Kids TeledentistryCarlsbad, CA
Teledentistry for kids involves the use of electronic communication technologies, such as imaging and interactive audio, video, and data communications. Through these technologies, dentists are able to provide dental care, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, transfer of dental information, and education. In turn, patients are able to receive dental care in the comfort of their own homes, reducing the likelihood of missing school days or dental checkups.
At CarlsbaDDS Pediatric Smiles, we offer kid teledentistry for our young patients. Our team can diagnose, treat, and educate your child at home, minimizing the need for frequent dental appointments. To learn more about teledentistry or schedule an appointment, call 760-857-1102 today.
What is Kids Teledentistry?
Kids teledentistry is becoming increasingly popular, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the use of telecommunications, dentists are able to hold sessions over video, audio, or text, allowing more patients access to dental care. Although not all treatments and procedures can be done over telecommunications, many cases do not require in-person sessions.
Despite the recent popularity, it began with the 1994 U.S. Department of Defense project. The Total Dental Access Program, designed to reduce the cost of providing care for soldiers, expanded access to many others. The American TeleDentistry Association reports that about a fifth of Americans live in rural areas where they do not have easy access to dentists. Teledentistry paved the way for underprivileged individuals to attain proper oral care without physical proximity.
Benefits of Teledentistry for Kids
One of the major benefits of teledentistry for kids with our pediatric dentist is the comfort of receiving dental care at home and reducing or eliminating the amount of missed appointments and school days. It is reported that children ages 5-17 miss nearly two million school days in a single year due to dental health problems. These numbers represent those who missed school for dental appointments as well as those who stayed home because of pain related to dental problems.
Teledentistry offers numerous benefits, including:
- Preventing serious issues in the future: With more access to dental care and check-ups, the result will mean fewer serious issues down the road and a healthier mouth overall.
- Reducing intimidation or anxiety in kids: It can be a great way to introduce younger children to the idea of visiting the dentist — their first couple of visits being conducted at home and then “graduating” to an office visit.
- Increasing amount of access for underprivileged kids: Teledentistry extends services to those who might otherwise have a hard time getting it, busy parents who have difficulty scheduling their child’s appointments around jobs and other obligations, and children of underserved or low-income communities.
- Educating kids on the importance of oral health: Teledentistry aims to spread knowledge and help children understand the importance of (as well as the correct way to perform) basic oral care tasks.
Types of Teledentistry Appointments
Teledentistry encompasses a wide variety of telecommunication tools and devices such as secure email, messaging (text or online chat), VOIP phone, cell phone, audio, and video chat. In order to use teledentistry services, patients must have access to a phone or computer, whether services are through email or video. Patients can often access these services if they do not have their own devices at a library, school, or community center.
Teledentistry can be used for consultations, patient care, education delivery, examination, evaluation, and diagnosis. Common teledentistry treatments include determining whether a dental emergency requires an in-office treatment or emergency room care. Lastly, patients receiving teledentistry services are provided with prescriptions that can be printed at home or sent directly to a nearby pharmacy.
What a Teledental Consultation May Entail
Before beginning teledentistry, patients participate in a tele-consultation. This initial appointment typically takes an hour or more at a dental office but can easily be done in the comfort of their home. Patients can expect a consultation to go as follows:
Gather medical history: The dentist examines the patient's file, also requiring access to past X-rays and any mouth casts to develop a complete understanding of the patient's oral history. While oral health history is most important for teledentistry, other physical problems may impact the treatment plan prescribed by the dentist.
Learn about the current issue: We will then ask the patient for more information on the current oral issue. The patient will then disclose whether the problem occurred as a result of an accident or if there are no apparent causes for it. Patients should also relay symptoms.
Take pictures: We must see the patient's mouth to make an accurate diagnosis. We may ask the patient to take pictures of the problem from different angles and send them in. This visual representation allows the dentist to recommend the proper treatment.
Recommend treatment: We use the information to determine whether the patient should seek further care or treat the problem themselves. For emergencies, the patients are often advised to visit the dentist in person. For minor problems, We may be able to prescribe medication and treatment to alleviate the issue.
Schedule a Visit Today
Teledentistry consultations and treatments are available at our office. The CarlsbaDDS Pediatric Smiles team looks forward to treating your child and addressing their concerns over telecommunications. Call our office at 760-857-1102 to learn more or schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Kids Teledentistry
How does a teledentistry appointment work?
First, set up an initial consultation appointment with us for a video conference or phone call. The assessment and examination will be complete through discussion and photos of the patient’s mouth. From there, we are able to determine whether the patient needs to come in for any treatments and can prescribe any medications as needed prior to their in-office appointment. Lastly, we will educate the patient on proper home-care practices to help maintain healthy teeth at home.
How private are teledentistry appointments?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires any teledentistry session to include encryption and a secure cloud server. This includes audio, video, phone, and text modalities and the program through which photos are sent. It is extremely safe and private, with patient information only accessible through portals available to the dental professional in charge of the patient’s case.
How often are teledentistry appointments?
In most cases, we hold teledentistry appointments for the initial consultation as the patient does not need to be in the office for the checkup and discussion. Afterward, patients may be scheduled for teledentistry appointments based on their treatments going forward. Many treatments cannot be done over the phone or video.
Are teledentistry appointments covered by insurance?
Teledentistry appointments are just like in-office appointments and are generally covered by most insurance plans. However, not every insurance plan will include telehealth, just as they may not cover regular dental visits. We encourage patients to contact their insurance providers to fully understand what their plan entails.
What questions will a dentist ask during a teledentistry appointment?
We will ask basic preliminary questions that are typically asked during an in-office consultation visit. These questions are about the patient’s current oral health, symptoms, concerns, and previous dental work. They may also ask about family history and individual medical and dental history.
What questions should I ask my dentist during a teledentistry appointment?
Patients should ask questions about their dental concerns and any symptoms they are experiencing. They may also find it beneficial to know the dentist’s expertise in the fields they offer (i.e. cosmetics, restorations, prevention). Lastly, we suggest asking questions about the particular treatments chosen in their treatment plans.
Check out what others are saying about our Kids Teledentistry services on Yelp: Kids Teledentistry Carlsbad
CarlsbaDDS Pediatric Smiles is located at 1285 Carlsbad Village Drive Carlsbad, CA 92008.
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