Dentaltown May 2020 - 29

Virtual Treatment,
Actual Benefits
Teledentistry helps keep dental patients out of the ER

I

f you're like us, it's hard to keep up with
the news about COVID-19. After a conversation with a relative who's sheltering in
place in Brooklyn, New York, we looked
at Worldometer, a reference website that has
the latest information by individual states
about the epidemic. The site explained the
vast shortage of hospital beds to accommodate
the peak number of patients with the new
coronavirus: New York City, for example,
would need 140,000 beds but has only
53,000. The problem isn't specific to New
York, either-emergency rooms across the
country will be stressed.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic,
emergency rooms were seeing too many
dental emergencies that weren't true medical
emergencies. A research paper from the
American Dental Association Health Policy
Institute1 indicated that in 2007, dental
emergencies were the catalyst for more than
2 million emergency room visits, and most of
those could easily have been diverted from the
ER to the dental office. Now that diversion
has become even more critical. Dentists can
do their part by using teledentistry to help
separate life-threatening emergencies from
dental emergencies.

by Dr. Margaret Scarlett
and Sonya Dunbar, RDH, MH
Dr. Margaret Scarlett is an infectious and chronic
disease prevention specialist, dentist and author.
For 30 years, Scarlett has provided expert guidance
on infectious diseases and infection control as a
consultant to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, the World Health Organization, the Pan
American Health Organization, the United States
Agency for International Development, the American
Red Cross and many consumer health companies.
Sonya Dunbar, RDH, MH, has been a registered
dental hygienist for 27 years and is a national public
speaker. She is the co-owner of Mobile Dental
Xpress, which provides comprehensive dental care
to residents in skilled nursing facilities. A U.S. Navy
veteran, Dunbar is pursuing a PhD in gerontology
and is the CEO of The Geriatric ToothFairy, the cofounder of the National Mobile Dental Conference
and the author of Golden Nuggets For Life.

dentaltown.com \\ MAY 2020

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Dentaltown May 2020

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