Why Dental Telemedicine is Here to Stay
In the last few years, the number of specialized telehealth services has reached new records. Now, clients and clinics challenge the idea that some treatments have to be in-person. Virtual care opens the door to medical service once thought impossible. And after research and testing, providers are ready to give patients dental telemedicine.
In 2003, the number of annual visits to dental offices in the United States started to decline . The main issue patients faced was accessibility, as dental care became too expensive. After 20 years of diminishing treatment, virtual dentistry is here to fix the problem. Like all remote services, teledentistry is affordable, effective, and here to turn the tides on dental healthcare.
At first glance, dental telemedicine looks like an unrealistic idea. But by breaking down the technology and services that go into it, you’ll see that it’s anything but unrealistic. So, Beam is here to do just that. Teledentistry will bring a valuable medical service back to patients. But now, they can appreciate it from the comfort of home.
What are Dental Telemedicine Services
No two kinds of virtual healthcare look the same. A remote psychiatrist and telehealth primary care providers use different tools and methods. This same principle is true with teledentists. Even within the field of dentistry, there are a lot of services to focus on.
First, remote dentists offer consultations on any issue that affects oral health . Here, telemedicine makes real-time chat with a dentist fast and easy. Through a video chat, patients can ask questions about their lifestyle or an illness that affects their health. Like with primary care, dental providers offer information that’s just as valuable as treatment.
Dental Telemedicine can also offer assistance with minor health problems. If a patient is worried about their gums or suspects that they have a cavity, their provider can help. High-quality webcams and home telemedicine kits offer the tools needed to diagnose an issue. Thanks to virtual care, experts can decide if a patient needs treatment from home.
Teledentistry isn’t restricted to these basic procedures or chats. Virtual desists can examine other mouth-related issues such as oral lesions. If that wasn’t good enough, they can put patients on the path toward teeth straightening and resolving overbite concerns. No matter what brings a patient in, telemedicine has the solutions they need.
Dental Telemedicine’s Advantages
While dentists can offer the previously-mentioned services in person, telemedicine has distinct advantages. Chief among them is convenience. Virtual care allows patients to undergo some form of treatment from home. This cuts the time and cost that goes into a walk-in out of the equation.
In general, dental telemedicine is faster, more affordable, and more accessible. From a clinic’s website, patients can book an appointment at the most convenient time. Since telemedicine services are less expensive and take insurance, clinics can see a wider range of patients. And because some platforms streamline workflows, providers can easily manage appointments and administration.
Dental Telemedicine also makes sharing information with specialists easier. HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms offer secure channels for sharing pre-visit information. These same channels allow providers to share diagnoses and findings with the patient. If the client needs to move on to an oral surgeon or orthodontist, sharing medical data is fast and secure.
Some unique advantages extend to providers, too. During lockdowns that reduce access to medical care, remote services allow clinics to reach their patients. For some practices, virtual service has allowed them to stay afloat . And for others, it’s only increased the number of patients they work with.
The Limits of Dental Telemedicine
Teledentistry streamlines clinical procedures for patients and providers. And while this can help get the ball rolling on care, some barriers still lie ahead. Like with all medical specializations, some dental procedures cannot take place online. So, every virtual dentist needs to plan around the limits of remote treatment .
The most common in-person treatments are straightforward. Patients with abscesses or loose teeth need to drop by a clinic for healthcare. On top of that, patients should take care of cavities at a walk-in clinic. Beyond this, regular teeth cleanings demand an in-person specialist, not dental telemedicine.
Outside of these procedures, patients should go to a clinic for emergency care. Severe toothaches that cause significant pain could point to a serious issue. In situations like this, a virtual specialist will only tell their client to pursue treatment as soon as possible. While teledentistry offers solutions, clinics need to implement some of them in person.
Dental telemedicine still has years of research and development ahead of it. But as it stands, virtual dental services can expand a clinic’s reach and reach patients who need treatment. And to do our part, Beam is happy to offer its platform. Click here to learn how qualifying clinics earn a free year of Beam’s telehealth service.