Teledentistry, the Latest Health Care Trend

Teledentistry is a growing field in telehealth, providing virtual dental services to individuals around the globe. Launched in 2014 in California, tele dentistry helps bridge the gap of quality dental care and build upon the existing principles of telemedicine.

Unlike telemedicine where there is no face-to-face patient interaction, teledentistry is a service which allows hygienists and dental assistants to perform procedures while supervised by a “virtual dentist”. Theses hygienists and dental assistants are able to work from temporary clinics established around the world and perform routine procedures, including cleanings and fillings.

“At its core, teledentistry is a way to provide affordable preventive care to the public, particularly low-income individuals,” said Dr. Terry O’Toole, vice chair of the American Dental Association Council on Dental Practice. “It costs so much less to prevent a problem in the long run than it does to pay for major procedures such as root canals.”

California became the first state to launch a teledentistry program in 2014 when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that would require Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance program for the poor, to pay for dental services delivered electronically. The legislation took effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

“As long as the dentist is licensed in the state the patient resides in, it should be covered. If we treat the root of the problem and prevent decay, we’re going to be saving people money in the long run,” said Dr. Paul Glassman, a University of Pacific dentist in San francisco.

CTeL is excited about the increasing way in which telemedicine is able to bring quality care to individuals. For more information on teledentistry, click here. 

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