Top 5 New Developments in Teledentistry
By Space Coast Daily // December 13, 2021
Teledentistry has immensely improved the availability of dental care. Telehealth technology is increasingly making it easier for dentists to comply with health regulations.
Besides allowing dentists to assess a true emergency requiring immediate attention, a recent study showed that teledentistry minimizes travel-related stress in patients. This is the type of anxiety seen in patients who have unreliable transport or who need to travel far to receive dental care.
Virtual dental appointments are not something totally new; they have been around for over a decade. However, most recently, teledentistry has been more warmly embraced by patients.
Continual developments allow patients to remotely access dentists to diagnose a whole range of dental problems, whether they have special needs, or living in remote areas. More accessible oral and dental care from remote dentistry professionals promotes dental health, especially the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease.
1. Embracing Augmented Reality (AR)
Besides helping students to improve their skills as it assesses and guides them during procedures, AR has some significant benefits. AR apps allow patients to understand what the results of their aesthetic or reconstructive dental work will look like before they even visit their dentist’s office or have the procedure.
2. Streaming Operations with Virtual Reality (VR)
Not to be confused with Augmented Reality, there are several applications that VR allows in dentistry. These include allowing students studying dental surgery to watch procedures from anywhere to creating calming scenes for patients during dental procedures.
In teledentistry, VR allows dental specialists to assist surgeons during procedures from afar. Dentistry is one field in medicine that overtook other medical areas in its adoption of VR when a team from Nobel Biocare used the technology to share a dental procedure with virtual observers and allowed them to assist with input.
3. Connecting Patients with Dentists
Teledentistry makes it easier for certain people, especially children, those with disabilities, the elderly, and those living far from cities to access dental care. Also, it is making it significantly cheaper for patients to access complete care through all-in-one platforms and mobile communications.
Platforms like MouthWatch or The Teledentist and dental practices can implement all the developments in technology. These include the patient or guardian capturing images by photo or video, sending the relevant information to the dentist. This is followed by a remote consultation, diagnosis, and treatment. A live video chat allows the dentist to get more information, and if necessary, follow-up treatment is given at the dental office.
Home teeth straightening solutions offered by teeth aligner companies also use teledentistry to evaluate patient progress. This buying guide shows the best-reviewed and ranked home teeth aligners. Smile Prep has conducted extensive research on these home teeth straightening solutions to assess their pros and cons.
4. Compliant and Safe Databases
There are several HIPAA-compliant dental apps and encrypted software available for use in teledentistry. These already function like communication platforms that resemble a complete virtual dental office. From here, dentists can seamlessly prioritize their patient care to make a timely prognosis, giving them access to the right resources for immediate care.
Recent developments enable live sharing of patient data, clinical information, images, and videos. These can also be recorded and stored to review later or for specialist referrals and visual treatment plans. This technology also offers multi-practice data management.
Developments in technology have also benefited patients who continue to get better information for finding prescreened and certified dentists online. Communications are also constantly improving so patients can have 24-hour real-time access with a dentist locally or nationally.
Cloud-based platforms incorporate synchronous and asynchronous telecommunications that are constantly becoming more advanced. A clinician can choose from a large variety of software, helping them to scale their practices to reach more patients virtually before making an in-office appointment.
5. Affordability, Availability, and Accuracy
The reduced need for face-to-face consultations is making dentistry more affordable and available to more people. In England, the Newcastle Dental Hospital has implemented a system allowing three-way calls where interpreters help those that can’t speak English. For children and parents, it saves both school and work hours, resolving many of the financial implications of a face-to-face consultation.
Concerns about background noise hampering communications that may lead to misdiagnosis and patient mismanagements have been voiced. However, advances in the quality of images are making it easier for dentists to make an accurate diagnosis remotely. If this is not possible, the dentist will ask the patient to visit the office.
Reduced fees and wait times are just some of the advantages of the new developments in teledentistry. Patients have better access to more dental providers and specialists who use newer technology equipment to assist them from far. Teledentistry and these new developments are ensuring that teledentistry is fast becoming popular globally.