Teledentistry is such an exciting new dental care option, and because it is a relatively new, you may wonder who can access it? What states allow Teledentistry? Are there any rules dental practices need to know? The tricky part is access to it varies depending on where you live. Laws are constantly changing though, so don’t worry if your current state doesn’t have access yet!
What States Allow Teledentistry?
This is where things get complicated but also interesting. Some states currently have strict laws with only minimal access, and some states have no laws. If your head is spinning, you are not alone.
Texas, for example, allows Teledentistry but claims you need to complete a tactile and visual examination. As you guessed, this makes it impossible. Utah, however, has incredibly flexible laws. They allow dental hygienists to treat patients without a dentist even being present. California changed their laws regarding Teledentistry as recently as 2021. They are heavily regulated and passed new laws protecting patient rights even more. Therefore, it’s important to know that Teledentistry laws are constantly being updated.
If you are interested in learning more about Teledentistry where you live, you can contact your state licensing board to inquire about laws near you. And remember, if it’s not legal yet, those laws can change any time.
How Can Your Dental Practice Use Teledentistry?
While Teledentistry has its limits, it also has many benefits. Being able to assess if an in-person appointment is needed is huge convenience and time-saver. Plus, dentists can write prescriptions to offer quick pain relief, possibly preventing a trip to the ER. Treatment recommendations and oral health hygiene advice can also be provided virtually. A cavity prevention kit can help maintain clean healthy teeth, saving even more time in the dentist’s chair. Teaching children and families about oral health and diagnosing mouth sores and infections can all be done in this simple, convenient way.
It is important to know that while Teledentistry is a different form dental service, it should be the same quality of care you would expect in a dental clinic. Patients and clinics alike should not be lowering their standards just because this is a virtual appointment.
What are the Benefits of Teledentistry?
Teledentistry can benefit everyone. Because of the flexibility with time and not needing to travel, it is a huge convenience for all patients. With COVID, it is the perfect time to expand into more virtual and safe appointments when possible. This gives more opportunities to keep in touch with oral health providers and the ability to keep everyone safe. For people with mobility issues or vulnerable populations (for example, individuals in nursing homes), this becomes critical. Even accessing rural communities becomes possible with this new technology. With the ever-expanding access to Teledentistry, it’s worth considering if your dental practice should offer this service soon.