There’s a lot of talk about what we call the “new-normal.” Related (on topic) will teledentistry be part of the “norm” for dental care?
That’s a question involving patient perspective and how the patient-facing benefits of teledentistry line up with their expectations.
Reasons for optimism about teledentistry
We’ve mentioned before that teledentistry as a service goes back to the early 2010’s. Much has evolved around the technology and with it patient optimism.
Factor in the COVID-19 pandemic and you’re seeing even more relevance for virtual dentistry.
Survey data reveals some of that optimism.
”…78 percent of patients believing they are likely to use it within the next five years.” 
The related survey focused on a few patient-facing factors that included:
- The general use of teledentistry or virtual dental care for remote care delivery, consultations, follow-up care, and education. Although some see limitations for teledentistry as “a niche service for isolated communities.”
- The availability of teledentistry (60% indicated this was key).
- The belief that virtual dental services can promote “healthy behaviors and educate individuals about the prevention of oral diseases.”
- “Diagnosis and risk assessment” was success factor for 50% of survey respondents.
- Teledentistry is seen as a benefit to “working people,” according to 55% of those surveyed.
- Virtual dental care improves access for children and patients with disabilities. 
”For most patients, virtual dental care is not a futuristic idea, and they are ready to embrace it. Their optimistic perspective on it is a clear sign that is not just a passing trend. Teledentistry is gaining momentum and patients are eager to see it as an integral part of mainstream oral care.” 
The reigning optimism comes from the patient perspective. Their optimistic outlook for virtual dentistry alongside a growing list of providers (using it) makes their perspective a priority as you innovate around the service.
Patient-facing perspective about teledentistry guides your innovative use of the service
It’s essential to understand how your patients are embracing this “new norm” and what patients desire from teledentistry.
A few core factors are helping shape their ongoing opinions about virtual dental care. These will also provide guidance as you integrate teledentistry into your patient experience.
Speak your patient’s “language” when talking about teledentistry
Start with the realization that many patients aren’t up to speed on using the term “teledentistry.” For example, when they search for the service online they might use search language like “virtual dentistry,” “online dental appointments,” or the broader more familiar words such as “telehealth” or “telemedicine for dentists,” etc.
- Inform your patients routinely that you offer teledentistry.
- Promote and educate your patients about teledentistry via your blog content, social media posts, email blasts, etc.
- Familiarize them with the terms “teledentistry” and “virtual dental care” through casual use as you discuss appointment options.
- Provide easy (clickable) access to schedule teledentistry services on your dental practice website and your email signature information.
In essence, make it part of your patient care “language.”
Give your patients digital options and availability to interact with you/your team through teledentistry
Synchronous (real-time) or asynchronous (stored, shared) interactions are the doors to your virtual environment. The virtual dental home concept is becoming another extension of patient care.
Your patients are accustomed to utilizing their personal digital technology to engage family, friends, retail and dining choices and…their healthcare providers.
An app-centric world keeps them tethered to their smart devices. Patients expect the same when they access, share, and interact with you.
- Confirm and communicate your availability for care related conversations on a secure, dedicated teledentistry platform.
- Encourage your patients to use teledentistry to ask questions, schedule follow-up communication, and share an image to aid in your diagnosis or treatment consultation.
- Connect your patients to specialists, colleagues, and/or referral solutions using synchronous or asynchronous communication.
Keep your patients linked to their teledentistry consultation data
A virtual dentistry environment is about more than video communication. That’s one part of a broader digital patient portal.
It’s essential to utilize a virtual dental home model that has the capability to securely house the information discussed, shared, and obtained during a teledentistry consultation.
- Store patient images, pertinent follow-up notes, and related data on a secure patient portal.
- Provide secure, code-required access to patients of record. Allow them to view, comment, and chat about their case virtually.
- Monitor your online patient portal for updates and incoming patient information or communication.
Virtual dental care gives your patient one more opportunity to access your expertise and services. Not all will choose it or be comfortable in the environment.
But user-preference is on the rise!
Check out these resources for more insight into the optimism around teledentistry and its impact on your patient relationships:
It’s Time for Teledentistry Adoption Inside and Outside the Pandemic Context
Why Teledentistry is a Here-to-Stay as a Sustainable Service
Looking for a dedicated, secure, full-capacity teledentistry platform?
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.
- Teledentix provides an easy-to-use video conferencing tool that’s secure, HIPAA compliant, and specific to dentistry.
- Teledentix Basic is a perfect starting point. Begin with a free trial and then transition to a very low monthly fee. You and your patients can join unlimited video conferences including screen-share, file-share, video-share, and real-time chat communications.
LEARN MORE about the Teledentix platform.