Dental pain does not have a schedule

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. Typical dental office hours are Monday through Thursday, 9-5. But everyone knows dental pain does not have set hours. So, what do you do when you have a dental emergency in the middle of the night? The American Dental Association documents over two million annual ED visits in the US for nontraumatic dental problems. However, Hospital Emergency Department (ED) dental visits are significant, costly public health problem. Furthermore, EDs not equipped or staffed to provide definitive dental solutions; the patient’s symptoms might be treated, but problems not resolved. Finally, the answer is here: The TeleDentists. Much like any other specialty using tele-medicine, dentists are now able to 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 training/education for patients and staff. People in need of support can consult with their dentist online and get the benefits of the right specialist so their care will be specific to their medical/dental needs. Oral disease is considered a silent epidemic worldwide and The TeleDentists is doing everything they can to alleviate this crisis. Here’s how it works:Dentist diagnoses the patient’s problem using advanced virtual care technologyDentist provides e-script for antibiotic and/or non-narcotic pain medication.Dentist arranges follow-on care as needed The TeleDentists, the first national provider of teledentistry, is now offering teledentistry for your dental practice! By utilizing this new technology, our office is enhancing patient access to dental care and pain relief. We can eliminate guesswork as to what is happening in a dental emergency, thereby avoiding unnecessary trips to the office, and more importantly, ED or Urgent Care clinics. Finally, we are able to improve your oral health by providing virtual dental consults at any time, for any situation. This innovative model of teledentistry saves patients time and money by providing expanded access to your dentists.

The TeleDentists in Senior Living Homes​

The world's older population continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. Today, 8.5 percent of people worldwide (617 million) are aged 65 and over. With the joys of aging come the development chronic conditions that need to be monitored, including oral health. In the elderly, the most common oral diseases are periodontal disease and dental caries; oral lesions and xerostomia are also very common oral conditions among the elderly. In senior living centers, there is a common lack of oral hygiene, which expediates these conditions, leaving our senior population susceptible to pain and inevitably tooth loss. In order to combat this silent epidemic, The TeleDentists has partnered with SalivaMAX to provide teledentistry and relief to xerostomia and other oral health conditions. The TeleDentists® offer “the first of its kind” virtual dental service. A national network of licensed dentists utilizes a variety of virtual tools (smart phones, tablets, laptops) to assist in diagnosing, remediate and, when needed, arrange local dental appointments the next business day. In senior living centers, for example, if a patient is complaining of dental pain, they can have a virtual dental consult with The TeleDentists, without leaving their home. The dentist can then prescribe medication if necessary, to help palliate the patient, and find an appointment for them at a convenient location near them. This prevents multiple trips to doctors’ offices, which can be very taxing on the elderly and their caretakers. It also reduces costs by limiting the number of visits to the professionals’ office. Xerostomia (dry mouth) is one of the most common dental condition that presents in routine dental examinations.  There are over 50 million patients in the United States that experience dry mouth with 17 and 29% being older adults. Xerostomia often occurs with other oral conditions such as idiopathic dysesthesia (stomatalgia or "burning mouth syndrome"), parageusia, dysphagia, halitosis, caries, and periodontal disease. There are over 1,100 medications that can cause dry mouth as well as many diseases that cause patients to develop dry mouth, like diabetes and hypertension. The development of dry mouth in these patients can cause serious complications in the oral cavity. In order to combat the combining factors of an aging population and a disease that targets this age group, The TeleDentists and SalivaMAX have partnered. SalivaMAX is an FDA approved medication that is used to treat dry mouth and throat. The TeleDentists’ ability to expand dental access to senior living centers gives these patients the chance to discuss their dry mouth with a dental provider. The dentist can then provide the patient with a prescription for SalivaMAX. This partnership works not only treat a condition, but to extend dental care to a population who needs it most.  For more information on The TeleDentists, please contact Leah Sigler, Director of Operations: leahs@theteledentists.com For more information on how to enroll your Senior Living Center, contact Howard Reis, CEO: howardr@theteledentists.com 

