NEW WAYS: Dentist patients are now able to access their urgent advice through telehealth. Photo: iStock
NEW WAYS: Dentist patients are now able to access their urgent advice through telehealth. Photo: iStock

Chinchilla Dentist able to offer teledentistry

WITH coronavirus restrictions preventing many patients from seeking urgent advice from their regular dentist, today the Australian Dental Association (ADA) has issued a new item number on the Australian Schedule of Dental Services and Glossary allowing for Chinchilla residents to access telehealth consultations.

Patients will able to seek advice through videoconferencing or by the phone regardless of the application used.

Practitioners will ensure that the telecommunications solution meets their clinical requirements and satisfies privacy laws with patients receiving care without having to leave their homes.

Chinchilla Dental Practise manager Karen Dolbel said the concept they call teledentistry has been around for a while, with mainly specialists using it,  but with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic has really been brought to light as another form of helping us diagnose whilst keeping in line with the social distancing regulations.

"Teledentistry is basically a video chat (via Zoom or any other video service - but Dentist's need to make sure that the service is covered by Privacy laws as well) where the dentist and the patient will talk about the problem," she said.

"The dentist will ask a series of questions regarding the problem such as is the tooth sensitive to hot or cold or is it broken. 

"They may also ask the patient to send a photo to help out with diagnosis as well.

"This works particularly well for those patients that may be dental phobic, live quite a distance from the practice or a parent whose child has just fallen and knocked their tooth.

"Of course a physical visit to the practice will be required as well but in the short term this is a great tool to assess if the situation is a dental emergency or not and to talk solutions." 

The service must only be provided by a dental practitioner registered with the Dental Board of Australia and the ADA states it should be further developed, monitored and assessed. 

 The ADA has released an item number for dentist to use when doing this service and are currently still in negotiations with health funds to have this number claimable through private health as well.

"Chinchilla Dental Practice has always been accessible to our patients through our after hours text messaging service (0488 847 038) where we will have a dentist call back for emergency situations but we are hoping to implement this bigger and better version in the near future," Ms Dolbel said.