Use Tele-Dentistry and Tele-Medicine to streamline collaboration with your Dentist and Physician
Leveraging Teledentistry to Close Gaps in Oral Health
Barriers to care require innovative solutions
Teledentistry refers to a variety of technologies and tactics used to virtually deliver oral health and education services and helps to connect providers to other providers or connects providers directly with patients to enhance care and education delivery.
Teledentistry services can expand oral health access, lower costs, and improve health outcomes and patient satisfaction—making it a critical service to transform the oral health industry.
Most people aren’t getting the preventive oral health care and treatment they need to live healthy lives. According to the DentaQuest research report, Reversible Decay: Oral Health is a Public Health Problem We Can Solve, patients identify three top reasons they struggle to access oral health care: cost, lack of dental insurance, and access issues. The report also shows a widespread desire for collaborative solutions.
How Telehealth Fits into Care Delivery
Teledentistry is not a specific service. Rather, it can be considered a subset of telehealth, which refers to a variety of technologies and tactics that enhance health care and education delivery. These technologies and tactics can be broadly categorized in four types:
1. Live Video (synchronous) Sometimes referred to as “real time” or “videoconferencing,” synchronous interactions are useful when a real time conversation is needed between a health care provider and a patient, or between health care providers. In general, live video is used for synchronous interactions, but real time interactions can also take place using some of the other modalities described below.
2. Store-And-Forward (asynchronous) This category refers to interactions that do not take place in “real time.” A common use of asynchronous interactions is when a health care provider reviews health information or records that have previously been gathered by another professional or allied professional at an earlier time and at a different place than where the records are reviewed. The term “store-and-forward,” although commonly used today, is an older term that originated when records were captured in one location and then sent (forwarded) to another location. Now records can be captured directly to the cloud (internet-based servers) and accessed by individuals in multiple locations, eliminating the step of “forwarding” the records. Store-and-forward telehealth is in use in many aspects of health care such as teledermatology, teleopthamology, and teledentistry.
3. Remote Patient Monitoring Remote patient monitoring refers to using electronic means to gather information about a patient’s health, which is reviewed by a health care provider in a location separate from where the patient resides. This can be done synchronously or asynchronously. Examples include the Holter monitor, which measures EKG readings over a 24-hour period, and emerging systems to measure the pH of patient’s saliva over a period of time for review by the patient’s dentist.
4. Mobile Health (mHealth) Mobile health includes information sharing, education, and patient monitoring systems supported by mobile communication devices such as smartphones, tablets, smart voice assistants and computers. These mobile devices can support interactions that overlap with the categories described above.
Nationwide, using one or many of these technologies, dedicated telehealth-connected teams are leading efforts to bring oral health care services to hard-to-reach patients – meeting them where they live, work and go to school.
There are a variety of places where oral health care can be delivered today beyond a traditional practice setting. Each care setting is differently suited to teledentistry-enabled care.