E-prescribing—The Good, The Bad and The Future.​

​Don’t even try to fight it. Since 2010, most healthcare systems in the world started plodding towards e-prescriptions as the standard format for doctors and dentists to transmit medicine dispensing information to pharmacists. Some countries jumped in early—Eastonia almost completely relying on e-prescribing in 2013—while others are still pounding out the legalities. The reasoning is simple: By requiring all prescriptions to be dispensed via a secure electronic system, lives will be saved and patient healthcare improved. As teledentistry increases in use, more patients will turn to the Internet to find online dental help and e-prescriptions expedites the healthcare process. It should be that easy. Unfortunately, reality is a bit more complicated. Why are e-prescriptions considered safer than those little scribbled notes? Proponents point to the scribbles; misreading illegible writing has resulted in thousands of lives effected each year  by pharmaceutical errors. By providing clearly readable and properly documented orders, pharmacists can better deliver needed medicine to patients. No more dosing errors. No more ambiguous orders. Also, as e-prescriptions are sent directly to pharmacies, they are less likely to be lost or disregarded by patients. This means that more patients are more likely to follow their doctors’ orders.   E-prescriptions are also credited with helping fight opioid abuse. An estimated 90 Americans die each day due to opioid overdose. Dentists prescribe roughly 12% of fast-acting pain relief prescriptions, making dental care providers particularly targeted by opioid abuse. A secure prescriber-to-dispenser system prevents forgery or alteration. An added bonus is that the FDA and the DEA can more easily track controlled substances. And when a drug recall is issued, electronic records make informing at-risk patients far easier than dealing with a paper-based prescription system. Of course, insurance providers can more readily verify drug claims. And then there is the future. In 2001, the world marveled over the first true example of remote surgery. Now, drones are delivering emergency pharmaceutical supplies to otherwise inaccessible locations. Every day, rural areas and isolated communities are proving the value of telemedicine and teledentistry. As more and more people go online for dental diagnosis and care, a rise in e-prescribing must necessarily follow. With all those positives, why is the practice of e-prescribing so scrutinized? Technology isn’t infallible. While e-prescribing looks easy, a busy physician or dentist can check the wrong drop-down item. A pharmacist can make a mistake entering data onto a label or transferring information into the pharmacy’s system. Human error will always happen.Data is at potential risk. No matter how big the company or how much security is woven into the fabric, personal information can be hacked and sold. Within days of Disney launching its streaming service, subscriber data was being sold on the dark web. Unlike entertainment service, e-prescribing involves extremely private and personal information. To compound the issue, many countries are working to intertwine prescription information to the complete electronic medical history of patients. And every step involved in the process is one more chink in the file’s security. E-prescribing systems allow practitioners to let their assistants complete and send orders to pharmacies. A virtual dentist can perform an online dental examination, make a dental diagnosis then have his office manager send the online prescription. A manager—as invaluable as he or she is to a practice—is less likely to spot potential drug interactions or dosage issues. Being an online and on demand dentist means that you need to save time. Yes, auto-fills help expedite writing a prescription, but this one simple high-tech time saver can mean that a prescription needs to be discarded and redone. It also can mean that a pharmacist gets two prescriptions—the discarded one as well as the redone version. Or it could mean that neither is sent. Auto-fills and auto-correct may not seem like a big issue, but this aspect of e-prescription systems is responsible for a significant number of errors.  The world is evolving. Scientists on a remote island can have gum disease diagnosed online. A virtual dentist can provide online dental examinations then prescribe necessary medications by the simple stroke of the “enter” key. Then a drone can deliver the medication right to the patient’s home. Yes, technology is amazing. Until it isn’t. A responsible teledentist must keep up with the flow of this high-tech environment. But what makes a professional truly a professional is his or her attention to getting details right. That includes developing methods to double-check e-prescriptions and confirming that your patient has received the medication. Consider implementing regular follow-up calls for patients on medication. Consider a weekly spot-check; randomly select a few patients from the schedule and compare their records to the e-prescriptions. Remain vigilant. Your patients deserve your best. SOURCES: https://www.drfirst.com/resources/blog/top-10-reasons-dentists-e-prescribe/https://aclm.memberclicks.net/assets/docs/Richard-Hanover-2.pdf https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/healthcare-information-technology/25-things-to-know-about-e-prescribing.htmlhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5741025/https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/drones-used-deliver-drugs-saltspring-london-drugs-drone-1.5264178

