Article At A Glance
- Virtual dental consultations increase access to care, especially for underserved and anxious patients.
- They streamline appointments and processes for overburdened practices.
- These Improve access to dental care and enhance quality of life.
TeleMed experts continue to value the advantages of virtual consultations in healthcare even after the Covid-19 outbreak has been controlled. If you’re a patient looking for hassle-free dental appointments, keep reading to learn what teledentistry can do for you and your family.
What Are Virtual Consultations?
A virtual consultation uses video conferencing technology, allowing the dentist and patient to meet in real time over a distance. While the dentist can’t perform cleanings or other dental procedures, virtual consultations allow them to get to know you as a patient, obtain a basic understanding of the state of your teeth, and answer any questions.
Benefits of Virtual Dental Consultations
Today, 85% of patients receiving virtual dental care report that they enjoy the service, but what benefits make people smile?
In-person dental cleaning appointments may take around an hour, with some of that time in the waiting room. If there’s an emergency or delays, you’ll wait even longer. By contrast, virtual visits take about ten minutes, and you don’t have to wait around.
Virtual dental consultations also make follow-up appointments a breeze. When a dentist needs to check in to see how you’re doing after your last visit, a virtual appointment makes it simple and doesn’t require you to miss work or school.
Access for Underserved Areas
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 40 percent of the adult population in the United States postpone dental care at some point. That’s why people in underserved areas can benefit from a virtual-first care network that gives them dental diagnoses or medication they need without requiring special leave from work or school.
Calm Nervous Patients
Many people harbor an intense fear of the dentist, so a video conversation online lets the patient establish a relationship with the dentist first and build trust. They may feel more comfortable scheduling an in-person visit if they develop a cavity or need routine cleaning.
Virtual dental consultations can’t replace hands-on orthodontic care, extractions, or restorative procedures like crowns and fillings. However, there’s no reason they can’t boost patient satisfaction by reducing the time people spend in the physical office.
Help Overburdened Staff
2022 data from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute confirmed that around a third of the practices surveyed actively recruited staff like hygienists. Virtual dental consultations, follow-ups, prescriptions, and exams solve the problem. Your dentist can then spend more time on the patients who need in-office services for top-notch care.
How Virtual Consultations Work in Dentistry?
During a virtual dentistry visit, you can participate in any of the following, depending on your needs:
- You can communicate with the dentist about any symptoms you’re experiencing or dental problems you’ve noticed.
- The dentist can examine your teeth and establish a general idea about your oral health.
- You may receive a diagnosis and establish a treatment plan. Sometimes the doctor may prescribe some medication for treatment or pain management. If you require an in-office procedure, you can schedule that during the consultation.
- Depending on your needs, your virtual dentist can refer you to a local partner or specialist for further care.
While a virtual appointment can’t provide everything necessary for comprehensive care, it lays the foundation for efficient and effective care by eliminating the traditional preliminary work done in person before a procedure.
How To Prepare for a Virtual Consultation?
To prepare for a virtual consultation, take the following steps:
- Find a quiet, private space where you can concentrate without interruption. Confirm the area has good lighting so the dentist can see your teeth.
- Gather your information, including a list of your symptoms, medical history, and any questions you have for the dentist.
- Test your internet connection and equipment to prevent losing access during the appointment.
When you take these steps, you can benefit greatly from your virtual dental appointment.
Future Potential of Virtual Consultations in Dentistry
Virtual dental consultations can allow a patient to meet with their dentist quickly. Even though the American Dental Association began implementing virtual visits in 2015, this approach was not commonplace until the global pandemic arrived five years later. Before this time, a patient with a dental emergency had to wait for an opening for days or weeks. Today, a click or two secures a quick, convenient teledentistry appointment! During these consultations, the dentist can prescribe medication for pain or infections until the patient can get to an in-person appointment.
Oral health greatly impacts overall health, with unaddressed dental problems contributing to chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Concerningly, a 2021 National Institutes of Health survey, Access to Dental Care—A Survey from Dentists, People with Disabilities and Caregivers, reported that 49.1% of people with disabilities never see a dentist. Cutting-edge telehealth integration gives any disabled patient access to care, even when they can’t easily get to a dental office.
All patients deserve proper dental care, even if they don’t have reliable transportation or funding. So, virtual dentistry brings the dentist to the patient, providing a service that can increase their quality of life.
Where Can I Schedule a Virtual Dental Consultation?
Not all providers offer virtual care, but if your dentist does, you can find it on their website. If you’re interested in virtual appointments, but your dental provider doesn’t participate, you can easily find one that does. Some dentists operate exclusively online; you can find them through a search engine. Your dental insurance provider also has information about qualified virtual providers.
Get Started With Virtual Consultations at Affinity Dental
Are you ready to claim a virtual consultation’s benefits for oral health? Affinity Dental maintains a state-of-the-art facility in Chicago, but we perform virtual consultations nationwide. Please schedule a consultation online today to have our dentists look at your teeth.