Facts About Teledentistry

Facts about teledentistry - Digital Doc

Facts About Teledentistry

Facts to Know About Teledentistry

Teledentistry refers to the use of communication technologies (interactive video, audio, and data, for example), electronic imaging, and information, combined with technologies that allow users to forward or store data related to the provision of dental care. Consultations, education of patients, provision of treatment, and the transfer of dental health information can all be facilitated through teledentistry. 

This trend has been gaining momentum with the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic that has made it necessary to minimize contact with people who aren’t members of your household. Convenience, cost-effectiveness, and adapting to the technological changes in all fields have all helped to drive teledentistry forward. Here are some proven facts about teledentistry.

More Affordable Than in-Person Dental Visits

The use of teledentistry has resulted in greater efficiencies. For example, travel times have reduced, and dental offices can share their staff with other offices. Consequently, the cost of providing care has gone down, and these cost savings are transferred to the patients in the form of lower bills.

Meets Patients’ Needs Regarding Modern Communication Methods

Patients are already comfortable with online banking, filing tax returns, buying physical and digital goods online, and even using internet-based navigation tools (GPS). Furthermore, research indicates that 3 in 10 patients first use their smartphones and computers to check online for diagnostic and treatment information, so it is only natural that such people would expect their dental care providers to offer teledentistry services. 

Facts about teledentistry - Digital Doc

Better Access to Dental Care

Approximately 2 in 10 Americans reside in a rural area, and access to a number of health services, such as dental care, is limited. Teledentistry can provide access to dental professionals. Understaffed dental offices can also benefit from clinicians elsewhere since there is no geographical limitation to the patients who can be served.

Reduce Time Spent Away by Employees

Research shows that while dental appointments rob employees of several hours from their workplaces, less than 20% of that time is spent at the dentist’s office. The rest of the time goes to preparing for the visit, as well as the commute to and from the dental office. Teledentistry saves a lot of time by eliminating the hours spent commuting to and from dental offices, as well as the time spent while waiting for their appointment.

Reserving In-office Appointments For Severe Cases

Teledentistry also has the added benefit of reducing congestion at dental offices so that only those patients who are in urgent need of in-person treatment get to see the dentist physically. The reduced congestion allows the dentist to use all the diagnostic tools, such as the best dental cameras, LuM transillumination device, and handheld x-ray device to diagnose and make the most appropriate treatment recommendations.

Improving Patients’ Dental Hygiene

Over the years, the number of people visiting dental offices has been declining steadily, and this trend is unlikely to reverse any time soon. Innovations like teledentistry can provide a link between patients and dentists without patients having to visit dental offices. In this way, patients get a chance to interact with dental health professionals on matters of at-home dental care (brushing, flossing, and diet, for example). Dr. Ben Kacos, a Shreveport, LA dentist, says that dental hygiene has been shown to improve as a result of these virtual interactions.

Same Quality of Care as In-office Visits

Studies have shown that there is no difference between the quality of care and treatment outcomes between patients who visited dental offices physically and those who received virtual services. Telemedicine is, therefore, as good as in-person care.

Upward Trajectory of Growth

The number of patients who received telehealth services has grown from 250,000 in 2013 to nearly 3.5 million patients in 2018. These statistics show that the number of people opting for these virtual services will keep growing, and the COVID-19 outbreak may have just supercharged the rate.

The field of dentistry has often been described as being slow to adopt new technologies, but the growth of teledentistry services shows that the sector is changing fast. It is now common to find dental offices spotting the best autofocus dental cameras, transilluminators, and other cutting-edge dental products. Teledentistry is here to stay, so find ways to make your dental office align with the needs of today’s dental patients and the direction of the industry.

What Patients Ask About Teledentistry

what patients ask about teledentistry - Digital Doc

What Patients Ask About Teledentistry

What Patients Typically Asks Dentist About Teledentistry

What Patients Ask About Teledentistry

Today, more than ever before, the need for teledentistry services has grown tremendously. So, what do patients ask about teledentistry as you integrate it into your office? In this article, we’re sharing how dental offices are making a smooth transition into teledentistry.

