When you see a dentist appointment on your calendar, you probably don’t do a happy dance. Most people don’t look forward to going to the dentist, and some people might even dread it. Thankfully, there’s a new solution on the block, and it’s called teledentistry.
Teledentistry is a new way for patients to receive dental care from their dental hygienists and doctors without needing to go into the dentist’s office. While, of course, there isn’t a way for the dentist’s office to clean your teeth from a distance, there are some needs that can be addressed over the phone.
So what is teledentistry, and what should you know about it? Let’s find out why teledentistry is helpful for so many people.
How Does Teledentistry Work?
Like other telehealth practices, teledentistry works through the use of video and other communication technology to allow dentists and their patients to communicate about any health problems they might be experiencing. Dental care can be something that is often neglected until there is pain or another issue that someone is experiencing, so teledentistry makes casual visits more accessible.
Dentists can use two-way video systems like computers or smartphones to help patients diagnose their pain and other oral health problems.
Dental care isn’t always as available in rural areas, and for some, a dentist visit can be very expensive and not at all within the budget. With teledentistry, dentists are able to improve access to oral health care and dental care.
By using teledentistry, patients will be able to work with dental experts to diagnose their pain or other concerns. Then if there is a need for an operation or other patient care, the patient can go into the office. Telemedicine as a whole has helped to increase public health throughout the US and other countries.
Top 8 Advantages of Teledentistry
Some of the advantages of teledentistry dental care include:
1. Lower Costs for Patients
While many telehealth visits are covered under insurance, some are not. According to a study done by HighPoint, an average telehealth visit costs $79 while an average in-person visit is double that, and an emergency room visit can cost on average up to $1734. The significantly lower cost of teledentistry allows for those who have a lower income to still receive the care that they need.
2. Improved Access to Dental Care
Patients from around the country and those that might have to travel for hours from more rural areas to reach dental offices will no longer need to travel. This allows anyone with WiFi or cellular service to reach a healthcare professional and, in this case, a dentist to help them improve their overall oral health.
3. Improved Quality of Care
When people with non-immediate concerns are treated virtually, only people who need immediate care are at the dental office in person. This way, dentists are able to provide better medical and dental care to their patients.
4. Align With Patients’ Needs for Modern Forms of Communication
The world has gone completely digital, and the healthcare industry is just starting to catch up with that. Teledentistry is a step in the digital direction and allows patients to communicate with their doctors in the ways that they are most comfortable with, such as video calls.
5. Reduces the Amount of Time That a Patient Needs to Be Seen
Most dental and doctor visits take up to an hour. Telehealth visits can be much shorter and often average about 20 minutes in duration. This allows patients to save time and for doctors to be more available for the ever-growing amount of patients.
6. Makes In-Office Visits More Accessible and Flexible
Because of the reduced cost of teledentistry and the reduced amount of time needed for a visit, in-office visits are more accessible and flexible for patients. When a patient does need to come in for a dental cleaning, operation, or other routine visits, they’ll be able to schedule an appointment time that works well for them more easily.
7. Reduced Anxiety
Close to 20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist out of fear and anxiety. Dental anxiety is incredibly common, and it causes people to feel panicked and afraid before or during a dental visit. People with dental anxiety may experience:
- Difficulty sleeping before an exam
- Crying or feeling nauseous
- Intense feelings of nervousness
- Feeling like it’s hard to breathe during an exam
While going to the dentist is safe and beneficial for your overall health, this fear is completely valid in the people it affects. Teledentistry is a fantastic way to accommodate people with dental anxiety. Being able to speak to a dentist in the comfort of your own home is very beneficial to help ease some of the anxiety.
8. Accommodates Marginalized Communities
Historically, people with disabilities and people in low-income brackets have been underserved by dentistry. Certain communities may not have easy access to the transportation required to get to a dental office or the accommodations needed within the office itself.
Virtual dentist appointments help serve these communities by giving them access to specialized care in the comfort of their home or workplace.
Each of these advantages helps to improve the overall experience of anyone who chooses to visit or not visit a dentist’s or doctor’s office. From more affordable prices to more available care, teledentistry specifically allows dental patients to have a better dental experience.
The Need for Seeing a Dentist in Person
There are still plenty of reasons why you’d need to see a dentist in person. Teledentistry in no way can be a complete replacement for traditional dentistry. Oftentimes it’s simply a precursor to the need for seeing a dentist in person.
The information that a dentist can gain from a teledentistry appointment is very beneficial in the diagnosis of any dental problems that a patient might be having. Still, it in no way can compare to the amount of information that can be obtained from an in-person appointment.
You should still visit your dentist in person for things like:
- Routine cleanings
- Cavity fillings
- Tooth extractions
- Dental implants
- Root canal therapy
- Cosmetic dentistry
Schedule an Appointment With Wayzata Dental
If you’ve found that you’re in need of an in-person dental visit after a teledentistry appointment, you’ll need to find a dental office close to you that can provide you with the best possible medical and dental care.
At Wayzata Dental, we’ve been working hard to satisfy our customers and provide each of them with the best patient care and customer service possible. You can view our over 700 5-star Google reviews from patients just like you.
Choose Wayzata Dental for your next dental visit, and you won’t be disappointed. We’ll take care of you in every way. Schedule your appointment today!