How Teledentistry Can Improve Access To Dental Care

For rural communities, dental care remains a vital necessity, but due to economic and environmental factors, gaining access to this source of care remains highly problematic in today’s healthcare industry. Many health practitioners, either graduating from college or previously established, often focus their efforts on urban and suburban communities. Because of these gaps, many rural communities often experience an increase in dental problems, including cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. Because of this, teledentistry has been referenced as a potential way to resolve these issues and bridge the gap between practices and their communities.

How Teledentistry Can Bridge The Economic Gap

Teledentistry has become a new and upcoming concept within the healthcare industry. For those unfamiliar, teledentistry refers to digital methods of communication that dentists use to interact with their patients and provide dental care services. These methods help patients through diagnosing conditions and often act as a preliminary step towards treatments and long-term preventative measures for caring for oral health. With the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic, teledentistry has played an important role in providing quick emergency responses for those experiencing severe tooth conditions, thus decreasing the number of outbreaks over time.

One of the biggest benefits that teledentistry provides is its ability to provide access for rural communities. Many families in rural areas often lack the resources necessary to receive treatments due to economic factors such as location and poverty rates. Because of these issues, teledentistry can present a new avenue of healthcare for families and patients. Ultimately, this new concept has helped revolutionize the way that dental care is provided and has been able to help in various situations, such as:

  • Immediate Emergency Treatment: For patients experiencing severe tooth pain or dental trauma, dentists communicating through virtual methods can provide at-home care techniques, medication prescriptions, and immediate appointments for treatment.
  • Lower Costs For Appointments: In rural areas, families communicating with their dentists through teledentistry can help reduce the costs associated with scheduling and traveling to appointments.
  • Provide Consistent Communication: One important aspect is that dentist-patient relationships can improve and become more responsive. These methods of communication can provide comfort and reassurance through communicating through their home.
  • Reduce Dental Problems in Children: Parents can gain extensive advice from their family or pediatric dentists to help their children through conditions such as mixed dentition, losing a tooth, and cavities.
  • Supplements Preventative Care: Most of all, teledentistry can provide patients with access to long-term preventative care and treatment plans that can be used over time, including at-home treatments and future restorative treatments.

While teledentistry offers limited uses when it comes to treating dental conditions, teledentistry can provide better communication between dentists and their patients, and overall, can greatly expand access to healthcare and help reduce the spread of disease. Through this method of communication, it can create a positive impact for families in rural areas and help improve oral health for the better. For more information about teledentistry and its options, you can learn more about it through your local dentist by scheduling an appointment with them today.

April Toyer, DDS, FAAPD
April Toyer, DDS, FAAPD

The team at Lifetime Dental Care brings a full range of services to patients in and around the Woodbridge, VA area. These four doctors bring a range of experience, diverse backgrounds, and professional knowledge together to provide families with a safe and friendly home for their oral health needs.


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