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In this age of Covid 19, accessibility and efficiency in the landscape of health services have changed dramatically. Health services have had to scramble to find ways to address the widening gap that Covid-19 has brought to the already limited access to health care. Telehealth is not a new concept but has gained immense traction in the past couple of years. It refers to health care services, including consultations and diagnostic services using information technology and communication services to carry out practical and efficient patient care.
The rapid spread of Covid 19 in early 2020 severely impacted most patients' dental care access, especially those in remote and rural areas with limited health care options.
In-person dental consultations saw a sharp decline. The American Dental Association (ADA) directed dental specialists to prioritize urgent care only and delay elective dental procedures and routine consultations and checkups.
Tele-dentistry addresses the inequities in inpatient care by improving access to dental care information, setting up quick dental appointments when needed, and increasing patient satisfaction with the overall process.
Dental appointments are carried out via the internet over various platforms, which makes it all the more accessible, cost-efficient, and saves the patient a lot of anxiety associated with a visit to the dentist. Naturally, it is also Covid- 19 SOP-compliant as both the dentist specialist and the patient are at risk for exposure during in-person consultations. But what does the process of an online dentist appointment look like?
Teledentistry is carried out in several modalities (synchronous, non-synchronous, remote patient monitoring, and mobile health). For immediate and urgent care, people can now request an immediate appointment with a specialist trained to deal with the specific needs of the patients.
While social media and over-the-internet communication methods have taken over the world due to their accessibility, some patients might not have enough information on setting up a virtual consultation with a dentist specialist. There are several ways to do it, but if there’s an issue of urgency in dental care, one of the top ways to do it would be to sign up to a Teledentist service and request an urgent appointment. The process is easy and seamless, designed in a user-friendly manner. The work to consultation process may entail the following things:
The website or app may require you to sign up for its services, which is easy if you have an email address. The website may ask you for general information about your particulars (stuff that usually goes on the form you fill while visiting a doctor). Still, in this case, this information will be retained for future visits and consultations.
Some services will also accommodate you for a quick appointment with a specialist even without insurance, and you won’t have to wait an eternity to consult with a doctor. You will also fill out the information about what ails you so that the service can match you with the best possible specialist for your concern. The sign-up process will take 10 minutes to book you a quick appointment.
You might need to wait a few minutes for the service to set you up with a specialist, sometimes for as little as 5 to 10 minutes.
In an asynchronous (ADA code D9995) consultation session, a live two-way communication using communication technology, either via audio or video, will be carried out between the patient and the dentist specialist. This allows the dentist to make an informed evaluation and a quick diagnosis, which will help the patient avoid an unnecessary visit to the hospital.
Even in severe cases like root canal treatment or root exposure, the doctor will help you address the severe pain with immediate medication that may help alleviate the pain until you can visit a specialist in person. You won’t have to wait for hours in painful and debilitating pain in the emergency rooms. Instead, you will have immediate access to a dental specialist.
With dentists with specialties ranging from an oral/general pathologist to an endodontist, from a pedodontist to an orthodontist, patients will have access to every dental specialist under the sun, treating a myriad of issues related to oral health and hygiene to surgical diagnoses.
Dental health issues are of a wide variety, and teledentistry can address and offer consultation for all of them. The doctor may refer you for an in-person visit with the dentist in some cases. Teledentistry can help address common issues, including severe toothaches, providing an evaluation for possible tooth infection or exposed root, diagnosing and starting the process for a broken tooth, and setting up an in-person appointment later.
Teledentistry not only widens the patient care radius for dentists but also helps bring competitive dental services right to the patient's door. Many dentists realize that most patients delay going to a dental specialist simply because of two reasons; finances and lack of time. The thought of undergoing dental procedures is also haunting for many who cite this as the main reason for stalling a visit to a dental specialist even when they are in pain.
Teledentistry addresses all of these issues, it’s time and cost-efficient, and it allows the patient access to care from the comfort of their home. Although the field is relatively nascent, it has enormous potential and an endless possibility of care.