Teledentistry Helps Provide the Right Care at the Right Time

Published 02/14/2022

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, dental providers turned to teledentistry to triage and communicate with patients. While teledentistry was thought to improve access and reduce costs, research on it was limited — especially on the types of follow-up treatments provided after a teledentistry visit.  

To address this gap, CareQuest Institute researchers examined data on oral health outcomes for patients after a teledentistry visit at oral health centers in Oregon and Washington. Key findings include: 

  • 6 out of 10 individuals who had a teledentistry visit subsequently had a problem-focused evaluation at their next in-person visit. 
  • Teledentistry visits were, on average, less expensive ($99 per visit) than in-person visits ($114 per visit). 
  • Teledentistry was more often used by individuals living in rural areas (13%) compared to those living in suburban (10%) or urban (6%) locations. 

Beyond the pandemic, teledentistry holds great promise to increase access to care. Providers can use the modality to enable comprehensive, risk-based, and integrated care that improves quality at a lower cost.  

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