Covid-19: Staying Safe and Teledentistry


Covid-19: Staying Safe and Teledentistry

Posted in Company on March 25, 2020

by Patti DiGangi,RDH, BS

So here we are all sitting in our homes. Some of us are already bored; how many episodes can we binge in a row has reached new heights.

We are hopefully all keeping safe by practicing excellent hand hygiene in our homes. We know hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection. Which song are you singing so it’s long enough? I got bored with Happy birthday and loved the suggestion of the Glory Gaynor’s song I Will Survive. This song has the dual purpose of helping us wash long enough while also reminding how long pathogens can survive. That’s why I want to kick the pathogens a bit farther by using Monarchs Hydrating Instant Hand Sanitizer. Following that with Monarch Revitalizing Hand Lotion leaves my hands to feel smooth silky and protected.

Now that I can feel confident with protecting myself, there is still the issue of boredom as well as the worry of no patients which means no income to the office. There are so many unknowns happening for practice owners. Great news here, you can see your patients connecting through teledentistry.

Teledentistry is a disruptive innovation and a rising trend. The long-held model and shared assumption for oral health care is Dentists’ Office are the System. Oral health can and should be addressed in many places and in different ways by a variety of health providers. Teledentistry expands the traditional dental practice.

The ADA is providing help in our current crisis. They created a Covid-19 Coding and Billing Interim Guidance that discusses not only how teledentistry can be used; it also talks about the billing and coding aspects of this treatment. This is important so patients with oral health emergencies do not end up in already overburdened hospital emergency rooms.

Teledentistry is also a great option for follow-up with our patients already in treatment, connections with medical providers, staying in touch with all of our patients and making a connection to new patients.
Like me, you have probably gotten notes from your bank, your internet carrier, your credit card and most everyone about how they are caring for you during this crisis. This is also a great opportunity for dental practices to stay connected with your patients. Let them know you are available for emergencies and urgencies.

You can also follow-up on patients already in treatment. You can look into everyone you have seen over the past 2 months and instigate a follow-up with them.

The ADA recommends that you offer assistance to new patients also. This can be a terrific form of referrals and practice building for a dental practice.

This is not simply a matter of having a FaceTime conversation. Facetime is a wonderful way to stay connected to our friends and family. I know I enjoyed seeing my granddaughter recently on Facetime. Yet it is not appropriate to connect with patients using any of the public-facing technologies such as Facetime, Facebook Live, Twitch, or Tik Tok. We need to leave those for personal use.

This a huge subject that can’t be covered in a single blog post. The important messages here are: Stay Safe and consider adding teledentistry as part of your procedure mix. Not just for the current crisis; teledentistry expands the traditional dental practice.



Author Bio: Patti DiGangi’s specialty is medically necessary coding. Her efforts have assisted thousands of professionals to code more accurately and efficiently. She teaches the why behind the codes. In fact, the American Dental Association recognized her expertise by inviting her to write a chapter in its CDT 2017 Companion book and again for CDT 2018 Companion. Patti holds publishing and speaking licenses with ADA for Current Dental Ter­minology©2020. The Chapter Patti wrote in CDT 2018 Companion included the Teledentistry codes. Patti is the co-author with Cindy Purdy RDH, BS of the workbook Teledentistry Pathway to Prosperity Critical Choices. I have been on this bandwagon for a while co-writing the only workbook on the subject: Teledentistry Pathway to Prosperity Critical Choices that we are offering at ½ price through this crisis.

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