By Andrew Hickey on Dec 2, 2022 @ 12:04 PM
Our daily lives involve a lot of priorities and moving pieces. That can be amplified during the holiday season with shopping, cooking, and social gatherings. It’s important to not let your physical and emotional health suffer during the busy season. That is where telehealth comes in.
- 37 percent of adults used telehealth in 2021
- You can look for health professionals and receive care all without leaving home
- Teledentistry lets you work with a dentist virtually
- You can save time and money on office visits, dental emergencies and more
Telehealth is not a spaceship. It is a way to receive medical care without leaving your home or office. You can use a phone, computer, or tablet to have an appointment with a professional for medical and mental health concerns. 37 percent of adults used telehealth in 2021, according to the CDC.
Did you know that you can have a telehealth appointment with a dentist? Technology may not be in a place where we can receive virtual surgery. However, you can be seen by a dental professional for a range of issues. These virtual visits can range from dental emergencies to general inquiries.
Being virtual, your dental provider can update and share information with you in real time. They can also easily collaborate with your medical provider, if needed, so you are receiving holistic care. The technology is secured and compliant with HIPAA.
There is no need to put your health on hold these holidays. You can get the dental care you need without creating too much extra work. And you can easily look for dental offices that provide teledentistry services through online tools. Now we will take a closer look at when you would use it and how it all works.
Reasons you may need teledentistry
- You have a dental problem: Toothache, swollen gums, a sore in your mouth, cavities
- You have dental anxiety: If you have dental anxiety but need dental care, a virtual appointment is the perfect solution. You can start in a comfortable and familiar environment before making an in-person appointment.
- You want to research a dental treatment: You can discuss your goals with a dentist and find out if you are a good candidate for treatments like fillings, veneers or teeth whitening.
- You need a new dentist: This allows you to easily chat with dentists, so you can get a good feel for their style and approach.
- You want a second opinion: If you have been diagnosed you with an oral health issue or recommended for comprehensive treatment, you may want a second opinion. Teledentistry makes it simple to get confirmation from another dentist and find out about alternatives.
After finding the right dentist for your needs, you can move on to an in-person appointment if needed. Some issues or treatments may require an in-person assessment from the beginning, so it is best to research ahead of time.
Services you can receive through teledentistry:
- General inquiries: A teledentistry appointment allows you to get helpful information from a dental professional at your home for issues such as tooth sensitivity, gum recession and discolored teeth. They can also discuss possible treatment options.
- Emergency dental services: Some virtual dentists have after-hours or 24/7 services for situations like severe toothaches. The dentist can assess the severity of the problem, can prescribe medication, and may recommend an in-person visit to a dentist or emergency room.
- Prescriptions and at-home treatments: Dentists can write electronic prescriptions during a virtual visit, for medications like sedatives. They may also offer at-home treatments when appropriate. For example, they could order a fluoride varnish kit to be shipped to you. While doing your own treatment may seem intimidating, you can meet with your dentist virtually to guide you through the process.
- Follow-up appointments: If you need to have a follow-up from a recent treatment or procedure it is worth asking your dentist if you can do it virtually.
- Referrals: Through the magic of teledentistry, you can receive referrals for dental services without being seen in person. The dentist may refer you to an appropriate dental specialist or send you to go in person for services like x-rays.
- Specialist consultations: If your virtual dentist does refer you to a specialist, you may not even need to go to their office for a consult. Various dental specialists offer teledentistry services, such as orthodontics and periodontics. This allows you to learn about treatment options before having an in-person appointment.
Your dentist may offer even more dental services through teledentistry. So, feel free to talk to your dentist to learn more about the services they provide virtually.
The benefits of using teledentistry
- Affordable care: Teledentistry can help save you money on dental care, like paying for gas or public transport. It also reduces or eliminates the cost of taking time off work for an appointment. If you have a dental emergency, a virtual visit may help you avoid an unnecessary and potentially expensive trip to the emergency room.
- Increased access: Teledentistry brings quality dental care to people who may normally not be able to get to a dentist due to travel or mobility challenges.
- Reduced wait times: With so many dentists now offering virtual appointments, you could be seen on the same or next day. It is especially helpful in the case of emergencies.
- Streamlined visits: Teledentistry helps streamline dental appointments. You can fill out medical history or read dental resources before you see your provider. This leaves more time for you to talk with the dentist.
- Increased collaboration: Teledentistry connects dentists and medical professionals with each other. This can help them provide you with better care. It allows dentists and specialists to share images and notes so they can determine a treatment plan. This may be useful for patients with health conditions that may impact their dental health, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Whether you have a jam-packed holiday schedule or live in an area with limited access to dental care, teledentistry opens a whole new world to you. It is worth checking with your dental insurance plan to make sure you have coverage for teledentistry.