Stress and Teledentistry

We live in unprecedented stressful times.  There is a global pandemic with no announced cure.  Unemployment in the U.S. is at historic levels.  Working parents need to supervise remote learners while trying to do their own jobs remotely.  Racial tensions have gripped the country.  Adult children with parents in nursing homes may not be able to visit.  A national election is days away with a tremendous amount of anxiety on all sides.  The list goes on. High levels of stress have been linked to a number of severe conditions, including high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, stroke, irritable bowel syndrome and a weakened immune system.  Stress can also be a major factor for dental health causing conditions like bruxism (teeth grinding) dry mouth, gum disease and TMJ/TMD. Dentists are not immune.  Studies reported in dental literature confirm that dentists are subject to a variety of stress-related physical and emotional problems. These problems included an alarmingly high incidence of cardiovascular disease, ulcers, colitis, hypertension, lower back pain, eye strain, marital disharmony, alcoholism, drug addiction, mental depression and suicide. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a new stressful event for both patients and dentists.  Going to a dental office.  Appointments are more difficult to schedule.  Patients are afraid that they will be subject to infection.  Dentists are afraid that not enough patients will visit, and their practices have suffered. The TeleDentists Can Help! There are several ways The TeleDentists can help relieve these stressful situations. Video Consults.  Patients can see a licensed dentist from the comfort of their own home within 10 minutes of clicking on a link with their computer or phone (www.theteledentists.com).  If needed, medication can be prescribed and sent to a local pharmacy. Sponsored Products.  The TeleDentists are promoting several products which can directly help a patient with specific conditions. (https://www.theteledentists.com/#Sponsored%20Ads)   Speed2Treat provides treatment for head, neck and jaw pain.  SaliPen is a leading-edge medical device which treats dry mouth naturally.MY TeleDentist gives any practice the ability to add teledentistry to their own practice offering. https://www.theteledentists.com/myteledentist.html.If you don't have a dentist, we can help you find one. We do not pretend to have solutions to all the problems which are causing stress today.  However, if those problems are leading to dental issues, we are here to help.​

