Technological advancements in healthcare are changing dentistry just as they are other types of medical care. Teledentistry allows patients to consult with their dental providers via a form of digital communication rather than face to face.
Teledentistry is a model of dental care that “provides the means for a patient to receive services when the patient is in one physical location and the dentist or other oral health or general health care practitioner overseeing the delivery of those services is in another location,” according to the American Dental Association (ADA). It is not a service but a method for delivery of oral health care services.
Using virtual communication systems, a dentist can oversee the oral health care of rural patients, nursing home patients, and others who don’t have direct access to a local dentist.
There are several forms of teledentistry:
• Real-time video: This type of teledentistry is a live video recorded consultation between you and your dentist using the video camera feature on your phone, laptop, or other device connected to the internet.
• Remote monitoring: A health provider collects your personal dental health information in one location and then transmits it electronically to another provider for future treatment. This service might be used in a nursing home facility or in an educational dental setting.
• Mobile health: Mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers, and personal digital assistants can support public dental health education and practice. This category of teledentistry includes apps that monitor patient teeth brushing as well as other at-home dental care.
• Recorded dental health information: This form of teledentistry is the documentation of your dental health records, including x-ray images, videos, photos, and digital impressions, that are sent via a secure electronic system to another health provider. The practitioner can then use this information to evaluate your condition or provide a service at a later time.
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