The Value of Teledentistry to the Direct-to-Consumer Dental Product and Service Industry

10.27.2021
| 8 min read

There are reasons for the rise in direct-to-consumer (DTC) products. The trend’s relationship to dentistry has gained traction - most is favorable with a few cautions.

Teledentistry could help change the negative perceptions. And at the same time teledentistry can provide an essential connection for direct-to-consumer dental services marketing their products to dental professionals.

Clearing the “air”

First, we’re not advocating DIY dentistry. But as teledentistry advocates we are positioned to support DTC companies that provide dental products and prescriptions that deliver legitimate, proven health benefits to the public under the supervision and guidance of a licensed dental provider.

DIY dentistry is a whole other topic. And to be clear the ADA (American Dental Association) has strong policy guidance on the topic - specific to some orthodontic products.

The ADA…

”…strongly discourages the practice of direct to consumer (DTC) dental laboratory services because of the potential for irreversible harm to patients.” [1]

Their position emphasizes the “self-directed” application of DIY products such as those for orthodontic purposes. They confirm the necessary expertise of a “dentist-provider” in their “Statement on Prosthetic and Appliance Care and Dental Laboratories.”

”…the dentist-provider is ultimately responsible for the patient's care, the Association believes that he or she is the only individual qualified to accept responsibility for prosthetic care." Dentists are responsible for all aspects of the manufacture of prosthetic devices through ordering or prescribing the prosthetic device, receiving the notifications of materials and country of origin, and delivering prosthetics to patients.” [2]

To clarify, teledentistry (as supported by us) provides an alternative platform for dentists to diagnose, consult, and treatment plan for patient care.

So, what does that have to do with DTC products and services?

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Teledentistry serves a bigger (and better) purpose for dental DTC services

The ADA recognizes teledentistry’s usefulness. They affirm “…the use of telehealth systems and methodologies in dentistry.” [3]

Their expanded statement about telehealth helps confirm its value as a care solution that dentists and DTC companies can trust.

”Telehealth refers to a broad variety of technologies and tactics to deliver virtual medical, health, and education services. Telehealth is not a specific service, but a collection of means to enhance care and education delivery.” [4]

As we’ve mentioned numerous times, it’s recommended that dentists check their state’s regulations about providing teledentistry.

Innovative solutions for DTC products and services can follow a “green-light” from a state’s government and dental board.

Dental DTC companies taking notice of a teledentistry solution could include:

  • Denture services
  • Clear orthodontic aligner products
  • Prescription based products such as prescription tooth paste, dry mouth prescriptions, etc.

The factor common to teledentistry’s relationships with DTC companies (unlike DIY products) is - ADA approved real-time consultation, diagnosis, and treatment monitoring.

Teledentistry provides a convenient, time-saving solution for interfacing with a dental provider with the understanding and likelihood that in-person visits will be necessary as well.

How teledentistry connects DTC products and services to trusted dental expertise

Teledentistry provides the professional element that direct-to-consumer products and services can benefit from.

  • Direct oversight by an educated, trained, licensed, and experienced dental provider.
  • Safe, convenient access to product and service benefits and results under a dentist’s supervision.

Teledentistry provides real-time diagnostic consultations and follow-up on a dedicated, secure platform

  • Patients can apply a DTC product or service to their dental need with professional dental supervision.
  • Patients can ask questions, seek additional support, and receive follow-up care.

Teledentistry enables access to product, service, and/or treatment related images and scans

Mobile technology gives dentists or trained clinical team members the opportunity for remote scans, image capture, and at-home impression kits. Direct and follow-up supervision gives the patient step-by-step support as they interact with the product or service.

Teledentistry allows patients time-saving and convenient “control” over their healthcare decisions

The virtual-visit environment provides patients the opportunity to select dental products, services, and treatment guided by dentist-providers.

  • Scheduling and appointments
  • Online communication about treatment, products, and services
  • Educational support for improving their oral health

Remember, teledentistry is about connections.

  • It’s proven to connect dentists with patients

And…

  • It has the capacity to connect preferred direct-to-consumer products and services to patients guided by the support of licensed dentists.

Check out these resources for a deeper-dive into expanded patient care using teledentistry and mobile dental solutions:

Teledentistry for Oral Surgeons

Can Orthodontists Use Teledentistry?

Using Teledentistry with Invisalign®

A teledentistry solution that serves the direct-to-consumer dental product and service companies

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

LEARN MORE about the Teledentix platform.

 

[1]                https://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/dtc-dentistry

[2]                https://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-positions-policies-and-statements/dtc-dentistry

[3]                https://blog.teledentix.com/can-orthodontists-use-teledentistry

[4]                https://blog.teledentix.com/can-orthodontists-use-teledentistry

 

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