The 10 Most Innovative Healthcare Leaders to Watch in 2022

Inc Magazine
May 2, 2022

Maria Kunstadter: Solving Dental Problems Anywhere Anytime

With a vision to lead colleagues and the industry into a new paradigm that they know is the right care to provide, Dr. Maria Kunstadter founded The TeleDentists, which is transforming the way people treat urgent oral and dental issues. The organization’s first-to-market virtual care solution for teledentistry creates an improved way to access care, providing essential dental services 24/7/365 whenever a dentist is needed.

Installing The TeleDentists’ cloud-based SaaS service enables hospitals and urgent care facilities access to a specialist who can treat oral care level one problem at a fraction of the cost that would be incurred if treated by the ER doctor. Assuring the patient sees the right specialist for their complaint improves patient outcomes and satisfaction.

Founded by dentists with decades of private practice experience and healthcare business leaders recognized as industry telehealth pioneers, this innovative model saves patients time and money, reduces unnecessary Emergency Department visits, and provides health payers and employers a more cost-effective option.

The Perfect Storm

It was a perfect storm that drove Maria to start The TeleDentists. A perfect storm is defined as an unusual combination of events or things that produces powerful results.  When Maria learned that $2.2B healthcare dollars were spent in Emergency Rooms in 2014 where no care was rendered and no referral made, she knew something needed to be done. At a conference with physicians doing telemedicine, the wave hit her—that’s what she needed! A virtual dentist in the ER to see patients with oral health complaints. And The TeleDentists was born. The unusual combinations of market demand, the pandemic, and telehealth technologies produced a powerful result—teledentistry.

Helping Patients with Virtual Consultations

It is estimated that around 180M people will not visit a dentist’s office, in 2020 but with teledentistry—they can have access to an oral health care professional at the tip of their fingers. In a time of uncertainty and fear, The TeleDentists are ready to help. Virtual Technology empowers patients to take control of their dental health by overcoming their biggest issue. Going to the dentist! A virtual consultation by a licensed dentist is a logical first step for re-introducing patients to the importance of good dental health by having a quality, professional dental consultation all from the comfort and convenience of their desktop or mobile device.

The organization trains its dentists to deliver video consultations that connect to the patient’s computer, tablet, or smartphone. They diagnose patients’ problems and get them started on remediation, which can include an e-script for antibiotic and non-narcotic pain medication. In case of a follow-up, an appointment can be booked with an appropriate dentist, conveniently located near the patient by our Customer Services Representatives.

Getting Ready for the Challenge

Maria loves to call The Teledentists and her team the National Guard of teledentistry. With training, and well-equipped staff the organization is ready to respond to the calls. In 2020, The TeleDentists grew by 1500% in revenue!

Currently, Maria and her team’s primary goal is to put a virtual dentist anywhere/everywhere a dentist is needed.  A dentist on client’s terms, when he/she need one. The need is limitless—hospitals, retail walk-in clinics, schools, nursing homes, from the comfort of the client’s home or office and this list goes on.

Maria tributes her success to having the right people to back her up and provide the skill sets that she doesn’t have but is their area of expertise. Maria believes, without her team, nothing would have gone smoothly.

Being a key player in the change that improves access to oral health and thereby improves overall health globally drives Maria passionately. As a woman, mother, and grandmother, the work/family balance is crucial to her vision of providing care to family first, then globally.

Tackling Failures

Maria has faced many bumps in the road, but she considers those as learning opportunities rather than a failure. She also believes that if she doesn’t make the necessary responses and change when a challenge is presented, that would be a failure.

Better Healthcare is Key

Maria believes, The TeleDentists is the tool to implement Dental/Medical Integration. This is the future of healthcare. Value-based care must include oral health because a person can’t be healthy without good oral health. Everyone knows that, and The TeleDentists is the conduit to make that a reality. Maria’s goal is to have The TeleDentists in all physician’s offices, healthcare facilities, and clinics and provide a physician to all dental offices through the system. A great team that is focused on growth because it means better healthcare is key.