14 February 2023
Regular healthcare is vital to a person’s overall health as it can help to prevent minor health issues from developing into something more serious. For many, though, physically getting to a doctor’s or dentist’s office can be a challenge. In a desire to reach more patients who needed care, virtual healthcare was developed. While it has been an option for years, telehealth has seen a significant increase in recent years.
Medical professionals understand the various challenges involved with meeting a patient face to face. Telehealth is utilized in almost all healthcare professions, including dentistry. Teledentistry allows patients to receive the care they need from the comfort of their homes.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth provides a means for those who are disabled, living in a rural area, dealing with a sickness, or can’t make it to a physical care location to get the services they need, regardless of how far away they are from a medical professional. This service commonly relies on wireless communications with video conferencing, specialized apps, and streaming media.
Teledentistry is a remote service that provides patients near and far with the dental care they need. It is designed to help patients who live in rural areas as well as patients who may have a disability or impairment that makes visiting a physical office difficult. Teledentistry offers a broad range of services through video conferencing, telephone communications, or online applications. This allows patients to communicate with their dental professional at their convenience.
Preparing for a Teledentistry Appointment
While virtual office visits are a great convenience, they do still require planning and following certain guidelines. Your dental provider will typically provide you with all the information you need before your appointment to ensure you are prepared. Typical steps you may need to follow include:
- Registering or signing in to a patient portal. Many healthcare providers utilize specific software programs to meet with their patients. This is largely due to the importance of keeping private patient records secure. It also provides a convenient platform to request appointments, pay bills, and send questions or concerns to your provider. You should make sure you are registered prior to your appointment. That way, you will be ready to meet with your provider at the scheduled appointment time.
- Complete the necessary paperwork. The procedures you would complete in a physical office are often the same as you would follow for a virtual appointment. This includes completing any required paperwork prior to your appointment, such as medical history forms, consent forms, and other important medical documents. Your provider may require this paperwork to be completed online, or in physical paperwork that can be mailed or faxed.
- Find a quiet area. While meeting with a provider at home can feel more comfortable, it is still intended to be a professional appointment. Before meeting with your dental professional, you’ll want to choose a quiet space in your home. Your location should have few to no distractions. If you have other individuals in the home, let them know you’ll be having a medical appointment and would like to not be disturbed. Even pets should be left out of the room if possible to ensure you can communicate with your healthcare professional without disturbance.
- Consider your lighting. You want your provider to be able to see you. This is especially important when discussing dental concerns. You want to avoid any backlighting that can make it harder for your provider to connect with you. If lighting is poor in your home, you may want to consider purchasing an affordable mirror or selfie light that can help illuminate your face without taking up a lot of space. You may also want to have a flashlight on hand or take photos or a video of any issues before your appointment. Since you are meeting virtually, your dental provider is limited to how closely they can examine your mouth, teeth, and gums.
- Write down your concerns. Similar to an in-person appointment, it is beneficial to create a list that can help keep you focused throughout your visit. This list can include any symptoms you may be experiencing, medications you are taking, and any questions you may have for your provider.
- Double-check your equipment. Before your appointment, make sure all your devices, such as your phone, tablet, or laptop, are ready. Everything should be fully charged and able to connect to Wi-Fi. You’ll want to make sure your camera and microphone are on and operating appropriately. Having more than one device ready to go lets you have a backup in case one doesn’t work. Additionally, if possible, it is often beneficial to log in to your appointment early to troubleshoot any issues you may have.
What Services Can Teledentistry Offer?
Virtual appointments will have limitations. Your dental provider is limited in what they can do due to the nature of the profession. The extent of your services can largely depend on your ability to get professional X-rays and other forms of close examination. For some, visiting a hygienist can bridge this gap, but for most virtual patients, this isn’t always a viable option.
Regardless of limitations, your dental provider can assess and discuss symptoms you are experiencing, helping you to best determine if what you are experiencing is a non-urgent situation or a potential emergency. In non-urgent situations, your dentist can give you advice on how to handle the concern, or they can prescribe medications. In urgent situations, you may be asked to visit a physical location for a detailed examination.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
The demand for telehealth services continues to grow. This has inspired healthcare providers in several fields to expand the ways they can interact with their patients. The field of dentistry is no exception. With advances in technology, there are no limitations when it comes to seeking quality medical care. If you are struggling to receive the dental health you need, teledentistry could be the best option for you. Emergency Dental Service can help you schedule an appointment with a dental professional who can meet with your virtually. Explore provider locations online, or give us a call at 1-888-350-1340.