[Skip to Content]

Teledentistry

photo of woman looking at x-rays on a screen

This collection of selected resources offers high-quality information about teledentistry. Use the tools below for further searching, or contact us for personalized assistance.

Key Facts

  Share these facts to help improve the oral health of pregnant women, children, adolescents, and their families.

  • Teledentistry is the use of electronic information, imaging, and communication technologies to provide and support oral health care delivery, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, transfer of information, and education. 1
  • Telehealth-connected teams that can reach people who do not traditionally receive regular care offer the opportunity to improve the oral health of the population, lower the cost of providing care, and lower the cost and consequences of neglect. 2
  • When oral health professionals and those requiring oral health care cannot be in each other’s physical presence except in urgent or emergency situations, teledentistry allows for communication and the provision of advice, consultation, triage, and limited in-person services. 3
  • During the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, risk must be minimized during dental treatment. For example, screening for dental emergencies can be conducted using teledentistry or other remote modalities to reduce risk of transmission. 4
  • At least 11 states (e.g., Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington) have adopted policies related to teledentistry and offer oral health services remotely. The policies are wide-ranging and can cover services such as face-to-face consultation via video conferencing, sharing images and records among oral health professionals and monitoring people remotely. 5
  • Teledentistry services are useful for delivering both primary oral health care and specialty dental consultations. 6
  • When conducting oral exams using digital records, oral health professionals, within their scope of practice, can diagnose a person’s problem and determine the person’s needs as accurately as during traditional, in-person oral exams. 7
  • Teledentistry’s most practical application is to shift the delivery of preventive and early intervention services from the dental office to the community. 7
  • Parents are receptive to the convenience of teledentistry services, because such services foster treatment completion by accurately triaging children into the appropriate treatment modality while saving time, mileage, and resources. 8

References

  1. American TeleDentistry Association. N.d. Facts about Teledentistry [website].
  2. Glassman P. 2019. Improving Oral Health Using Telehealth–Connected Teams and the Virtual Dental Home System of Care: Program and Policy Considerations. Boston, MA: DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement.
  3. California Northstate University College of Dental Medicine. 2020. Using Telemedicine to Maintain Services and Contact with Patients During the Time of COVID-19 Physical Distancing: April 5, 2020. Elk Grove, CA: California Northstate University College of Dental Medicine.
  4. American Dental Association. 2020. Summary of ADA Guidance During the COVID-19 Crisis. Chicago, IL: American Dental Association.
  5. Center for Connected Health Policy. 2019. State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies Report. Sacramento, CA: Center for Connected Health Policy.
  6. Center for Health Workforce Studies. 2016. Case Study of 6 Teledentistry Programs: Strategies to Increase Access to General and Specialty Dental Services. Albany, NY: University at Albany, State University of New York.
  7. Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors. 2019. Teledentistry: How Technology Can Facilitate Access to Care. Reno, NV: Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors.
  8. Kopycka-Kedzierawski DT, McLaren SW, Billings RJ. 2018. Advancement of teledentistry at the University of Rochester’s Eastman Institute for Oral Health. Health Affairs 37(12):1960-1966.

OHRC Library

This section contains recent materials, not including OHRC-produced materials.

  • American Dental Association. 2020. COVID-19 Billing and Coding Interim Guidance: Virtual VisitsChicago, IL: American Dental Association.
    This interim guidance provides information to help dental offices navigate issues related to coding and billing for virtual appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics include coding; sample coding scenarios; HIPAA and telecommunications technology; virtual services during the COVID-19 pandemic; practice considerations checklist; informed consent forms: sample language for virtual services; practical tips for performing virtual evaluations; and billing: policies by payer.
  • Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors. 2019. Teledentistry: How Technology Can Facilitate Access to Care. Reno, NV: Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors.
    This white paper presents information about how technology can facilitate access to oral health care. Barriers to access are described, including lack of insurance coverage, transportation difficulties, low income, and an insufficient number of dentists who participate in Medicaid. The paper provides a definition of teledentistry, and its role in filling these gaps is discussed. Challenges associated with the use of teledentistry are described, and methods are presented.
  • Center for Connected Health Policy. 2019. State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies Report. Sacramento, CA: Center for Connected Health Policy.
    This report offers policymakers, health advocates, and other health professionals a summary guide of telehealth-related policies, laws, and regulations for all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The report focuses primarily on Medicaid fee-for-service policies, but available information on managed care is included. Telehealth policies are organized into three categories that address Medicaid reimbursement; private payer law; and professional regulation, health, and safety.
  • DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement. 2020. Fast-Track to Teledentistry: Removing Barriers to Care While Maximizing Overall Health. Boston, MA: DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement.
    This white paper provides information on the benefits of teledentistry and how to make it more accessible. The paper discusses the impact of not receiving oral health care; new uses of and approaches to teledentistry; potential savings for states from increasing the use of teledentistry; and the promise of teledentistry. What states can do to make it easier for health systems, hospitals, and safety net clinics to adopt teledentistry initiatives is also discussed, including expanding the workforce, updating reimbursement policies, enhancing legal clarity, and making it easier for health professionals to share patient information.
  • Glassman P. 2019. Improving Oral Health Using Telehealth-Connected Teams and the Virtual Dental Home System of Care: Program and Policy Considerations. Boston, MA: DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement.
    This report focuses on the potential of telehealth, combined with new preventive and behavior support science, delivery systems, payment incentives, and policy environments, to improve oral health. It reviews changes taking place in the general health and oral health care systems as well as national recommendations that have been proposed in response to these changes. The report also describes the legal and regulatory environment needed to create and use telehealth-connected teams, equipment and software requirements, and considerations for incorporating telehealth into dental practices and community-based oral health care systems. In addition, it describes the concept of disruptive innovation and the future role that telehealth may play in the delivery or oral health services.
  • Glassman P. 2016. Teledentistry: Improving Oral Health Using Telehealth-Connected Teams. San Francisco, CA: University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.
    This report reviews changes in general-health-care- and oral-health-care-delivery systems and national recommendations for adapting to these changes, including developing telehealth technology to deliver oral health services. The report reviews telehealth modalities and oral-health-care-delivery systems that use telehealth technologies, the legal and regulatory environment needed to create and use telehealth-connected teams, equipment and software requirements, considerations for incorporating telehealth in dental practices and community-based-oral-health-care-delivery systems, and the role of telehealth technologies in the future of oral-health-services delivery.
  • Poelman T. 2020. Nationwide Survey of Teledentistry Regulations. Cambridge, MA: Thomas Poelman.
    This guide provides information about teledentistry regulations throughout the United States. The guide discusses the importance of teledentistry and explains how to interpret the information presented. For each state, the guide includes a teledentistry checklist that includes teledentistry regulations in several categories, allowed oral health procedures, and other requirements. Where appropriate, additional notes are included.

More library materials

Assistance from an Information Specialist