Let’s talk Teledentistry

by | Apr 21, 2020 | COVID-19, Dental Office, In The News, Practice Advice, Practice Compliance | 0 comments

The dental industry has been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic and many are left wondering what will the future of dental look like? There will undoubtedly be some expected changes with how offices screen patient health and manage sterilization processes. Another shift on the horizon may be driven by how patients want to be treated.

The rise in accessibility to services such as Telehealth and Teledentistry is rapidly growing with demand. This post is here to break down what it is, how to use it and why you should use it today and beyond once your practice opens back up.

So let’s get to it.

What is teledentistry?

Teledentistry is a branch of Telehealth.  Telehealh, according to the ADA, is a broad variety of technologies and tactics to deliver virtual medical, health and education services. Telehealth is not a specific service, but a collection of means to enhance care and education delivery.

Essentially Teledentistry is a way for you to stay connected with established and new patients to provide them the oral care they need while practicing social distancing.

When done properly, you can continue to offer your patients the care and support they are used to while also establishing new patient connections. Billing for services is also enabled which makes Teledentistry a viable revenue source as well.

How do I use Teledentisty?

In today’s climate with COVID-19 a key advantage of Teledentisty is the ability to hold video consultations for new and established patients.  This enables you to keep a safe distance while determining if; A)this emergency renders an office visit, B)can be referred to a specialist or C)can wait until your practice opens back on.

For billing to your insurance you would use these codes:

D9995 teledentistry – synchronous; real-time encounter Reported in addition to other procedures (e.g., diagnostic) delivered to the patient on the date of service.

D9996 teledentistry – asynchronous; information stored and forwarded to the dentist for subsequent review Reported in addition to other procedures (e.g., diagnostic) delivered to the patient on the date of service.

IN ADDITION TO your exam codes.

D0140 limited oral evaluation – problem-focused

D0170 re-evaluation – limited, problem-focused (established patient; not post-operative visit)

D0171 re-evaluation – post-operative office visit

D9992 dental case management – care coordination

For more info on billing teledentistry to your insurance we suggest you read:

ADA Guide to Understanding & Documenting Teledentistry

COVID-19 Coding and Billing Interim Guidance 

Currently, these dental insurance companies are covering teledentistry procedures.

  1. Aetna
  2. Ameritas
  3. Anthem
  4. Argus
  5. Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts
  6. Delta Dental
  7. Dominion National
  8. Envolve
  9. Guardian
  10. Human
  11. Liberty
  12. Metlife
  13. Principle
  14. Sunlife
  15. UCCI
  16. Unum/Colonial Life

But there could be more, we recommend you reach out to all your insurance providers to see if they are covering teledentistry.

OK, but HOW do I use Teledentistry?

Facetime and Skype are approved forms of communication for teledentistry.  However, to stay compliant, keep all necessary documentation in order AND attract new patients we highly recommend you use a service, like Dentulu.

With a service like Dentulu, you are able to:

  • build a profile
  • attach your dental license and include your accepted insurances
  • keep all screenshots and documentation of your virtual consults in one place
  • input your availability and allow your patients to schedule virtual consults directly through your existing website.
  • Switch your availability on and off to accept virtual consultations from NEW patients.
  • Charge the patient through the app OR bill them directly
  • Allow patients to purchase an intraoral camera ($30), so you can see directly in their mouth.

Wherever you are using Teledentisty make sure you stay compliant with state laws.

Why would I use Teledentistry once my office is back open?

There are many reasons why, but here are a few.

  1. Your patients are going to want it – not everyone is going to be comfortable visiting a dental office even after the Shelter-in-Place is lifted.  This will give you an opportunity to stay connected. It is estimated that 30% of American’s are already using Telehealth in some fashion.
  2. Helps new patients find you – New patients (especially the younger generations) love to research options online before stepping foot into a dental office.  If your website offers virtual consultations and online scheduling you could be in a better position to attract and retain new patients.
  3. Make your life easier – Do Post-op appointments take up a lot of your time?  Send postoperative patients home with an intraoral camera and let them do those exams from home.
  4. Expand your practice with new services – Teledentistry can be used to safely send out associate dentists or hygienists to nursing homes, schools and other community functions to allow them to do exams and cleanings.  It’s a great way to expand your reach and bring in more patients. If this is a route that interests you, make sure to find the staff you need on DirectDental.

Ok, I’m interested, now what?

Well, DirectDental has partnered with Dentulu to offer all DirectDental clients FREE service until the Shelter-in-Place order is lifted.

We can help! Give us a call at 619-295-1002 or simply click the button below to let us know you’re interested in Teledentistry. One of our friendly team members can reach out to answer questions and get you signed up for free.