What is Teledentistry—And How Does it Fit into Telehealth?​

Posted November 22, 2019 /By anne / In Telemedicine News Telehealth is the buzz-word describing this new era of professional healthcare delivery.  With this shift toward telehealth and virtual care, as well as studies pointing to the importance of including oral health into primary care, the conversation has increasingly included teledentistry and virtual dental care. Like telemedicine, teledentistry is a term that’s sometimes used synonymously with telehealth or telemedicine — but they’re not the same thing. Teledentistry is actually a component of telehealth, which is a broader term encompassing the entirety of remote and/or technology-driven healthcare. What is Telehealth? Telehealth includes various telemedicine systems, health care tools, and modes of care delivery that allow the delivery of health education or services from a distance, such as:   live video chat (synchronous) store-and-forward (asynchronous) transmission of radiographs, photographs, video, digital impressions through a secure electronic communications system to a practitioner. This information is then used to diagnose or provide a service. remote patient monitoring (RPM) — collecting personal health and medical data from a single individual via electronic medical device technologies. The data is transmitted to a different location (sometimes via a data processing service) where the provider can access it for monitoring conditions and supporting care delivery. mobile health (mHealth) — health care education, practice and delivery done over mobile communication devices such as cell phones, tablet computers, and personal digital assistants (PDA). What is Teledentistry? Teledental health is a very broad category of solutions that service patients oral health at a distance by doing it remotely.  People who do not have a dentist, lack access to a dentist or live far from a dental office can be helped with this level of care – via telephone or videoconferencing capability or other means mentioned above.  It’s the idea that these technologies can be leveraged to improve access to care, gather and exchange information with a licensed dentist, to provide and support dental care delivery, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, transfer of dental information and education. Defining Teledentistry Telemedicine refers to the “virtual visits” that take place between patients and clinicians via communications technology — the video and audio connectivity that allows “virtual” meetings to occur in real time, from virtually any location.A teledental visit can be a videoconference between a dentist and a patient regarding an urgent dental or oral health problem, and it can also give patients improved access to information about the importance of oral health. With evolving technology, urgent oral or dental issues can be remediated – helping people to avoid expensive, time-consuming visits to the hospital Emergency Room or urgent care clinic by scheduling them at a dental care facility the next day.  Is There A Teledentistry Market? At a recent Telehealth Secrets conference, President and CEO of The TeleDentists, Maria Kunstadter, DDS talks about the “perfect storm” that has been brewing to create a hot teledentistry market. Dr. Kunstadter explained, “Currently there is a huge gap in our system for dental help.  Last year, 39% of the population did not see a dentist. For most people, it takes an average of 3 years for them to go into a dental appointment. That’s about 125 million people today who need dental help.”  Because of this gap, many of them go to the ER for care so 4% of emergency room visits – that is 5.5 million visits were for oral related conditions. In 2015, the American Dental Association reported that about 1.7 billion dollars was spent in ERs on toothache codes alone, where no treatment is done and then patients are on their own to find a dentist afterwards. Statistically, 20% of the time those patients will wind up back in the ER for another expensive visit because they never had a dental visit.  Further research shows that we can reduce the cost of health care by 17% by simply integrating oral health. There have also been calls for integrating oral health into primary care by the Surgeon General, the Academy of Pediatrics, and the Academy of Family Practitioners.  Teledentistry is in the perfect storm to create access to the oral health gaps in the US and around the world today. Learn more by watching Dr. Kunstadter’s full talk on Teledentistry here. Consumer Demand Driving Teledentistry Adoption  Demand is also increasing for a means to avoid the expense, burden and time spent traveling to and from hospitals or urgent care clinics.  