Emerging Teeth Trend: Teledentistry
In today's world, practically anything can be done virtually. From grocery shopping to filing taxes, much of our interactions can occur online. AND NOW technology capabilities are redefining dentist-patient relationships through “teledentistry”.
What is it?
Teledentistry allows professionals to treat patients via phone and web technology.
How does it work?
Teledentistry is usually practiced in two ways:
• Email – Photos, x-rays and other clinical information is securely emailed to a dentist, who then provides patient care instructions to the dental hygienist or provider working with that patient.
• Live video stream – A dental hygienist physically treats a patient while a dentist or specialist “calls in” to guide treatment and diagnose issues through audiovisual technology.
Anyone could benefit from the convenience of teledentistry, but people who don't have easy access to dental care will feel its biggest impact. These demographics include: rural and remote communities, nursing home patients and schools that rely on mobile clinics.
This could be beneficial to Iowa, which is experiencing a dental storage. Currently, our state has about 51 dentists per 100,000 people, lower than the national average of 60. Successful teledentistry projects have been implemented throughout the country, and is something that could be replicated here in Iowa.
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