Teledentistry – a great opportunity during the coronavirus outbreak

Crisis can be both chances for danger and for opportunity. The ongoing Covid-19 outbreak certainly is a crisis. The outbreak was able to shut down travel, tackle social norms and truly affected the dental industry.

Most states and their governors issues an order which require people to stay home or at their place of residence. Of course exceptions are for those that need to maintain the continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.

With these new regulations, that seriously impact the work and living of dentists, ADA (American Dental Association) provided its own guidelines.

The Covid-19 situation really has the dental industry between rock and hard place. Dentists aren’t able to see patients as they are sued to, but there are some other alternative we at Premiere Family Dental are implementing – called teledentistry.

The world is full of various medical support systems. You have telemedicine, telepsychiatry…so it’s only natural that you have teledentistry. Through teledentistry we can’t do all the dental procedures like root canals, tooth extraction etc. but we can offer preliminary exams by visual sight. Think of this as a limited examination, like triage which can help you diagnose abscesses and prescribe treatment in form of antibiotics or analgesics.

Most importantly, we cannot forget that we are doctors. It’s our duty and responsibility to care for our patients and to our part in preventing the overcrowding of emergency rooms with dental issues. The emergency rooms now should be focused on Covid-19 patients and by providing teledentistry services, we could ease the workload of our fellow doctors that are on the front line for battling this virus. As medical professionals, it’s our job to help our patients with their oral needs, until the bans get lifter and the sense of normalcy returns.

In 2017, ADA has approved two new dental codes, D9995 and D9996 which will inform the third-party payer that the examination was done through teledental technology. The first represents synchronous and the second asynchronous modalities.

The synchronous modality (D9995) represents real time interaction between a patient and the doctor. The second, the asynchronous modality (D9996) is used to transfer diagnostic information to another dentist remotely for diagnosis. One of these two codes should be submitted with the codes you submit regularly.

With teledentistry, we can do our part in helping or patients when the society is in bad shape. Who knows, maybe with the help of teledentistry, we will be able to save someone the trouble of going to the emergency room and fee up an emergency bed.

If you have any questions or concerns about your dental health, please don’t hesitate to contact us or to schedule a teledentistry call.

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