The COVID 19 pandemic has challenged the existing healthcare systems across the globe. As it spreads by droplet, contact transmission, and fomite. Dentistry involves close face to face interaction with patients, hence during the COVID -19 pandemic it has been mostly suspended. In today’s circumstances of ongoing COVID -19 pandemic, with the increasing likelihood of becoming endemic, the main aim is to avoid person to person contact. Teledentistry can offer an innovative resolution to resume dental practice during this pandemic.
Teledentistry is facilitating dental treatment remotely by giving guidance and education via the use of information technology instead of direct face to face contact with patients. The word “tele” means “distant”, and therefore teledentistry satisfies the need for social distancing, which is advocated by health authorities to contain the spread of Covid -19. The subunits of teledentistry are Teleconsultation, Telediagnosis and Telemonitoring
TELECONSULTATION – Patients or local healthcare providers seek consultation from dental specialists using Telecommunication.
TELEDIAGNOSIS – it makes use of technology to exchange images and data to make a diagnosis of an oral lesion
TELEMONITORING – Regular monitoring of treatment outcomes and disease progression by virtual visits.
The challenges related to acceptance of teledentistry by dentists can be attributed to the fact that they may find it complex and may be resistant to new skills. They may be technologically challenged, afraid of making inaccurate diagnosis, poor internet access, shortage of hardware, lack of training, lack of technical support and expertise etc. Simultaneously challenges faced by patients need to be addressed, which includes inadequacy of proper communication of their problems to dentist
Dentistry plays an important role in individuals’ life, which has become severely compromised during the current pandemic. It is the peak time to incorporate teledentistry into routine dental practice, which would complement the existing compromised dental system during the current pandemic.