When speaking to former colleagues in telecommunications, teleradiology, or telemedicine about my new opportunity in teledentistry, often the first question I get is, “How do you do teledentistry?”
Good question. A prospective client recently asked, “What are things that can be treated with teledentistry” (and without entering the patient’s mouth).
The TeleDentists (www.theteledentists.con) replied:
- Tooth eruption
- Do I need ortho?
- Whitening questions—what to use, how safe?
- Cold Sores/herpetic infection
- Canker Sores/Aphthous Lesions
- Gums bleed when brushing teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Dry Mouth—symptoms/solutions
- “I have an appointment Monday, but swelling started and I can’t get ahold of my dentist” palliative care/intermediate help when someone has a dentist
- Oral Health Assessment Survey (available online or at the clinic) Education from a dental specialist about improving your score.
- Preventive Services that can be done by NP or Med Tech:
- Fluoride Varnish application— “immunize against decay”
- I need a dentist referral. Don’t know any.
- Consultation with Diabetics about improving oral health/reducing A1Cs
And there’s more.
The TeleDentists will shortly launch a service to provide Dental Second Opinions for patients which have been told that they need extensive and expensive dental work and would like an independent third party to provide them with confirmation.
As with telemedicine, there is no clear definition of what to include under the teledentistry umbrella.
SmileDirectClub, a company which providers aligners via telemedicine recently filed their IPO.
This was not without controversy as the American Dental Association filed a complaint with the FTC against SmileDirectClub.
Going forward, there are several Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies which are looking to see how their software can assist in the practice of remote dentistry.
In any case……Expanding oral health access via telecommunication is essential to overall public health and wellness, and teledentistry is a critical piece of this industry transformation.