How Teledentistry Can Help Older Adults
Nearly a quarter of the U.S. population will be aged 65 or older by the year 2060. Unfortunately, not all of these individuals will prioritize healthy aging, especially their oral health. Why is that? One reason may be since oral healthcare is not part of the federal Medicare program, many older adults, particularly those in a lower income bracket, don’t have dental insurance, making even the most basic oral care difficult to procure. With options like Denteractive teledentistry available for seniors to access dental care, there is a great option for dentists to provide older adults a path to proper oral health. You can provide teledentistry services and serve older adults from the comfort of their home.
Why Do Some Seniors Struggle to Visit a Dentist?
There are a number of reasons that older adults may struggle to see a dental provider. As mentioned, lack of dental insurance plays a role in access. Many older adults lose their dental insurance when they retire, and without a federal dental insurance program, they may not be able to afford the out-of-pocket expense for quality dental insurance. While there are some dentists or dental clinics, such as yourself, that serve low-income communities with low-cost dental services, these providers are not available in all areas, and many seniors may not even be aware that they exist near their homes.
Older adults that have dental insurance may also find it financially difficult to go to the dentist because of the portion they are obligated to pay for dental procedures. It is no secret that as we age, our dental needs can become greater. Some seniors may be more vulnerable to tooth loss and gum disease. Dental care for major dental problems can be cost-prohibitive for some older adults even if they have dental insurance.
Other barriers to obtaining dental care include transportation issues. Many older adults stop driving and may find it difficult to obtain transportation to meet with their dentist. The dentist of their choosing may not be available. Then, of course, there is the age-old feeling of discomfort that can affect older adults who may understand the necessity of meeting with their dentist, but find it plain old uncomfortable to keep those appointments. Dentists, like yourself, may help with their comfort level, but there isn’t anything more comfortable than a patients’ home.
How Can Teledentristy Help Seniors Improve Their Oral Health?
Teledentistry offers a whole new layer of access to your dental practice. Older adults can benefit from this access and Denteractive was designed to make it easy-to-use and cost effective for both the patient and the dentist. Initial dental examinations, some prescriptions and consultations can now be managed by Denteractive, with pictures exchanges, and most popular, direct patient to dentist video calls.
Teledentistry saves patients time, money, and the need to arrange transportation. Using connective software via their smartphones or tablets, your patients can access care with you without having to sit in a waiting room, travel, or leave the comfort of their own home. Additionally, you can offer special pricing discounts for patients that use your teledentistry service.
Naturally, there comes a point when patients do have to meet for an in-person visit, but teledentistry reduces the need for as many frequent visits. Patients can often consult with you after a procedure to check in rather than making a full face-to-face appointment. This level of convenience is ideal for both patients and your practice. You have more time for performing clinical work and patients can connect with you without having to travel away from home.
Teledentistry for Initial Examinations
Teledentistry has proven to be a popular option for initial consultations for older adults. During initial visits, little to no dental work may be performed, so your patients may prefer to avoid the commute to your office or the need to sit in a waiting room.
These initial appointments often do not last long, while you can see patients from your office or even your home. Using the camera functionality of smartphones, tablets, or computers, patients can provide dentists with quick views of their teeth or mouth to highlight a problem or concern. Exchanging photos via our built-in messaging is an option for patients without cameras.
This allows you to schedule a follow-up appointment for any dental work. The appointment is streamlined and efficient, a pleasing arrangement for both you and the patient.
Older Adults Can Maintain Good Oral Health
With the help of Denteractive, patients will have more access to you and your recommendations for maintaining good oral health. Denteractive is ideal for educating patients about how to care for their teeth and gums. You can answer patients’ questions about specific oral healthcare issues and since overall visit length is shorter, you can spend even more time answering patient questions.
Maintaining good oral healthcare means following your advice and having easy to access virtual appointments, only helps maintain oral health.
Teledentistry provides dentists and patients with a new avenue of access. Dentists who adopt teledentistry platforms can see more patients in a streamlined fashion, and patients are able to connect with dental professionals like you more easily with less inconvenience. Teledentistry doesn’t solve the need for more dental insurance options for older adults, but it does help some with its lower overall costs.
By allowing patients to prioritize their oral health, you can support your overall health. So, give your patients a great option by signing up for the Virtual Care Practice Solution. Use our teledentistry option (and many other features) to ensure that you can monitor your patients’ oral health. By maintaining the health of your patients’ dental needs using teledentistry by Denteractive, you’ll have more patients, and most importantly, happy patients.
Now is the time to support older adults via teledentistry. See our pricing options and get started without a credit card!