As the coronavirus epidemic rages on, every business has to adapt to the isolating environment and dentistry is no different. But when shops can go fully online and restaurants can turn to delivery what about dental practitioners? The answer lies in digital solutions such as teledentistry which enables easy access for patients from the comfort of their homes. Is it a viable solution, however? Let’s find out…

Current Use of Teledentistry

Before we dig into the numbers, it is vital to note that the practice of teledentistry is still relatively new and was far from being widespread before the virus caused businesses to close. That is why it is not out of the blue to see that the adoption results are still small, as we take a closer look at a survey conducted by the market research platform DentaVox. According to the roughly 1900 respondents, about 1 in 4 people or 22.3% to be exact have had the privilege to experience this novel method of conducting dentistry already.

teledentistry current use dentavox

Patient Awareness

Despite the relatively low numbers of teledentistry users, it is not the end of the world. Often novel practices take time for significant adoption to take place. Considering it has still been less than a year since dentists have had to resort to using this practice, it is expected.

On the other hand, however, more statistics point towards a bright potential future for the use of such methods. One of these is patient awareness of teledentistry. According to the same survey, more than half of respondents, or 52.6% of the total are aware of the practice, while roughly a third, sitting at 32.1% are confident in their knowledge. This certainly does not point to a niche and unknown practice, but quite the contrary – having its own special place in patients’ heads for when the right time comes.

teledentistry awareness

Future of Teledentistry

While it is impossible for teledentistry to completely replace visits to the dental office (or at least not in the near future), the signs are there for this practice to gain popularity and adoption, should the business climate continue in the same direction. When asked about the likelihood of using such dental services in the next 5 years, survey respondents gave predominantly positive responses. The large majority of participants, corresponding to 61.4% of the total are confident they will be using teledentistry in the next five years in contrast to only 11.2% giving it a hard no.

teledentistry likelyhood to use

As a whole, there certainly are encouraging clues in patient’s answers about wider adoption of teledentistry in the future. In the end, what it does best is cater to our need for convenience in an increasingly busy and isolated world. A video call with a trusted dentist is a lucrative alternative to visiting in person as it eliminates traveling and waiting time. And that is another reason why there is indeed a bright future for teledentistry around the world.

But teledentistry is not the only digital solution to stay in touch with patients remotely. Fully digitalized patient loyalty programs are helping dentists foster long term relationships with patients.

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