In a time of uncertainty and fear, The TeleDentists are ready to help​

In a recent article by the New York Times, comedian and actor Larry David was asked what he fears most during this crisis, and he replied: “Anarchy and a potential dental emergency — and not necessarily in that order.” Fortunately for Larry David, and the millions of quarantined people throughout the United States, The TeleDentists is here to help (with dental emergencies, not anarchy). Before the Covid Crisis, on average, in The United States, six million people annually experience an urgent dental problem but lack access to a regular dentist or are unable to find a dentist who can see them quickly. The American Dental Association documents over two million annual ED visits in the US for nontraumatic dental problems. However, with the pandemic that is plaguing our world, the hospital is the LAST place anyone wants to go for dental problems. Teledentistry is quickly becoming a popular option for dentists seeking to stay open and see emergency dental patients during the coronavirus outbreak. Much like any other specialty using tele-medicine, dentists can perform video consults connecting through the patient’s laptop, tablet or smart phone to a virtual dentist. The TeleDentists deliver vital dental services virtually wherever, whenever a dentist is needed. They provide help with dental emergencies, answers to oral health issues, and education for patients. People in need of support can consult with their dentist online and get the benefits of speaking with the right specialist, and never leave their living room. Here’s how it works:·         Dentist diagnoses the patient’s problem using advanced virtual care technology·         Dentist provides e-script for antibiotic and/or non-narcotic pain medication.·         Dentist arranges follow-on care as needed (emergency only) The TeleDentists service was founded by Maria Kunstadter, DDS. It offers dentists a HIPAA-compliant teledentistry method to (1) stay connected with their current patients of record and (2) connect with new patients seeking a dentist. How The TeleDentists Service Works during the Covid19 Crisis: Patients do not want to visit their dentists as most offices have closed or are only seeing emergency patients.  Patients can no longer go the Emergency Room for dental pain as they are standing on long lines or getting turns away.  Yet, patients are still getting toothaches.  Many are finding The TeleDentists at  www.theteledentists.com where they can see a dentist, usually within 10 minutes, who can remediate the problem, get a prescription sent to a local pharmacy, and get information about local dentists whose offices are open for emergencies.  Many dentists had to close their offices in compliance with the American Dental Association recommendations. In response, The TeleDentists is offering use of their system for dental offices to stay in touch with their patients. The My TeleDentist Program employs virtual technology in dental offices to provide teledental services to existing and new patients. Dentists nation-wide have found The TeleDentists to be able to remotely provide service to their own patients, or patients of The TeleDentists.  The number one reason patients like teledentistry is because it lets them know if their current dental problem is serious. Many teledentistry calls are about toothaches, pain, swelling, cracked teeth, chipped teeth, loose teeth, abscesses, cold sores, filling fell out, temporary crown came off, broken denture, etc. Parents often use teledentistry to ask questions about their children’s teeth and whether something is normal. Current patients of record who use clear aligners like teledentistry because the general dentist or orthodontist can determine whether the patient is ready for his or her next set of aligners and simply mail them out. Teledentistry eliminates the need for unnecessary exposure during this coronavirus outbreak, while still providing dental expertise. And it gives dentists a way to stay in touch with their current patients during this challenging time. It also gives the dentist the opportunity to triage dental emergency calls and determine how many members of the dental team will be needed to treat the patient in-office. The TeleDentists is HIPAA-compliant and includes the protocols needed to gather the patient’s data so it can be submitted to insurance companies for reimbursement. “Many of the carriers have relaxed their in-person requirement for the limited evaluation,” said Teresa Duncan, author of Moving Your Patients to Yes: Easy Insurance Conversations. “This is an unprecedented situation and carriers are being more flexible.” The TeleDentists offers a direct-to-consumer option for $59, and has recently partnered with Cigna and Anthem insurance companies to provide teledental care to their customers.  “At the end of the day, you want to provide dental care,” said co-founder Dr. Maria Kunstadter. “By staying in close contact with your patients and helping them when they really need it, you’ll be on a good footing when you reopen. You’ll be able to schedule those people and say let’s get that fixed now.” Furthermore, keeping patients in the dental office and not in the emergency room is vital right now. “Who would want to go into the emergency room with a toothache and come out with a virus?” asked Dr. Kunstadter. “It’s critical that we help them get the care they need. They should be calling a dentist.” Is this the turning point we hoped for which will put teledentistry on the map? We at The TeleDentists are amazed and humbled by the response from healthcare workers and support staff around the country and are hoping to do our part.  We pray that readers of this blog and their families are healthy and safe.  We’re all in this together. For more information on The TeleDentists, please visit:  https://www.theteledentists.com/ Sources:https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/president-trump-expands-telehealth-benefits-medicare-beneficiaries-during-covid-19-outbreak https://mhealthintelligence.com/news/feds-ok-interstate-licensing-paving-way-for-telehealth-expansion https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2020-archive/march/ada-recommending-dentists-postpone-elective-procedures​

A New Dimension for Telehealth > E-Commerce​

Telemedicine has been with us for sixty years.(1) The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 has brought this capability to the forefront as it is now an accepted component for the delivery of healthcare expertise.

Would You Recommend the TeleDentists to a Friend or Family Member?​

Howard Reis, CEO, The TeleDentists The TeleDentists stepped up during the Coronavirus pandemic providing an important service during a time of critical patient need.  Dental offices closed, but patients continued to get toothaches. Patients found relief by looking for solutions on the Internet or were guided to our site by two major insurance companies, Cigna and Anthem. For most patients, this was their first experience with teledentistry, in fact it was their first experience with telehealth of any kind.  We had promised our partners that we would be able to see patients in 10 minutes or less and we met that metric 99% of the time.  But we also wanted to make sure our patients were satisfied with the experience.  So, we asked them. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm's by asking a single question.  According to the June/July 2020 issue of Fortune Magazine, it is a tool which is used by 2/3 of the Fortune 1000 companies.  But it can be easily used by small companies such as ours.  The question we asked, “Would you refer a friend or family member to The TeleDentist service?”Patients were asked to rate us from 0 (not very likely) to 10 (very likely).  Results can range from -100 to +100. Our results were “off the charts” positive as we scored an 82. Companies are usually compared to others in their field, and below is a chart of average NPS by industry with a range of 27 to 71.   This article from 2017 says that the average NPS for dental providers is “1”. https://www.dentistryiq.com/practice-management/patient-relationships/article/16365771/survey-says-dental-patients-are-dissatisfied-solving-the-patient-experience-problem This article says that Teledoc has an average NPS of “9” and that we even beat the very highest ranked companies, Costco and Starbucks. https://customer.guru/net-promoter-score/teladoc-inc Many companies, when reviewing the results of their first NPS survey are in a position off asking themselves, “How can we do better?”.  We, the TeleDentists are in the fortunate position of asking, “How do we keep doing what we’re doing?”.  We are very conscious of the fact that the results are largely a factor of the ability of a qualified dentist to provide expert relief at the time of patient need.  Delivering a service which is valued by its customers is one way that a small company becomes a larger one.​

