House calls used to be a fairly standard part of the medical practice. While not utterly unheard of, they’re certainly more of a rarity today. Rare, that is until the world changed with the arrival of the pandemic. While a house call no longer involves the doctor physically visiting your home, the rise of telehealth is taking the term a bit more literally. Modern communication technology has combined with new medical practices to make receiving dental care something you can do from home. Perhaps even more unbelievable, it’s even available for orthodontic care now!
From Office Visits To Teledentistry
Telehealth isn’t a new concept. Since the introduction of the telephone, it’s been an important part of how people connect with their physicians. Most hospitals maintain an on-staff nurse you can call and do an initial triage with to determine if an ER visit is necessary. During normal business hours, you can call many providers to find out how urgent your care needs are. Teledentistry is an area of telehealth that has been receiving more attention. A world of social distancing, masks, and limiting our time outside has made remote access care even more important.
Teleorthodontics is one aspect of our dental care that seemed unlikely to be performed remotely. Innovation has made it necessary to change this way of thinking. Today it’s possible to receive an examination over video chat and follow-up after the procedure without having to head to the office. This is really just the beginning; there are a growing number of treatments you can receive without ever having to see the dentist in person.
The following changes are making teledentistry more accessible:
- High-speed internet is available in more places
- Personal digital devices being increasingly available
- High-quality video technology
- Increased acceptance of telehealth by insurance providers
The need for physical observations, imaging, and physical impressions to guide orthodontic care has made teleorthodontics difficult to achieve. Recently studies show there have been a growing number of treatments available remotely. Some offices offer digital scanning using specialized communications platforms for dental care. Consultations can be held by video, and at-home dental impression kits make getting orthodontic appliances made possible as well. This kit will be mailed to your provider, then to the dental lab, with the final aligners being sent to you via mail.
Complex treatments will still require a visit to the orthodontist’s office, at least for now. Ongoing technological change means that new treatments can be performed remotely every year. Even now, you can get your initial consultation via video phone, perform your necessary follow-ups after a procedure, and check-in as your treatment continues.
Discovering Your Teledentistry Options
Contact your dental provider to find out if they offer teleorthodontic services. The range of remote services being offered grows every day. You may discover that the majority of your care can be performed without ever dropping into the office. The day may be coming when you can find a doctor anywhere in the world to provide the kind of care you need, no matter where you are.