How Teledentistry Can Help Take Your Dental Practice To The Next Level

Telehealth offers a unique solution to overcome the barriers of geography and makes long distance delivery of healthcare possible. But can oral health, a field where in-person visits to the dental clinics are considered a primary requirement, benefit from the introduction of technology?

By leveraging technology, dental surgeons can cater to a wider range of patients, manage time effectively and streamline operations. But the dentists are not the only stakeholders who stand to benefit from adoption of teledentistry.

It is also advantageous to the patients who get access to top dental care from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Here are the benefits of teledentistry for both patients as well as providers.

Related Read: our ultimate guide on how to start a telemedicine business.

Benefits of teledentistry for patients

1. Easier access to care

Teledentistry makes dental care accessible for patients living in the remotest of locations. The state of Alaska has its own telehealth program focused on dental care. Alaska’s Dental Health Aide Therapist (DHAT) program provides access to dental care in the urban as well as rural areas and other states are set to follow suit.

Teledentistry finds its greatest application in case of dental emergencies. Patients can connect with dentists remotely in case of an emergency, get assessment and medication remotely and get immediate care without having to be subjected to longer wait times.

2. No more missed routine checkups

The 6 months routine checkups are stressed upon by every dentist but teledentistry makes it feasible for patients to get them done on a regular basis. Integrating the teledentistry software with an appointment scheduling software can automate sending of follow-up reminders to patients.

By eliminating the need to make a trip down to the dentist’s office, teledentistry removes the barriers to routine visits. Teledentistry can also prove to be a vital patient education and patient engagement channel. Patients can attend virtual sessions for learning good oral hygiene practices.

From teaching children how to brush and floss to caring for periodontal conditions in post-op follow ups, everything can be done remotely through teledentistry.

Related Read: Building A Telemedicine Platform For Your Practice: A Comprehensive Guide

3. Lower levels of anxiety

Dentophoia is real. The thoughts of visiting a dentist for a oral health checkup can be intimidating for patients. Visits to the dental clinic can elicit feelings of severe anxiety. All of this can be avoided with teledentistry.

With mobile phones equipped with high precision cameras resulting in ultra high definition images, the patients can consult the dental practitioners from the comfort of their own homes without the associated anxiety and stress.

4. Reduction in the costs associated with dental treatments

Teledentistry cuts down on the travel time and commute costs for the patients. It also helps bring down the costs for the dentists who don’t have to use gloves, masks, gowns and other equipment when doing checkups.

This allows the patients to avail the same quality of treatment at lowered costs.

Benefits of teledentistry for the dentists

1. Improved clinical efficiency and safety

Dentists are at the highest risk of infections and the coronavirus pandemic has really brought the need for clinician safety at the forefront of discussion.

With telemedicine going mainstream in the wake of the current healthcare crisis, teledentistry is not far behind. It allows the dental practitioners to manage the clinical workflow while ensuring optimum safety levels at the same time.

Non emergent cases and post-operative visits can be conducted virtually while the cases which require chair time can be scheduled efficiently. Lesser chair time for the patients directly translates to greater clinical efficiency for dentists. Teledentistry applications are not just limited to diagnosis and follow-ups, it is also proving to be effective in a treatment planning in specialities like orthodontics where the progress can be monitored effectively remotely.

2. Enhanced patient education and engagement

Virtual connectivity with dentists brings down the patient-provider barriers resulting in higher engagement levels. Teledentistry can also be used as a patient education tool to bring dental awareness to the masses.

School based screening programs with intraoral photographs can be a huge boost to preventative dentistry and help diagnose oral diseases before they progress and cause irreparable damage.

With the patients accustomed to getting the products and services they need with taps on their phones, making dental care accessible through the phones is a huge advantage of teledentistry. By increasing the engagement of patients in their own dental treatment, dentists can also hope for better patient outcomes.

Your Teledentistry Platform: Trusted telemedicine app developers you can hire.

3. Ease of referrals and seeking second opinions

Telemedicine has proven to enhance interprofessional communication, thus improving the ability to seek second opinions from other members of the dental fraternity. Teledentistry also makes referrals and second opinions more feasible for both the patient and the dentists.

In case of store and forward teledentistry, the pictures and patient files received can be encrypted and securely transmitted to the specialists for their opinion. Patients do not have to undergo the same tests repeatedly while saving the clinical effort at the same time.

4. Increased customer base

Patients reportedly are more comfortable with a healthcare provider they have had a tele-consultation with. Teledentistry allows you to expand your range of practice and brings down the geographical barriers limiting it.

With insurance providers rapidly looking to reimburse virtual visits, teledentistry can be the push you need to grow your practice.

Remote consultations make it possible for people living in rural areas and the geriatric population that may not be able to commute easily, get access to quality dental care.

Related: 5 Pitfalls To Avoid When Outsourcing Software Development

Integrating teledentistry in your dental practice

While there are a number of teledentistry platforms available in the market, if you are looking for complete customization of the virtual consultations to fit to your existing practice, custom software development is the way forward.

Partnering with experienced professionals in the field of healthcare software development required the following

  • ensuring that adequate attention is paid to ensuring a good patient experience for those seeking virtual care
  • intuitive platform user interface and low learning curve to facilitate easy onboarding
  • Stringent data protection best practices are followed to ensure compliance with HIPAA regulations.

Depending on your needs, you can choose to go for real-time, synchronous teledentistry dentistry model and give face-to-face telemedicine visits. Conversely you can choose to follow the store-and-forward model, also known as asynchronous teledentistry, which involves capture of intraoral photographs.

Having a custom teledentistry platform also allows you to pick a combination of these two models and leverage them to best suit your practice.

What the future holds

The incorporation of technology is just beginning to transform the field of dentistry. From artificial intelligence in diagnosis of oral conditions to smart device integration reminding patients to brush and floss their teeth, the applications are multifold. The field of teledentistry is just starting out, and is definitely here to stay.

The successful integration of teledentistry within your dental practice relies on you choosing the right technology partner. Custom developed telehealth solutions have a greater level of acceptance by both the patients as well as the healthcare providers.

Arkenea, with 9+ years of specialized experience in healthcare software development, is a pioneer in digital health innovation. Get in touch if you are looking to power up your practice with technology and our team of expert consultants will get back to you shortly.

Vinati Kamani
 

Dr Vinati Kamani writes about emerging technology and its application across industries for Arkenea. She is an avid reader and self proclaimed bibliophile. When Vinati is not at her desk penning down articles or reading up on the recent trends, she can be found travelling to remote places and soaking up different cultural experiences.