2500 Reasons to Use TeleDentistry​

The Coronavirus crisis has been a defining event for the telehealth industry, and teledentistry is no exception. The TeleDentists had the team and infrastructure in place to respond to the tremendous spike in demand.  During the recent lockdown, relief has been provided to well over 2500 patients, each of whom had their own reason to seek teledentistry support. We asked our TeleDentists for some patient experiences to share. Here are some of their most memorable moments with The TeleDentists: Dr. L: Diagnosing a mucous cyst, also known as a mucocele on a nine-year-old boy.Dr. B: Mom in China with a 2-year-old...that was a cool one...2 year old child fell and broke a tooth... gave some guidance half a world away. Sr. S: I had a memorable patient who was experiencing coronavirus symptoms: dry coughing, fever, breathing difficulty, chills and loss of taste and smell and was waiting to get the test results. At the same time all this was happening, the patient woke up with a swelling in the face from a tooth problem.  The patient was in a lot of pain and very concerned about being not allowed to go to the dentist or even to the ER... the patient didn't know what to do... Until the patient found The Teledentists. After reviewing the medical history and current symptoms, I prescribed a non-Azithromycin antibiotic, just in case the patient may need it later along with pain meds. It was confirmed someone else could pick up the medications since the patient was not allowed to leave home unless severe Covid-19 symptoms were occurring. Patient Testimonial: I was starting to feel slight tooth pain in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to lockdown restrictions, dentist would only see emergency cases, which I did not qualify for. However, as the pain started to increase, I got increasingly worried and didn't know who to turn to get it checked out. A friend told me about The TeleDentist, and I immediately gave it a try. Within minutes, I could set up a video appointment with a knowledgeable dentist who took the time to understand my problem. He was very aware of the contact restrictions and suggested that my pain most likely comes from a widened gap between two teeth, between which food gets caught, a topic which I could safely deal with after the restrictions are lifted. This feedback gave me a great peace of mind I don't know I could have found anywhere else! What are the demographics of our patients? Geography: The states with the largest number of exams were California, New York and Florida, with patients coming from 49 states (plus Puerto Rico). On a per capita basis, the most active state is New Jersey.  We suspect that we would have seen more patients from Texas, except for the fact that Texas is the ONLY state where dentists are not allowed to practice teledentistry. Age: We always suspected that millennials would be the age group most attracted to teledentistry and the data bears this out as 48.8 % of our patients were born between 1980 and 1994,  The youngest patient was two years old and the oldest patient was 96! 57% of patients have been female. What are the reasons for a TeleDental consult? Out of the thousands of consults performed, the most common is a general complaint of “Pain” (40%). Following closely is the concern of “broken teeth” (33%). Lastly, “swelling” (10%) and “abscesses” (10%) are common conditions.  The TeleDentists does receive the occasional call for help with TMJ or pediatric issues.  The future As we return for the office, there will be plenty of reasons for continuing to use teledentistry.  For the dentist to screen their patients and prioritize the most important cases.  For the patient to meet their dentist face-to-face rather than seeing them for the first time behind a mask.  More and more, teledentistry becomes part of the new normal practice of dentistry.​Article by Howard Reis, CEO, The TeleDentists

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