This is especially true in rural and low income urban areas struggling to attract dentists for their communities.The National Advisory Committee on Oral Health Rural has highlighted geographic isolation, lack of transportation, and acute provider shortages (60% of the nation’s Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas are in rural America) as barriers to oral health in rural areas.  Rural oral health statistics show that in 2017, 55.7% of adults living in a rural area saw a dentist versus 65.2% living in a metropolitan area.  For example, Polk County, Oregon’s dentists were booked out for months, causing patients with dental needs to have to wait for an appointment or to travel to an adjoining county for dental care. A teledentistry program bringing virtual dental care to Polk County schools was created and helped to successfully address this need remotely. Parks Associates connected health research in 2017 showed that 60 percent of U.S. households with broadband access “are interested in remote care that would take place online or by telephone.” Employee Benefit Research Institute/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey found that 40% of millennials said that a telemedicine option was “extremely or very important.” (At 83 million strong, millennials now comprise the largest segment of today’s workforce). According to Massachusetts General Hospital, 79% of patients said that scheduling a telemedicine follow-up visit was more convenient than arranging an in-person follow-up. A survey of private US health plan members found that 84 percent said that they would use video or online services if they were offered. It appears that patients are increasingly drawn to the concept of healthcare services that come to them, rather than vice versa. Telehealth is also increasingly being used as a way to address healthcare disparities including oral health. This translates into a system where it is possible to consult doctors, nurses, dentists or other healthcare professionals from home or office. This is what virtual healthcare is all about. The TeleDentists Signal a New Era of Dental Care   ”Doc, this tooth is killing me. Help!” Dentists have been conducting “teledentistry” since the telephone was invented. Now with services like The TeleDentists, it is possible to conduct virtual dental visits via telehealth for those urgent oral/dental problems 24/7/365 via video consultation — and have a next day appointment in a dental office when needed. Video consults connect the patient’s laptop, tablet or smart phone to a virtual dentist who diagnoses the patient’s problem and gets them started feeling better quickly, which may include an e-script for an antibiotic and/or non-narcotic pain medication. When follow-up care is needed, next -day appointments are booked with an appropriate dentist, conveniently located near the patient.   The TeleDentists offers several programs to the public, including: Tooth brushing monitoring program (with QR code) for sepsis prevention – studies show savings of $400 million in sepsis prevention through tooth brushingDental Second Opinions, giving patients the opportunity to consult with specialists on a proposed dental treatment. The Education Center (accessible to the public), where users can discuss products and home care with dental hygienists. Smile Survey to see how their smile scores from 1-10. For those who want to improve their score, The TeleDentists are available to give oral hygiene instructions and product recommendations. Hospitals, Urgent Care Clinics, Employers Offering Teledental Care Hospitals, urgent care centers, and employers are now implementing The TeleDentists’ cloud-based service to reduce costs and improve access to dental care.  The TeleDentists service allows Emergency Rooms and urgent care facilities to quickly access a specialist to treat these oral care level one problems at a fraction of the cost that would be incurred if treated by the ER doctor.  It allows employers to reduce lost productivity due to dental issues by providing convenient  teledentistry services right from employer on-site clinics or school medical centers. A  CDC study found that an average of 320.8 million work or school hours were lost annually for dental care. Senior living centers and skilled nursing facilities can also employ The TeleDentist services to provide dental care on site and use the approved teledentistry codes to bill Medicare and Medicaid. Interested in learning more about how The TeleDentists can bridge dental care gaps to improve your bottom line.   Contact info@TheTeleDentists.com Learn more about The TeleDentist and VSee partnership. Full press release here. Photo by Peter Kasprzyk on Unsplash​