How Do Patients Search for Teledentistry?

Our research at Digital Doc indicates that not many patients will enter the word “teledentistry” as a search term when looking for a modern dental office.

Rather, patients are more likely to use the words virtual, online, or telehealth together. For example, a patient may search for “online dentist” or “virtual dental care.”

As you implement teledentistry, keep those words patients are likely to use in mind to communicate with them in a language they understand.

Do You Offer Teledentistry Services?

You must make it easy for existing and prospective patients to know that you offer teledentistry services. For example, the emails that you send to patients should have a sentence or paragraph highlighting the fact that you offer teledentistry. The same message should also be conveyed on your website. It wouldn’t hurt to promote your online service on social media platforms. 

Once patients know that you offer these services, they can take the next step of contacting you to access those services.

What Do I Do to Get Started?

After patients know that you offer teledentistry services, they’ll want to know how to get started.

Make the next steps as easy as possible. For example, provide a form that patients can complete or include a call-to-action asking them to call and book a virtual appointment. Dr. Beth Herko, a New Providence dentist, agrees that the easier you make it, the better. 

what patients ask about teledentistry - Digital Doc

Can I Use My Phone to Send an Image or Message You About My Concerns?

There are synchronous and asynchronous ways to offer teledentistry services. Synchronous methods are those in which the dental office and the patients use the same system to interact. For example, the Smile Virtual platform allows cosmetic dentists to conduct virtual smile consultations. The patient registers on the platform and uses it to interact with the dentist.

Asynchronous methods refer to those methods in which the dental office isn’t necessarily using the same platform or communication system as the patient. For instance, a patient can take a photo using their phone and then email it to the dental office.

Each option (synchronous and asynchronous) has its pros and cons, and you must let your patients know how you prefer to work when delivering teledentistry services.

How Do I Access My Data After a Virtual Consultation?

If the platform you use allows you to create a portal that patients can access, share it with your patients. Explain how they can access that portal and where they can share data. 

If such a system isn’t available, provide alternatives. For instance, how will they receive the video containing your recommended procedures for fixing a cosmetic problem?

Ultimately, set up the teledentistry system or platform with the patient in mind. When done right, patients will only come to the office after all the preliminary steps have been completed. If you would like to learn how to implement digital technology like intraoral cameras to boost your ability to offer teledentistry services, contact Digital Doc today

Inside Teledentistry with Brett Wilson

Teledentistry - Digital Doc

Inside Teledentistry with Brett Wilson

What Does the Future Look Like in Dentistry? Inside This With Brett Wilson

What does the future like in dentistry? You have heard of Teledentistry, but most likely thought you don’t run a mobile clinic, or you don’t have hygienists going to school, so it does not apply to you. What if it could save you time and money in your day to day operations? A few things to consider (as always, check with your state board as ten states or so are not allowing teledentistry):

1. Check Fewer Hygiene Patients

Have your hygienist ask each recall patient if they would like to see the doctor, or they can be dismissed early.

What to do Next?

1. Patient chooses a check as usual.

2. Patient opts for a Telecare session recorded and sent to the patient.

  1. You review images taken from your intraoral camera, x-rays, and LuM transillumination.
  2. Record an exam on Zoom
  3. Send this exam to your patient.
  4. Bill out codes D0140 and Teledentistry code D9996 teledentistry, forwarded to the dentist for review.

3. Patient opts for Telecare live session.

  • Schedule Zoom meeting with the patient
  • Share your screen with them so they can view their chart.
  • Have IO camera images, x-rays and LuM transillumination photos up to discuss findings with the patient
  • Bill out codes D0140 and Teledentistry code D9996 teledentistry real-time.
  • Include a narrative of fewer than 80 characters
Teledentistry - Digital Doc

What if half your recall patients choose Telecare?

  1. Complete procedures by not having to leave your operatory
  2. Save $ on not changing out of PPE.
  3. Could you save time on hygiene appointments and see more to catch up on patients that were not seen during COVID?

As we adjust to the new normal, consider Teledentistry. Poll your patients and see how they react. A great first step,

Stay tuned on more information regarding Telecare.

Be Well,

Brett Wilson