The pandemic has impacted most, if not all, industries across the globe. With the pandemic causing lockdowns and enforcing social distancing practices, many people have felt uncomfortable going to healthcare facilities for issues that are not urgent. The Commonwealth Fund found that there was a 60% drop in visits to ambulatory care practices early in the pandemic.
To solve this issue, the healthcare industry, specifically the dental industry, has used the benefits of telehealth to reach their patients safely and successfully. This article will explore how telehealth and innovations have revolutionized the dental industry, according to Smile Prep.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is not a new phenomenon, but has been used by many more healthcare practitioners during the pandemic. Healthcare practitioners use communication technologies, such as video conferencing, to deliver health and medical services remotely. Not only is this form of healthcare safer regarding social distancing guidelines, it offers easier access to healthcare for people anywhere.
Rural communities have made use of this form of healthcare to cut costs, to avoid having to take long distance transport and possibly be exposed to the virus, and have been able to access a larger range of healthcare than they are used to.
Healthcare practitioners who make use of telehealth need to ensure that the same safeguards which are imposed during normal consultations, are also imposed during telehealth consultations. Examples of these safeguards are:
- Trust between the patient and medical practitioner. Trust over telehealth can be gained by the assurance of confidentiality, as well as by using video conferencing rather than email or text messaging apps.
- Identification. The patient and medical practitioner involved has to be identifiable. This can be achieved by using video conferencing rather than email or text messaging apps.
- Consent by the patient.
Innovations and Telehealth in the Dental Industry
To explore the innovations and the use of telehealth within the dental industry, we have consulted Smilep Prep. Smile Prep is an online media company which covers innovations using telehealth within the cosmetic branch of the dental industry.
One of Smile Prep’s main focuses is reviewing and exploring home teeth straightening services. As the name suggests, these services assist people in getting straighter teeth, and are offered by online companies.
This innovation has also been a competitor for braces. The cost of braces ranges seeing that it depends on the amount of consultations and the severity of the patients’ condition.
But in saying so, the average cost of braces ranges between $4,000 and $6,000. It is important to note that costs may be lower or higher than this estimate depending on the severity of the condition. Potential clients should also note that many insurance plans only cover the costs of braces for individuals younger than 18 years of age.
Some plans are accompanied with orthodontic benefits, but it might still not cover the entire cost of the braces. An alternative to braces is Invisalign. This product is able to treat the same issues braces can treat. The catch is that Invisalign falls within the same price range as braces.
These services leverage teledentistry to enable this treatment to proceed without dental office visits. Not only does this save money for individuals with mild conditions, but it also complies with social distancing regulations. Home straightening teeth services require no in-person visits.
This service requires the client to submit an impression kit or teeth scans of their teeth. The kit or teeth scan will then undergo analysis in order to create a digital model of the teeth. Then, specialized software will create aligners suited to the client. Smile Prep lists a range of these providers, namely SmileDirectClub, Candid, and Byte.
Telehealth has been transformative in the healthcare industry. Having changed the way many people are able to use and access cosmetic dental products, has also been a way to safely offer cosmetic dental services during the pandemic.
The innovative home straightening teeth services now offer adults with mild conditions to achieve the smile they have always desired. For more information on the process of these services, and which services are leaders in their field, explore Smile Prep for a wide range of information to answer all questions.