A guide to teledentistry in the time of COVID-19
Michelle Strange, MSDH, RDH, explains how the implementation of teledentistry can be a saving grace to the dental profession, particularly if shutdowns occur again due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe with ease, hitting every continent in no time at all. As the cases rose, government officials began implementing tactics to slow the spread of the virus. Those tactics included social distancing, staying home unless absolutely necessary, and widespread lockdowns in the most hard-hit areas. When lockdowns were in effect, only essential services remained open to serve the public. One sector deemed nonessential and forced to close was dentistry, but as dental professionals know, oral health is just as important as any other form of health.
Despite the new vaccines and hopes to lower overall virus case numbers, much of the dental industry is waiting in limbo for another potential shutdown. But there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and that is teledentistry.
Teledentistry can operate even in the event of a total shutdown, because it does not require chair time or face-to-face interactions. This could mean everything to patients who need oral care. In fact, there is so much that teledentistry can do for both patients and practitioners, that even if all dental offices are closed, care is still accessible for those in need.
Many of you may have the initial thought: how is this possible when the dental industry is so hands-on?
This is true, for many situations, but there are also many areas of dental care and patient interaction that can be substituted with teledentistry.