With most people recommended to stay at home except for grocery runs, you've probably started to hear the terms "telehealth" or "teledentistry." Teledentistry has slowly been catching on, but only in the last few weeks has teledentistry quickly come front and center. While the term "teledentistry" conjures fun images of patching in a hologram dentist to your living room, it's actually a very simple and intuitive experience!
So what exactly is teledentistry?
Teledentistry, in a nutshell, is the use of technology to connect patients with a dental expert to answer their dental question. Dentists use teledentistry to address a patient's problem by helping diagnose the issue, potentially prescribing antibiotics, and even being able to refer to the right specialist for an emergency visit if urgent care is required.
While few people have had a virtual visit with a dentist, you're likely already familiar with most (if not all) of the technology that is part of a teledentistry visit. Chats with dental experts are like texting, and virtual visits feel a lot like having a Zoom meet with someone. In fact, when you have your first virtual visit with a dentist, you'll probably find the whole experience surprisingly familiar.
Our Care Team helps with virtual visits
To help patients get the reassurance and care they deserve, we opened our Care Team to the public so anybody can ask a dental question using our chat feature. For patients whose question is more urgent, Wally can coordinate a virtual visit for only $49 to connect "face-to-face" with a licensed dentist in their state.
Now anybody can chat with the Care Team, not just Wally members. Wally is making no money off patients who visit our Care Team and have a virtual visit. We are passing that money directly to the dentist, whose business is closed, and who is providing this service at a discount to ensure people get the proper care when they need it.
All you need to do is chat in and ask us your question. Whether your teeth are feeling extra-sensitive to ice cream, you lost your retainer, or your two front teeth just got chipped, the Wally Care Team will be ready to respond. This might be best illustrated with an example of how a patient used Wally's Care Team to solve their problem.
"I think a piece of tooth chipped off, what do I do?!?"
Recently, a patient visited Wally's Care Team with a question: "I think a piece of tooth chipped off and now it hurts to drink cold beverages, what do I do?!?"
Within minutes, one of Wally's Care Team experts responded to the patient in the chat. The dentist asked about the patient's symptoms, and assured them that while it wasn't necessary to visit a dental office right away, a virtual visit would be beneficial to discuss tips on how to manage the pain.
Wally set up a virtual visit for the patient that afternoon. The patient received a link and was instantly in a "face-to-face" discussion with a dentist.
Virtual Dentist: Hi there, I’ve reviewed your previous conversation and am happy to give you some tips on how to best deal with your tooth during this time. One thing you can try is managing discomfort with Ibuprofen or Tylenol. Another thing you can try is applying Sensodyne to the broken tooth and leaving it on for 15-20 minutes (kind of like a fluoride treatment).
Patient: Can you show me how much to apply and how to apply?
Virtual Dentist: Of course!
The virtual dentist was able to show the patient how much Sensodyne to use and the proper way to apply the Sensodyne, ensuring the patient felt confident to do this remedy at home.
Why are we opening up our Care Team to the public
We want to do the right thing during this unprecedented situation while also using the opportunity to build deep, trusting relationships with patients and dentists.
As Wally helps connect patients and dentists during this crisis, we hope this builds strong relationships so when we all emerge from this situation, patients will trust Wally to help in other aspects of their dental wellness! This is also an opening for Wally to help pioneer innovation and changes that will affect dentistry in the short and long run.
We are ready for your dental questions
Obviously, you won't be able to get your regular cleanings through virtual visits. That still requires face-to-face interaction (unless we can train Rosie the Robot to do our cleanings). If you have a dental concern, check out Wally's Care Team. Our goal is to help you address your dental concern so you can stop worrying about your teeth and get onto more important things in life.