Behind the Case: How Teledentistry Transcends Rural Boundaries and Establishes Community Connections

11.14.2021
| 7 min read

On occasion it’s not about dental anxiety or fear of the dentist. It could be lack of access to dentistry. Teledentistry makes dental care possible for those who are under-resourced or lack community access.

Dentistry as “community outreach” opens the door to a patient base who otherwise would lack essential oral health care. Technology innovation - such as teledentistry - can deliver virtual dental care and mobile dental services to fixed community locations including…

  • Schools
  • Community/Neighborhood centers
  • Churches
  • Businesses
  • And more…

Rural readiness

Oral health issues transcend geography. Isolated populations and/or those who lack convenient access to a dentist are at a higher risk.

Rural Americans are more likely to experience tooth decay and twice as likely to lose their adult teeth as their urban counterparts.” [1]

The report, “Improving Oral Health Care Services in Rural America,” confirms,

Access to oral health care is one of the most common reasons cited for the disparity in oral health in rural communities. Geographic isolation, acute provider shortages, and providers who may face challenges in caring for the complexity of oral health needs of rural populations are just a few of the factors cited…[2]

Rural areas stand ready for innovative solutions to dental care.

Community connectivity

Urban and suburban communities, unlike rural areas, have access to dentistry. Even so, technology, including teledentistry, helps eliminate the lifestyle or economic challenges that keep people from taking advantage of available oral health services.

Community-centric dentistry helps bridge the care-gaps. Coordinated access to dental care delivers timely opportunity for the public to take advantage of dentistry.

Schools, churches, community centers, and local businesses open their facilities for virtual screenings, pop-up mobile care centers, and dental education via a teledentistry platform.

Larger numbers of patients can be seen by dentists and dental hygienists. This leads to an increase in community visibility for the sponsoring dentist and/or affiliated hygienist.

Teledentistry2

Teledentistry transcends rural boundaries and establishes community connections

Provider availability

Rural patients without a dentist or the ability to visit local or regional office can do so via teledentistry. Remote locations and those with community related barriers (e.g. time, transportation, etc) can access your services via a secure, virtual portal.

  • Real-time, face-to-face (synchronous) video consultations to discuss dental issues
  • Diagnostic solutions using digital image and record sharing (asynchronous)
  • The virtual dental home model gives equipped and qualified dental hygienists and dental assistants the opportunity serve those who wouldn’t otherwise have routine care access

Patients in rural areas can be connected with nearby providers should they require treatment. The initial visit via teledentistry is useful to help eliminate the isolation they feel while giving them the next step option for care.

Educational support

Patients in underserved areas often lack common, fundamental dental care information. Their oral health issues are a result of being educational resources.

Teledentistry provides a solution for streaming content so patients can begin to take more responsibility for their personal health.

Live, video consultations can connect dentists and dental hygienists with patients in remote areas. Relevant dental information, images, and dental records can be shared to guide patients to better oral health solutions and opportunities.

Financial viability

Reimbursements for teledentistry, including Medicaid provisions, are available in a number of states. This gives the under-resourced in rural and local community areas a financial solution.

Community outreach synchs somewhat seamlessly with teledentistry. For more inspiration check out the following outreach themed resource:

Mission Smiles Selects Teledentix to Power its Mobile and Teledentistry Outreach Program for Uninsured Patients

And for additional teledentistry and virtual dental care ideas and strategies link to the following:

Expand Your Patient Care Reach with Teledentistry and Mobile Dental Opportunities

How School-Based Mobile Dentistry Can Help Solve Care Access Challenges

Mobile Dental Delivery Explained

A dedicated teledentistry platform expands your community care initiatives

Teledentix is an innovative, turn-key teledentistry solution created by Virtual Dental Care. The all-in-one platform will enable you to adapt teledentistry to your patient care and extend your services beyond the walls of your dental practice…and improve your patient care in the process.

LEARN MORE about the Teledentix platform.

[1]                https://www.ncsl.org/blog/2020/03/04/teledentistry-connecting-rural-communities-to-dental-care.aspx

[2]                https://www.ncsl.org/blog/2020/03/04/teledentistry-connecting-rural-communities-to-dental-care.aspx

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