New Survey Suggests Optimism about Teledentistry Experience and Access

Published 06/08/2021

State of Oral Health Equity in America 2021 
Research Report #3

The COVID-19 pandemic changed health care in myriad ways, including the acceleration of telehealth. In fact, a nationally representative survey found that the majority of Americans have experienced a telehealth visit with a medical provider as of March 2021.

Most of those telehealth visits, however, weren’t teledentistry.

A new report based on the State of Oral Health Equity in America 2021 survey found that many patients have not experienced a virtual visit with a dental provider — only 2% of survey respondents had received dental care remotely in the last year. This is, at least in part, because of limited awareness and availability — 63% of respondents were unaware of whether their dentist offered teledentistry and 33% said they knew their dentist did not.

Overall, patients who had experiences with teledentistry had positive feedback, and many who had never had a virtual visit were willing to try it, given the opportunity. Of note:

  • Among the 2% who have seen providers remotely, nearly 4 in 10 respondents (39%) rated their teledental visit as being roughly the same as an in-person appointment. 
  • Nearly as many (36%) said they were “very likely” to see a dental provider remotely in the future. 
  • More than one-third (35%) of respondents who hadn’t yet participated in teledentistry said they would be willing to try it.

This survey suggests an opportunity for dental providers to grow their capacity to use teledentistry, given the overall satisfaction among the small group of patients and positive attitude toward its potential use.  

Read more about other findings from the survey in our new series, State of Oral Health Equity in America 2021.

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