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Teledentistry 101

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You’ve probably heard of telehealth, which lets your doctor provide care online without an in-person office visit. But did you know that you can also get dental care virtually, too? Here, we’ll discuss teledentistry, how it works, the benefits, and how you can use it.

What Is Teledentistry?

Teledentistry, according to the American TeleDentistry Association, is the use of interactive audio, video, data communications to provide and support dental care delivery, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, transfer of dental information, and education. In other words, it operates like telehealth, in that you’re able to get some types of dental care through remote video, as opposed to going into a dentist's office.

How Teledentistry Works

The availability of services for teledentistry will depend on what your provider offers. However, if they do offer it, you can expect teledentistry to work like telehealth: you can talk to your dentist on the phone or on video about issues, concerns, or questions related to your dental health, send and receive secure messages and photos, and use remote monitoring to check in with your dental care team as needed. They might be able to provide advice or treatment options based on your call, give you a prescription, or recommend you come in for an in-person visit.

The Benefits of Teledentistry

Like telehealth, the benefits of teledentistry are numerous:

  • Improves dental hygiene: This system more easily connects providers to patients, which means an increase in access to dental health.
  • Saves time and money: Teledentistry has proven to lessen the cost of dental care while increasing efficiency by way of shared staffing, fewer in-person appointments, and shorter travel times. That can also mean less time you spend taking off work.
  • Broadens access to care: Patients living in rural or remote areas can now access professional dental services with just an internet connection.

While you can’t get a filling or cleaning done digitally, and you should always go to your dentist twice a year for cleanings, you can add ease to your dental care by covering other dental concerns remotely. Teledentistry is an innovative new way to expand access to dental care while streamlining the time needed from the dental professionals as well as patients. Talk to your dental provider and see if they offer teledentistry—who knows; your next dentist appointment could be from your living room.

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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