Teledentistry Use Gains Traction During COVID-19

With most providers open for comprehensive dental services, telehealth has become a path to provide safe, efficient and accessible dental care during the pandemic. A new report from the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement — based on findings from a survey of 2,767 providers — highlights the continued value of telehealth and its opportunity to provide additional revenue while enhancing dental care access for current and new patients.

Providers who experienced financial disruption and expect long-term changes to dental practice from COVID-19 were more likely to use telehealth, according to the report. For many providers, it has been a helpful tool to adapt to new and uncertain environments.

Some key findings from the report:

  • 34% of providers see patients via telehealth platforms or plan to use it in the near future
  • 75% of providers who use telehealth services expect telehealth encounter volume to increase or stay the same during the next 12 months
  • Public health providers are more likely (44%) to use telehealth than all other practice types (21%)
  • 60% of providers are using telephone calls and 42% of providers are using free virtual meeting software for telehealth encounters

The report also includes a breakdown of teledentistry usage by type and state, financial considerations and opportunities for growth.

When the Partnership published a similar study in June, many dental offices were closed or greatly restricted in the care provided. That study revealed that 27% of providers were seeing patients via telehealth and 13% planned to do so in the near future. Fast forward several months and the continued use of telehealth shows it has “staying power” in dentistry.

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