In a time of uncertainty, we want to provide answers that our members can count on. Teledentistry can fill a gap created by a patient’s inability to visit a dental office. Ensuring that only patients in need of emergency care are in the dental office pays off in two ways. We can flatten the curve and we can maintain social distancing by using remote, problem-focused dental appointments.
When dentists evaluate patients over the phone or via video conference, patients can find out if their dental problem is an emergency without leaving the house. The American Dental Association recommends that only emergency patients visit dental offices at this time. The CDC also recommends that we hold off on preventive dental care visits for the time being.
When should you contact your dentist? The ADA recommends you do so if you experience or need:
- Bleeding that doesn’t stop
- Painful swelling in or around your mouth
- Pain in a tooth, teeth, or jawbone
- Gum infection with pain or swelling
- After surgery treatment (dressing change, stitch removal)
- Broken or knocked-out tooth
- Denture adjustment for people receiving radiation or other treatment for cancer
- Snipping or adjusting wire of braces that hurts your check or gums
- Biopsy of abnormal tissue
- Replacement of temporary fillings
- Final crown/bridge cementation is the temporary restoration is lost or broken
Hawaii Dental Service will cover certain teledentistry claims.
Consultations and oral exams via teledentistry are covered by your HDS employer group or individual plan, unless otherwise specified under your plan benefits. We will adjudicate, or decide on, claims the same as we do today for services received in person or through teledentistry.
The ADA has given guidance to providers on how to submit these claims. As a member, you can contact your dentist’s office to find out if your provider is offering remote teledentistry services.
It’s even more important that we maintain good at-home oral health habits now to prevent the development of cavities. Click here to review best brushing and flossing practices or see if you’ve been brushing wrong.