The ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, digital technology advancements, and the need for dentists to more readily consult with colleagues and specialty practices so they can ensure optimal patient outcomes are among the factors driving the expansion of telemedicine into dentistry in the form of teledentistry. Teledentistry involves the use of health information and telecommunications technology to deliver oral care, consultations, and education. As with many advancements, teledentistry carries both benefits and risks. Benefits include the ability to support patient care while mitigating COVID-19 transmission, and easier access to others’ expertise, so dentists and patients can make better treatment decisions; risks include professional liability claims and licensing board actions. To reap benefits and reduce risks, dentists need to follow best practices.
Reasons For Teledentistry
The need to increase access to dental care in underserved areas has led to the rise of new care models that incorporate telehealth technology, or teledentistry. Teledentistry includes the remote provision of dental treatment or advice using encrypted patient electronic data, via the use of electronic health records, videoconferencing, and/or intraoral photographs and radiographic images.
Teledentistry can occur in real-time using synchronous communication methods, or it can be asynchronous, meaning that there is no real-time interaction between the provider and the patient and information is stored and forwarded. For example, a dentist might send a full-mouth radiographic series to another dentist for a second opinion, or a dentist or endodontist might send a CBCT scan to an oral and maxillofacial radiologist for