Dentaltown May 2020 - 31

complications of infection, from exposure
to COVID-19. Access to oral care via
teledentistry helps residents of nursing care
facilities remain safe without losing access
to dental services. (Teledentistry can also
help to improve overall health outcomes for
residents, such as diabetes control, aspiration
pneumonia and other conditions.3)
Mobile dental companies can use their
teledentistry technology to assess dental
emergencies, while a providing company or
on-site medical staff can provide emergency
dental extractions during the COVID-19
epidemic.
For example, a certified nursing assistant
can identify and report dental pain from the
residents via teledentistry, and may even be
able to use an intraoral camera to upload
pictures of the resident's mouth in a secure,
cloud-based portal for review by the dentist.
The dentist can identify true dental
emergencies, avoiding unnecessary visits
to the facility during lockdown but still

alleviating a patient's pain-and avoiding
any risks of emergency room visits. Even
after the COVID-19 epidemic wanes, we
hope that teledentistry will be used more
widely in skilled nursing facilities.

Conclusion
When every hospital bed is needed for
symptomatic COVID-19 patients, teledentistry in dental practices and nursing homes
can help to divert patients in pain from the
ER. We can leverage it to help do our part
in fighting this terrible virus. ■

References
1.
Wall, T., Nasseh, K., Vujivic, M. "Majority of DentalRelated Emergency Department Visits Lack Urgency and
Can Be Diverted to Dental Offices." Chicago, 2014. ADA
Research Brief, ADA Health Policy Institute.
2.
Wald, G. "Teledentistry: Virtual Care for Urgent Oral
Health and Dental Problems," 2018. Dentistry Today.
3.
Müller, F. "Oral Hygiene Reduces the Mortality from
Aspiration Pneumonia in Frail Elders." J Dent Res. 2015
Mar; 94(3 Suppl): 14S-16S.
https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0022034514552449.

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Dentaltown May 2020

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