TeleDentistry News in 2019

The technology is evolving, the rules are changing, and dental professionals need to stay on their toes. 2020 is almost here and the best way to prepare is to keep on top of teledentistry news. Virtual dentistry is expanding but needs to deal with both governmental and professional regulations. Still, the demand for online dental care is increasing and technology is making it possible. To understand the battle, you need to know what’s been going on in the wide world of teledentistry. To help you think ahead, here are some highlights from 2019. April—New Mexico. In April, Dentistrytoday.com published an ominous headline: Teledentistry Bill Vetoed in New Mexico. Bill 241 was intended to deliver much-needed online dental health care to patients spread out in New Mexico’s vast rural areas. The problem, claimed the governor’s office, was insuring a quality “standard of care” as well as failing to address the issue of out-of-state practitioners who may be operating under differing quality standards. While the American Teledentistry Association was gracious in defeat of the bill, the association stressed the state’s high rate of gum disease and the underserving of a vast swath of the population. April—New Zealand. Healthcare IT News announced teledentistry trials in the remote Northland. Mobile dental clinics will be targeting children and adolescents in areas without permanent quality dental services. Trained oral technicians will perform examinations which will be transmitted in real time to dentists. This trial will set the standard for future health care advancements to people in far-flung areas throughout the world. April—Australia. The Australian Dental Association released a statement confirming the support and expansion of teledentistry. The document was well received by both government agencies and veteran affairs representatives. The statement was amended in August and is helping to support the effort to bring dental care, diagnosis and oral health treatment to all Australia’s citizens. This statement also paves the way for insurance coverage of such services. May—India. Digital Medicine published an abstract that promoted the use of teledentistry to provide dentists on demand for underserved and undertreated people. Interestingly, the story emphasized the need for e-consultation between professionals to better advance online dental help. An everyday communication tool like e-mail can be critical to providing early treatment and diagnosis of potentially fatal oral health problems. September—Canada. Canada’s New Democratic Party became the first national political party to emphasize the need to expand health coverage to include dental services. By adding dentistry to government-funded health care services, the NDP aimed to make good oral health care available to all citizens. As provincial medical services are expanding telehealth options, the policy would add teledentistry to current services. While the NDP did not win the election in October, the issue of universal dental care has become part of the national discussion. June—Kansas City. The Business Insider published a report on the first ever online dental care service that gives control directly to the patients: Us! While TheTeledentists.com is a new market development, the idea of online dental care, diagnosis and consultation has been a natural evolution in health care delivery. October—Arkansas. Arkansas’s National Public Radio released a report about the lack of teledentistry in the state. The report bemoaned the fact that people were enthusiastically embracing mail-order orthodontics but were failing to take advantage of general oral health care options offered by online dental care providers. The director of Arkansas’s Office of Oral Health discussed the problem as one of perception, that the benefits of teledentistry required “changing the minds of providers and the public at the same time.” Yes, people need to be told what teledentistry can do for them, but, just as important, dentists need to bone up on the possibilities. October—California. In October, the California Dental Association passed more stringent laws overseeing the practice of teledentistry. While other states are also in the process of dealing with the march of technology, California’s law is a good example of the issues legislators are attempting to address, namely, insuring that teledentistry conforms to the strict professional standards that apply to brick-and-mortar practices. California’s laws come into effect January 1, 2020. November—Washington State. Perhaps the news that best represents the status of teledentistry in the U.S. comes from Washington State Dental Association. Their November blog starts out with a simple statement: “Advances in teledentistry may be key to improving access to care.”  The article discusses how improving access to professional oral health care providers can help with homelessness, drug abuse and childhood development. As with many social programs, funding is a constant issue. The WSDA story makes one fact clear: Teledentistry is the future of oral health care. Currently, people who need to talk to a dentist online are struggling to find options. Smartphone apps are allowing patients to find dentists on demand. Online services are the new frontiers of healthcare and no professional can afford to ignore the trend. In 2020, when people need to talk to a dentist, are searching for an online dental diagnosis or just want an exam, successful dentists will be there. Where will you be? SOURCES: https://www.dentistrytoday.com/news/industrynews/item/4652-teledentistry-bill-vetoed-in-new-mexico https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/teledentistry-trialled-new-zealand-s-northland-dhb  https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2019-archive/october/california-passes-law-strengthening-teledentistry-requirements https://www.ada.org.au/Dental-Professionals/Policies/Dental-Practice/6-28-Teledentistry/PS6-28-Teledentistry_11-12Apr19_Approved.aspx https://hellovide.com.au/blog-master/ada-releases-teledentistry-position-statement https://globalnews.ca/news/5918024/ndp-jagmeet-singh-dental-plan/ http://www.digitmedicine.com/article.asp?issn=2226-8561;year=2019;volume=5;issue=1;spage=6;epage=12;aulast=Arora https://www.ualrpublicradio.org/post/teledentistry-yet-be-widely-practiced-arkansas https://www.wsda.org/news/blog/2019/11/15/virtual-dentistry 

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