Teledentistry is such an exciting new area, and because it is a relatively new technology, you may wonder who can access it? Is it available to everyone? Are there any rules around it? The tricky part is access to it varies depending on where you live. Laws are constantly changing though, so don’t worry if your current state doesn’t have access yet!
What States Have What Laws?
This is where things get complicated, but also interesting. Some States currently have really strict laws with only minimal access, and some States have no laws. If your head is spinning, you are not alone.
Texas for example allows teledentistry but claims you need to complete a tactile and visual examination. As you guessed it, this makes it impossible. So while they have made it illegal, they have made it impossible. Utah, however, has incredibly flexible laws. For instance, they allow dental hygienists to treat patients without a dentist even being there. Patients need to understand how these regulations affect the care they receive. California changed their laws regarding teledentistry as recently as this year. They are heavily regulated and passed new laws protecting patient rights even more. Therefore, it’s important to know laws are constantly being updated and updated quickly.
If you are interested in learning more about teledentistry where you live, you can contact your state licensing board to inquire about laws near you! And remember, if it’s not legal yet, those laws can change any time.
How Can You Use It?
While teledentistry has its limits it also has many beneficial uses. Being able to assess if an in person appointment is needed is huge convenience and time saver. As well as writing prescriptions in order to offer quick pain relief to avoid going to the emergency department. Treatment recommendations can also be done virtually, as well as suggestions for oral health hygiene. This cavity prevention kit can help maintain clean healthy teeth saving more time in the dentist’s chair. Teaching children and families about oral health and diagnosing mouth sores and infections can all be done in this simple convenient way.
It is important to know that while teledentistry is a different care being provided, it should be the same quality of care you would expect in a clinic. Patients and clinics alike should not be lowering their standards just because this is a virtual appointment. Everyone should be happy with the experience.
Who Can Benefit From Teledentistry?
Teledentistry can benefit everyone. Because of the flexibility with time and lack of need to travel, it is a huge convenience for all patients. With COVID, it is the perfect time to expand into more virtual and safe appointments when possible. This gives more opportunities to keep in touch with oral health providers and the ability to keep everyone safe! For people with mobility issues, or vulnerable people for example in nursing homes, this becomes a life line. The risks are so high right now, and this offers safety and communication. Even accessing rural communities becomes possible with this new technology. With the ever-expanding access to teledentistry, keep an eye for your dentist offering this service soon!
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