Dental care is one of the most hands-on forms of healthcare you likely receive on a regular basis. The idea of receiving care over the phone or through a video chat may not seem intuitive at first. However, there’s quite a lot of helpful care your dentist can provide through digital services. Switching to an online dentist that has many options for contacting you and reaching out with emergency care can revolutionize how you handle your oral health. Learn the facts about cutting edge teledentistry and how it can fit into your busy lifestyle.
Telehealth in general is the field of providing healthcare through technology like phone calls, video chats, texting, and more. It once took place in clinics with limited numbers of doctors on call, but today’s advancements allow patients to stay at home while seeking the care they need. Millions of people have already turned to telehealth for conditions like minor infections, routine viruses, and traumatic injuries. Teledentistry is a branch of the greater telehealth discipline that focuses on the care of the mouth and teeth.
It’s true that a dental checkup online can’t replace the need for routine cleaning and hands-on checking for cavities. However, a quick checkup over video or a chat over the phone allows you to solve many dental issues without dropping into the office. That means you can stick to your normal daily schedule rather than calling out of work or arranging for childcare so you can make it to the dentist. The dentist can examine your mouth through the video connection or look at photos you’ve taken. If needed, they can direct you to get X-rays at an office location or urge you to seek immediate emergency care. You’ll get the answers you need about your oral health, and reassurance on any concerns or goals.
Teledentistry is often a cost-effective way to reduce trips to the emergency dentist if you’re not sure if a problem can be resolved on its own. For example, the dentist may be able to send a prescription for antibiotics to a pharmacy at the first sign of an abscess or infection so you can get rapid relief. You can also check up on your healing after surgery or dental treatment without needing to stop back in at the office. You’ll cut down on travel time and get to focus on healing and recovering instead. Talking to your dentist in the comfort of your own home can also help reduce dental anxiety and give you a chance to complete a consultation before committing to a specific procedure or treatment. If you're traveling and aren't near your usual dentist's office, you can connect remotely and get answers from someone who knows your medical history. If they're concerned, they can refer you to a local dentist based on what you need.
The dentist also saves a lot of time and effort by helping you deal with dental issues over the phone, through texts, or with a video chat. They can catch serious problems early and get you to a dentist’s chair for prompt treatment. If there’s no issue and you simply need to keep brushing and flossing, they can quickly get back to other appointments. Dentists can help more patients and solve more problems by choosing to do both teledentistry and in-person treatments. Finding a digital dentist is a good way to get the best treatment without even stepping foot in the office to get started. Most dentists already have smartphones or tablets ready to use for this kind of care, while patients also have devices at home capable of connecting. This means there are few obstacles to getting started.
Once you’ve completed an online dental checkup, your dentist may recommend a specific course of treatment. Most of those treatments will involve going to the office at some point. However, they may be able to get you started with prescription medication, mouthwash, or toothpaste to treat problems like gum disease. This allows you to see results already while waiting for your appointment. Try to stick to dentists offering teledentistry that are located in your area. You’ll want to see the same dentist for both the online and in-person parts of the treatment whenever possible. If you need the attention of a specialist like a periodontist or oral surgeon, you should be able to get the referral through your teledentistry visit.
Your virtual dentist should give you multiple options for connecting with them in the way you’re most comfortable with. For most people, video chats offer the most flexibility. You can easily describe the issues you’re having and show the dentist your teeth, gums, and tongue for an examination. Yet there are other options beyond video if you’re not comfortable with it. Most teledentistry practices can handle quite a bit of work over a phone call, especially if you send photos for them to review before the call. Texting is also an option since you can exchange photos or videos of your mouth and written descriptions of your dental issues. Don’t forget about digital dental record storage and exchange options. This can greatly speed up care and make your appointments flow smoothly if you need to see multiple professionals for the same condition. Make sure the dentist you choose has a seamless method for switching you from the video or phone visit to the office visit. You don’t want to fill out the same forms or explain the issue twice just because there’s no way to connect the two.
If you’re switching to a new dentist in Ballwin MO, a virtual cosmetic consultation is a great way to get to know them. You can discuss your dental history and bring up any concerns or anxieties you have regarding care. This reduces the odds you’ll need to visit the office just to introduce yourself and make a plan for your care.