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Virtual dentistry is a field of telehealth that focuses on dentistry. A virtual dentist is a dental service provider who provides care to patients over text, phone, or video (rather than in person).1
Teledentistry refers to the use of virtual communication technologies to enhance dental care and education delivery. An online dentist can evaluate, diagnose, treat, and educate patients virtually.
Teledentistry can use any of the following modes to deliver patient care and education:
Online dentists can help you with a variety of dental problems. However, there are some services that online dentists cannot provide.
Virtual dentists do not provide any of the following services:
You’ll need to make an in-person appointment rather than an online appointment for any of these issues.
Teledentistry generally costs less than traditional in-person dentist visits, with an average telehealth visit costing $79.7
Most insurance providers and Medicare cover at least some form of teledentistry service.
Consult your dental insurance provider to determine which teledentistry services your insurance plan covers.
An online dentist appointment consists of the following steps:
Most virtual dentists allow patients to make an appointment online. You may have the opportunity to select between a phone, video, or chat appointment.
Making an appointment with an online dentist can be as quick as five minutes.
Be ready a few minutes early for your appointment. You’ll have time to troubleshoot any technical difficulties before your consultation.
You may also need to complete a questionnaire before meeting with the dentist.
When you log in, you will be placed in a virtual ‘waiting room.’ Once the dentist is ready, they will admit you into the meeting room.
You may meet with the dentist via phone, video, or chat. Your dentist will examine you or look at photos you provide, make an initial diagnosis or recommendation, and answer your questions.
Depending on your concern, your appointment may conclude with a prescription, at-home care instructions, a follow-up appointment, or an in-person referral.
You may need to attend a follow-up appointment with your virtual dentist.
A follow-up appointment allows the dentist to reevaluate you, check on your progress, or answer further questions.
If necessary, your virtual dentist may refer you to a qualified dentist for an in-person visit.
Virtual dentists are available 24/7, 365 days a year, through virtual dentistry services.
Virtual dentists can meet patients immediately, assess the severity of your emergency, and let you know if a visit to the emergency room is warranted. They can also recommend at-home care and give instructions on what to do until you undergo in-person treatment.
Teledentistry has its advantages and disadvantages. It can provide access to services for many people but isn’t appropriate for all dental issues.
|Pros of Virtual Dentistry||Cons of Virtual Dentistry|
|24/7/365 virtual access to licensed dentists||Unclear reimbursement structures|
|Ability to get a second opinion from specialists or providers anywhere in the world||Uneven access to network coverage and internet|
|Expands access to care for rural areas||Concerns regarding the safety of data and information shared within these platforms|
|Reduces disease exposure||Technological illiteracy among patients|
|Preserves supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE)||Not every dental issue can be treated online|
|Allows for orthodontic evaluations|
|Reduces patient demand on facilities|
|More affordable than in-office dentistry4|
|Reduces unnecessary emergency room visits 5,6|
Denteractive is an online service that gives patients access to high-quality, board-certified, independent dental care professionals 24/7.
Using its proprietary dental health care platform, Denteractive services the following conditions:
LiveDentist is a teledentistry platform that matches patients with board-certified dentists in minutes. It offers the following features:
DentalChat was founded over a decade ago by a general dentist passionate about dental care and technology. The platform uses AI technology to help people get dental questions answered in real time.
DentalChat services any of the following conditions:
TeleDentists is a virtual care solution for teledentistry that provides essential dental services 24/7/365. It uses a cloud-based SaaS service to match patients to hospitals and urgent care facilities to avoid an expensive ER visit.
In addition to emergency dentistry, the conditions TeleDentists services include the following:
Dentulu is a SaaS-based teledentistry platform founded in 2018. It’s available in several languages, on various platforms, and is expanding internationally.
Dentulu's core products deliver a consolidation of HIPAA-compliant Teledentistry solutions at an affordable price. Its most notable feature is the MouthCAM, a revolutionary artificial intelligence software packed in a handheld, lightweight device.
This handheld camera lets the patient wirelessly capture HD-quality images inside their mouth while providing a live video feed to their dentist. The MouthCAM allows the virtual dental caregiver to be as effective as an in-office provider.
A virtual dentist can evaluate, diagnose, treat, and educate patients using online communication technology. However, there are some limitations on what services online dentists can provide.
Teledentistry is a quick and convenient way to see a dentist soon. It can help eliminate unnecessary emergency room visits. It may be more affordable than in-person dentistry, and can be covered by insurance.
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