Teledentistry has been around for a long time. In fact, it was first introduced in 1994 by the Department of Defense to provide care to remote areas, and its success has led to its continuous development over the following decades.
When the pandemic began, teledentistry became a much bigger deal because of the convenience of families being able to get the help they needed without the office visit. Dentists all over found that many of the needs families had outside of regular cleaning could often be done in a remote setting.
But beyond general endorsements, there was a study done the end of last year (Dec 2021) to determine just how much teledentistry made an impact during the COVID pandemic. Information was gathered from electronic databases such as ScienceDirect®, MEDLINE/PubMed®, Embase, British Medical Journals, Biomed and Cochrane databases — totaling 197 articles full of data on the usage and outcomes of teledentistry.
The Findings of the Study
The result of this study was that there is a clear positive effect teledentistry provides for a patient’s access to important recommendations and oral health habits.
Here is a direct quotation from the study’s conclusion:
“Advancements in the information and technology industry can be utilized by paediatric dentists to provide better access to oral health services and improve oral health behaviours [14,16]. Oral health education and promotion programmes via mobile technology, internet, mhealth application have been able to draw the attention of the public and reach a large population.”https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S091723942100046X
In particular, the study mentioned one of the most significant types of patients that saw benefits from teledentistry were those who lived long distances from their dentist. For them, physically getting to the dentist may sometimes be prohibitively inconvenient.
That leads those patients from taking the viewpoint, “Well, I guess I won’t worry about it until it gets worse.”
The value of being able to readily reach their dentist to ask questions, send pictures if needed, and get medical advice to determine the best next course of action can’t be understated.
The studies showed that far more people connected with their dentists and benefited from the conversations — conversations they may not have had otherwise.
At our pediatric dental office we felt the benefits in kind throughout the pandemic. Being able to check in with our patients’ families and monitor our young patients’ teeth coming in, for example, proved a reliable way to mitigate travel restrictions of COVID-19.
This is still something we are open to, so if you are in the High Point, Greensboro or Winston Salem area looking for a teledentist, give us a call to schedule!