Have you heard about teledentistry? It is similar to other tele-health services that are becoming more common and familiar as we recover and heal from the COVID-19 pandemic. While we don’t offer teledentistry right now at Roots Family Dentistry in Richmond, VA, we want to talk about the pros and cons in the event it becomes mainstream in the future. Know that we care about your dental health and you can trust us with your dental issues during this uncertain time- and anytime!
So, what is Teledentistry?
Think about teledentistry as being a virtual way to connect with your dentist- often from the comfort of home! Instead of personal one-on-one visits, appointment takes place online, through IT (information technology). While patients cannot get dental work done during these visits- like filling a cavity or extracting a painful tooth- there are other benefits that make it a useful tool with a promising future for patients across the globe.
When does Teledentistry make sense?
Since teledentistry does not work for conventional dental exams and procedures, when does it make sense? Some situations that merit teledentistry appointments include when the patient is seeking information or advice or for a quick evaluation of a dental situation. Seeing the patient online may prompt the dentist to schedule them for a face-to-face procedure or offer insight into what to do. Dentists can prescribe medications, order x-rays, offer information, and encourage the patient to come in, via these tele-dental visits.
During this time of Coronavirus concerns, there could be a lot of potential in tele-health services, including teledentistry, to flatten the curve and curb transmission of illness.
How does Tele-dentistry benefit the patient?
There are numerous benefits for both patient and provider when it comes to teledentistry. Right now, tele-health offerings can reduce the fear and concerns surrounding virus transmission associated with going out in public. For the dentist, tele-health services can simplify and streamline their practice, allowing them to be more productive and efficient throughout the day. For the patient, tele-health makes services more accessible and usually more affordable, too.
What does it cost?
Speaking of money, who pays for teledentistry services? Typically, dental benefit plans and insurance plans cover preventative care, which includes teledentistry services if you are within your carrier’s network. Tele-dentistry today is still not the norm, so coverage may be complicated and accessibility limited; speak to your carrier and dental provider to learn more about the costs of these visits, if applicable.
How about emergencies?
In the event of a dental emergency, seek treatment promptly. While teledentistry may point toward a situation that warrants attention, you know when you need to see the dentist so go ahead and make an appointment with your provider. Call first if your region is still observing stay-at-home orders, and only go to the ER if instructed to do so by your dentist.
At Roots Family Dentistry, we place the health and safety of our patients and staff first. While we don’t currently perform teledentistry, we have made strides to control and curb the risk of Coronavirus in our practice. In addition to an increase in utilization of personal protective equipment, we screen everyone who enters our offices vigilantly, taking temperatures for all staff and patients and minimizing interactions overall. We have installed new, state-of-the-art air filtration units and our system filters the air of our entire clinic every five minutes. Need a dentist? Don’t hesitate to call for an appointment with Dr. Chris Wolberg at Roots Family Dentistry, in Richmond VA, today.