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The cloud-based service connects patients with a virtual dentist who can diagnose problems and prescribe medication.
Pioneering new dimensions in virtual care designed to improve oral health, enhance patient access to dental care and support dental practices nationwide, The TeleDentists launched virtual dentist visits for urgent oral/dental problems 24/7/365 as well as face-to-face, next-day appointments when needed. Video consults connect the patient’s laptop, tablet or smartphone to a virtual dentist who diagnoses the patient’s problem and gets him or her started on remediation, which may include an e-script for an antibiotic and/or non-narcotic pain medication. When follow-up care is needed, next-day appointments are booked with an appropriate dentist, conveniently located near the patient.
Maria Kunstadter, DDS, co-founder of The TeleDentists and a member of the American Telemedicine Association. who has been in practice for more than 35 years, says, “We are solving an unmet market need. Nearly 6 million people annually experience an urgent dental problem and lack access to a regular dentist or are unable to find a dentist who can see them quickly.”
Emergency department (ED) dental visits are a significant, costly public health problem. A study documents more than 2 million annual emergency department (ED) visits in the United States for nontraumatic dental problems. ED dental visits have increased over the past decade, without a commensurate increase in on-site solutions. ED management of dental problems consists primarily of pain management with analgesics and infection management with antibiotics. EDs aren't equipped to provide definitive dental solutions.
Michael Sigler, DDS, co-founder of The TeleDentists and a member of the American Dental Association, says, “Forty percent of Americans haven’t visited a dentist within the last three years and neglect oral care, which should be a primary focus of good healthcare. Individuals with urgent dental problems go to hospital ERs or urgent care clinics, which lack dental/oral care knowledge. Patients get a narcotic pain pill and are told to find a dentist. Symptoms are addressed, but their problem is not resolved.”
This service is said to also benefit employers, plan sponsors and insurers by avoiding unnecessary, expensive ER visits and closing the gap in care coverage for groups with high-deductible health plans or those with no dental insurance.
Gary Wald, CEO of The TeleDentists and a co-founder of Teladoc in 2004, adds, “Our solution gets patients the immediate help they need, saving time and money while delivering pain relief, speedy access to a dentist and information about the importance of oral health.”
Installing The TeleDentists’ cloud-based service enables hospitals and urgent care facilities access to a specialist who can treat oral care level one problems at a fraction of the cost that would be incurred if treated by the ER doctor.
“We are currently collaborating with health systems, leading virtual care companies, sellers and resellers of telemedicine services serving insurance payers, self-insured entities, senior living centers, colleges and universities that value this level of patient care,” Wald says. “As we expand our corporate footprint, we welcome new customers, strategic partners and additional investors.”