CTeL Launches Oral Health Coalition

June 26, 2023

Washington, D.C. - CTeL is pleased to announce the launch of its Oral Health Coalition, which aims to promote the integration of virtual care technology in oral health. Despite being one of the pillars of healthcare, oral health has not received the policy attention it deserves. CTeL hopes to change this by educating policymakers and healthcare stakeholders on the benefits of virtual oral healthcare.

Recent advancements in digital health have allowed for the virtual examination and treatment of oral health conditions, providing access to care for millions of Americans. The American Dental Association (ADA) has issued updated guidelines to broaden the understanding and documentation of teledentistry events, including guidance and insights on two full CDT codes for synchronous and asynchronous modalities.

CTeL's Oral Health Coalition will further this momentum through agnostic education, research, and action. The coalition's goals include educating the oral healthcare community on legal and compliant telehealth practices, improving interoperability of patient records, conducting cost-benefit analysis of virtual oral healthcare, and sharing research with stakeholders on how digital oral healthcare interventions can be improved.

The coalition also aims to engage with policymakers on the importance of integrating telehealth into the oral healthcare system, educate Medicaid offices and private insurers on the benefits of increasing reimbursement coverage for patients and providers, and provide access to care through oral telehealth interventions.

"There is a strong case for the expansion of virtual oral healthcare," said Christa Natoli, CTeL’s Executive Director. "It increases access to care for patients, particularly in underserved rural and urban areas. It also saves costs by decreasing unnecessary ER visits for preventable dental emergencies and helps to alleviate the clinician shortage by directing patients to appropriate oral healthcare specialists,” explained CTeL's Advisory Board Member and founding coalition member, Dr. Maria Kunstader, DDS, CEO, The TeleDentists.

“As the need for oral care can occur anytime, day or night, having access to a dentist 24 hours a day is a vital part of taking care of your health. We're excited to be part of a coalition bringing awareness to these programs," said Becca Bean, Vice President of DialCare.

Bryan Laskin, DDS, CEO of Toothapps, said, “Oral wellness is a key component to overall systemic health. Therefore, providing connected dentistry in which virtual care is ubiquitously available opens new opportunities for access to dental care that is a necessary component to elevating everyone's care. Dental care is health care."

Trey Lawrence, JD, the Vice President and General Counsel of the American Association of Orthodontists, stated, “Teledentistry offers many opportunities for dental care providers to promote oral health by increasing access to care and lowering the cost of dental treatments. Sound public policy regarding teledentistry seeks to promote these goals while also maintaining protections for patients against compromised standards of care. CTeL’s formation of its Oral Health Coalition will advance this type of sound public policy by bringing the strength of CTeL’s telehealth community to the new, growing field of virtual oral healthcare.”

CTeL invites interested stakeholders to join the Oral Health Coalition by becoming a formal member of CTeL. For more information, please contact ChristaNatoli@ctel.org