Telehealth dental videoconferencing, or teledentistry is becoming a popular way to evaluate, diagnose and treat oral health and dental conditions. In fact, according to the American Teledentistry Association, 70% of patients are comfortable communicating with their healthcare providers using video, text and email. Plus, 76% prefer easy access to care rather than having a face-to-face meeting. Learn what types of gum and teeth conditions can be treated virtually and when you need an in-person dentist visit.
1Ease the pain of a toothache.If you are suffering from a toothache, you can consult with a dentist to discuss how and when it started, how severe the pain is, where it is located, and other issues that may be affecting the health of the tooth. The dentist may request to view the tooth either via video or in photos you submit to the dentist. Following the consultation, she could diagnose the source of the toothache and offer remedies for relief. This could include a prescription for antibiotic or pain medicine. Treatment options depend on the severity of the problem.
2 Evaluate gums to treat possible gum disease.If you are suffering from bleeding or sore gums, a dentist can examine your gums via video or photos to determine if there is inflammation, such as gingivitis or periodontitis; if the gums are receding or have ulcers; or if other problems are affecting the tissue around your teeth. Once the dentist has an opportunity to review the video or photos, he can make a recommendation for treatment and then follow up on your progress.
3 Start the process to repair a broken tooth.Obviously, repairing a broken tooth cannot be done via videoconferencing with your dentist. However, you don’t have to wait to start the process for repair until you can get to the dentist office. Through teledentistry, you can meet the dentist so he can examine the tooth via video or photos and provide a path to repair. Following the consultation, he can make recommendations on a possible repair and treatment plan for the tooth, which can be implemented through an in-person visit to your local dentist.
4 Check for an overbite.If you are experiencing discomfort because your top teeth do not align properly with your bottom teeth when your jaw is closed—also called your occlusion—it is important to have a dentist examine your occlusion before it leads to more serious problems, such as a chipped tooth, grinding of the teeth, or jaw pain. A dentist can examine your teeth and teeth alignment using video or photos or both to determine if your occlusion needs an adjustment. Once she makes a diagnosis, you can take steps that may include an in-person dental visit to resolve any misalignment.
5 Straighten your teeth.No one likes having crooked teeth, but they also may not have the time to visit an orthodontist to have them fixed. Using teledentistry, you can connect with remote teeth straightening companies to complete an at-home impression kit, which includes taking a mold of your teeth along with photos from several angles. You send in the teeth mold and photos for evaluation and diagnosis by a dentist or orthodontist, who will provide a treatment plan that includes custom-made aligners to wear as directed. In severe cases, patients may be directed to a local orthodontist for further treatment.