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Using virtual dentistry to manage your oral health

If you cannot make an office visit or need a diagnosis to determine your treatment needs, virtual dentistry may be a helpful option. This new approach enables dentists to consult with patients and offer expert advice through videoconferencing software or smartphone applications.

The use of virtual dentistry tools allows dental office teams to provide personalized care and dental diagnoses when onsite visits are limited or not feasible.

What is virtual dentistry?

In virtual dentistry, a dentist uses a phone, text messages or video calls to provide a virtual consultation or dental diagnosis to address your problems and determine if you need to schedule an in-person visit. You can set up an appointment with a dental office, by phone or online, to discuss problems. Some virtual dentistry tools also allow you to receive expert advice without an appointment.

What conditions can virtual dentistry manage?

Dentists can determine through consultation whether you have an emergency dental problem and can provide instructions on how to treat conditions. If you have a cracked or chipped tooth, soft tissue lesion (bump), small cavity, jaw pain or similar non-emergency condition, a virtual dentistry consultation through phone or video may work. If you need urgent treatment, you may need to schedule an onsite visit.

4 steps to use virtual dentistry services

Check your insurance plan for details on what’s covered. Delta Dental covers virtual dentistry services, and your benefits for problem-focused exams would apply.

Once you know you need care delivered remotely, take four action steps.

  1. Contact your dental office to find out if virtual dentistry services are offered, how they are scheduled, and how appointments are set up. You can also use software or apps that allow you to receive help from dentists other than your own.
  2. Ensure that you have the technology (such as conferencing software or mobile app) for video and audio communication with your dentist.
  3. Fill out any required paperwork. This might include an intake form, patient consent and new patient form if it’s a first-time meeting.
  4. Know your rights as a patient. Educate yourself on Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines to protect your privacy and the confidentiality of your health information.

Check out Delta Dental’s virtual dentistry tools 

Delta Dental offers two virtual dentistry tools to members who want remote help with their oral health.

Toothpic

If you’re looking for a quick diagnostic report, Toothpic is a photo-based app that will get you an in-depth report from a Delta Dental dentist within 24 hours. Just use your smartphone or tablet to answer a few questions about your dental health and snap a few photos of your mouth, teeth and gums. Toothpic will connect your case to a dentist who will provide personalized treatment recommendations – all from the comfort of your home.

Delta Dental – Virtual Consult

If you have more urgent needs or you want to speak with a Delta Dental dentist in real time, Virtual Consult is a video-based tool that lets you schedule a virtual appointment. The dentist will speak to you about your needs and concerns, guide you through an exam of your mouth and can even prescribe medication if necessary.

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Published January 2021