Telemedicine application has become the first solution to provide remote dental care. For more than 10 years, many dentists have used teledentistry to reach out to the most vulnerable and underserved patients, both rural and urban. Teledentistry is the use of electronic information, imaging and communication technology to provide the dental care, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, public knowledge, dental information transfer, and education.
If you have oral health or dental problems, having an appointment that fits in with your schedule can take a while. So you can easily connect to a dental professional remotely with this new technology, and get access to advise and information.
Benefits of Teledentistry
Teledentistry can make dental care more accessible. It allows the dentists to meet patients with oral health needs in real-time. Teledentistry eliminates travel time, reduces the cost of transportation, and minimizes time off work or school. Below are just a few of the advantages that a dentist can reap from teledentistry:
Read Also: ADA Guidelines for Teledentistry
Be a more creative option for the healthcare system as a whole.
In 2013, 52 percent of hospitals used telehealth, and another 10 percent began the telehealth services implementation phase.
Meet with the needs of present-day patients for new means of communication
Recent studies on the use of telehealth services have shown that 70 % of patients connect easily with their healthcare providers through text, email, or video rather than meeting them in person and 76% of patients prefer access to treatment over the need for face-to-face experiences with their healthcare providers. In fact, 30 percent of patients now use computers or mobile devices to search for details on medical or diagnosis..
Reduce the amount of time employees spend away from the office.
Teledentistry solutions minimize the number of time workers has taken to see dental practitioners in person. In fact, while appointments may take hours out of a workday for an employee, just 17 percent (20 minutes) of that time is actually spent seeing the doctor.
Provide the same level of care to patients as in-office visits.
Research indicates that the quality of patient care and patient success rates were the same whether patients were using telemedicine or not.
1. Improves oral hygiene education
One of the key advantages of teledentistry is the opportunity to educate patients on good oral hygiene practices. Teaching children to brush and floss, helping parents understand the growth patterns of their children, and providing advice on healthy dietary choices can all be done using teledentistry.
Read Also: The Rise of Telenutrition
2. Reduces cost
Seeing a patient remotely ensures that the dentist does not need to use expensive gloves, masks, equipment, and gowns or use clinical time on patient needs that can be treated without an appointment to face.
3. Reduced chair times
Teledentistry causes to decrease in the amou[nt of time that patients spend in the chair at the dentist’s office. Consultations can be performed online so that patients do not have to sit in the dentist’s chair physically to get advice. This helps dentists to treat a larger number of patients in one day because online consultations are performed.
4. Post-op checkups
Post-op dental checkups are simpler for dentists thanks to teledentistry, as they can easily check in remotely with their patients. Dentists will interact with the patient online, who can send information to their dentist about how they can proceed after the surgery. The dentist will then concentrate on delivering care to other patients instead of wasting time on checkups.
5. Second opinions
If a dentist has any doubts or concerns about the care a patient needs, he or she can consult with a specialist via teledentistry. A dentist can get a second opinion remotely from a specialist. Teledentistry makes it easy for the dentist to contact other dental practitioners online in order to give their patients the best possible treatment.
6. Access to patients in remote locations
Dentists are able to treat more patients because of Teledentistry — no matter where they are located. For patients who do not have dental clinics nearby, dentists may have remote consultations.
Uses of Teledentistry
73 percent of dentists said it is useful in diagnosis, assessment, care, and preparation when asked about the uses of teledentistry. 20 percent of BDS dentists in this study said it would be useful in oral medicine and radiology. Nearly 43 percent of dentists in this study said it was useful in teleorthodontics.
Besides its uses of consultation and reference guide for general dental practitioners of different disciplines teledentistry system can also provide a unique way to provide long-distance clinical training and continuing education.
It promotes the link between private practices and outreach initiatives. This encourages the practice to participate in social responsibility while making it less timely
Adoption Challenges of Teledentistry
Although teledentistry has many advantages, there are some challenges that stand in the way of the concept being adopted and put into practice by the professionals. On several levels-individual, organizational, and infrastructural-these challenges can be seen.
The lack of direct contact with patients would be an obvious challenge, individually. Equally, IT literacy is weak in many areas. There may be a reduction in the quality of the available health information, and a rise in clinic time and workload may be too high.
More rural areas lack internet connectivity and technological support when it comes to telecommunications. For many people too, the technology may seem too complicated.
Lastly, there is a lack of reimbursement mechanisms and guidance on taxes at an organizational level. There is also a greater chance of malpractice and legal violations when teledentistry is implemented.
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