropriate social distance and limiting in-person contact.

  • Offering a Sustainable Dental Practice Model 

More dental clinics and surgeries may turn to teledentistry as a safe and practical form of healthcare in the coming years.

  • Improved Customer Service

Patients feel valued and looked after because dentists provide thorough teledentistry appointments and telephone sessions, guiding patients through potential oral health issues. 

  • Increases the Level of Access to Dental Care

For people living in rural areas with poor infrastructure, teledentistry can provide greater access to proper oral healthcare.

Receiving In-Person Treatment 

Upon evaluating your issues during the consultation, your dentist might recommend you receive in-person treatment at their practice. You’ll only be able to get this treatment at their practice if your region or state allows it according to local lockdown laws. If your government isn’t allowing in-person dental treatment, your dentist will talk through the other options available to you.

Before you arrive, the dentist disinfects and cleans examination rooms, dental chairs, and any other surfaces and tools used for your treatment. 

In some cases, in-person emergency treatment is unnecessary. Often all you’ll need is a prescription or some advice on oral hygiene habits and home remedies to alleviate pain or swelling. Ask your dentist if they organise remote prescription fulfillment and door-to-door no-contact delivery for your medications.

The Role of Teledentistry for Various Treatments

As teledentistry offers numerous benefits for remote communities, limiting contagion, and creating more accessible dental services, it is likely that more dental practices will use the consultation technique for more than just diagnostics.  Teledentistry could play an essential role in a variety of dental fields such as:

  • Maxillofacial Surgery

Research suggests that teledentistry improves access to specialty surgeons, increases consultation efficacy, and improves patient triaging. 

  • Endodontic Treatment

Dentists can identify root canal fissures and bone lesions using a combination of teledentistry consultations and radiography images for more efficient endodontic diagnosis.

  • Pediatric Dentistry

Teledentistry has been successfully used to screen children for caries, and provide a viable way to educate children and parents on proper oral health care. 

When to Get In-Person Help 

If you’re experiencing any of the following problems, contact your emergency dentist or seek in-person medical help urgently: 

  • Continuous, undiagnosed gum bleeding and tooth loss
  • Inexplicable swelling around your mouth and jaw
  • Broken teeth or jaw
  • Severe infections in or around your mouth
  • If your braces are digging painfully into your cheeks
  • Sharp pain in your teeth and/or jawbone
  • Post-surgery work and follow-up appointments
  • If you need to replace your dentures
  • If you need a mouth or gum tissue biopsy

Submitting a Claim

To help manage the cost of dental treatment, ensure you have the right insurance coverage. You should also call your provider to determine whether teledentistry consultations are covered by your policy.

If you’re still able to make a claim with this online method of dental care, call your dentist, and they can file a teledentistry claim on your behalf. 

The Takeaway 

Teledentistry is an innovative and practical form of dental care. It enables you to receive reliable consultations and sound medical advice while safeguarding both you and others from the viral transmission during the current pandemic. 

This online service also provides many people with access to high-quality oral healthcare. If you live in a sparsely populated or remote environment, you can receive dental advice at the click of a button.