What Can be Done with Teledentistry?
A common misconception and belief that many dentists have about Teledentistry are that they can’t provide dental care virtually because they need to see the patient in person. However, there are many ways that dental care can be administrated virtually while benefiting both the dentist and patient. And in some circumstances, where close contact is to be minimized, virtual care is the only option. I am hoping that after reading this post, you will not only understand all the ways that you can provide virtual care for your patients but that you will start implementing Teledentistry into your practice today!
ADAPT to Teledentistry
Assess the Patient’s Dental Concerns
Teledentistry is a great tool for dental assessments. Assessing a patient’s dental concerns prior to making an in-office appointment will allow you to effectively schedule the appropriate amount of time needed in-office. The easiest way to assess dental concerns is through a video call between the patient and the dentist. Our platform allows the dentist to take intra-oral screenshots that will be saved to the patient’s clinical chart and not to the dentist’s phone library. These images can be used for later reference or helpful for examining the patient’s concerns remotely, while on a video call. Virtual consultations can also be provided to patients who want professional advice on broken, sensitive, or misaligned teeth.
Diagnose the Symptoms
After assessing the patient’s dental concerns, a diagnosis may be formed given the images and video provided. If a diagnosis is not able to be formed, you can schedule an in-office appointment with the patient to take any x-rays or additional information needed to form a diagnosis. Preforming Teledentistry, even when the dental concern is hard to diagnosis via video call will still benefit you as you will know the treatment that is needed prior to the patient arriving at the office. Teledentistry will save the amount of time the patient spends in the chair, so you can schedule more efficiently and make your day most productive.
Advise and Discuss Dental Goals
After you have a probable diagnosis, virtual care can help evaluate the patient’s dental goals, discuss possible treatments, decrease dental anxiety, and ask questions about the proposed treatment plan. Virtual dental care is great for treatment planning, as dentists can assess cavities, sores, lesions, or infections through a video call and determine the appropriate course of action. Teledentistry can provide the patient with additional information and allow them to discuss how they can better their oral health.
If a patient has a cracked or broken tooth, multiple treatments or procedures may be an option for them. The patient may have a root canal treatment and then get a crown, or they may get an implant to replace the tooth. In these situations, Teledentistry is a good way for the Dentist to discuss all different treatment options available for the patient and allow them to ask any questions before stepping foot into the office. This helps the patient to feel more comfortable and allows for increased production at the same time.
Another great use of Teledentistry is for prescribing medications to patients that you know will require pre-meds prior to their dental treatment or procedure. Prescriptions can also be provided remotely if the patient is experiencing extreme pain, or if they have an infection. This is a great temporary solution until they are able to come in-office for a physical appointment. It also avoids patients seeing another dentist when they are experiencing a dental emergency.
As per the RCDSO’s COVID-19: Guidance for the Use of Teledentistry, “Should dentists need to prescribe medication for a new patient, technology with audio-visual capacity will be required to allow for an adequate assessment prior to prescribing medication (RCDSO, 2020).” This means that for any new patient needing a prescription, the dentist will have to assess the situation via video call and not over the phone. Our Teledentistry platform offers both video and direct messaging with a patient to make sure all guidelines made by the RCDSO were met! The patient would then print or email the virtual prescription to their pharmacy and get the prescribed medication.
After the assessment of the patient’s dental concern, a diagnosis, an advised treatment plan, and a virtual prescription, the patient is now ready to make an in-office appointment. A platform like CONNECT2D TELEDENTISTRY makes scheduling in-office appointments fast and efficient. While on video call you can simply discuss and agree upon a date and time with the patient to come into the office. After the call, the patient will request to book an in-office appointment, the dentist then accepts the request, and that’s it!
After a dental procedure has been performed, scheduling follow-up appointments virtually will help free up chair time for patients needing in-office procedures and allow you to control your own production. Teledentistry is a cost-effective solution for monitoring the recovery of a patient after their dental treatment, as well.
Implementing Teledentistry with CONNECT2D
Now that you are familiar with all the ways dental care can be administered virtually, the next step is to implement Teledentistry into practice. Finding a suitable platform for your office, that is also PHIPA and PIPEDA compliant isn’t difficult, download the CONNECT2D TELEDENTISTRY App, sign up as a dentist and watch as your patients thank you for being so connected and accessible to them!
COVID-19: Guidance for the Use of Teledentistry. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2020, from https://www.rcdso.org/en-ca/rcdso-members/2019-novel-coronavirus/covid-19—emergency-screening-of-dental-patients-using-teledentistry