Virtual consultations, telephone appointments and video calls between doctors and dentists and their patients have become the norm during the pandemic.
While there are clear advantages to seeing a healthcare professional in person, in some cases, telemedicine provides incredible benefits.
Severe dental anxiety affects around 10% of the population, with up to 70% of patients experiencing an increase in anxiety when faced with a trip to the dentist. For some patients with dental phobia, their fear is so extreme that they avoid going to the dentist for years, even when they have symptoms that warrant urgent investigation.
One of the main benefits of telemedicine in dentistry is the accessibility of services. Patients who don’t need complex treatment or urgent assistance can now speak to their dentist and seek advice from the comfort of their own home.
They don’t have to worry about the sounds or smells of the dental practice or getting into the dental chair. They remain in a familiar, comfortable setting, which helps them to stay relaxed. In addition, virtual consultations and telephone calls can help patients who do need treatment.
They can talk to their dentist, get to know them better and find out more about the procedure before they have to attend an appointment, which reduces anxiety.
As studies show that many patients who have severe anxiety or dentophobia actively avoid going to dental appointments, telemedicine can help dentists to stay in touch with nervous patients and build their confidence so that they are able to get to a point where they feel able to go to a clinic.
Dentists can also provide tailored advice to help patients to improve their dental health at home, reducing the risk of dental disease and the need for complex, expensive treatment.