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Teledentistry is the use of information technology and telecommunications for dental care, consultation,[1] education, and public awareness (compare telehealth and telemedicine).


In 1994, the Department of Defense introduced the Total Dental Access Program (TDA) for the Army.[2] The goals of TDA were to increase soldier's access to care and reduce associated costs. At the time, they used what was called the plain-old-telephone-system (POTS).

In the early nineteen nineties, videoconferencing, e-mail, fax, and telephone calls were used but more recently, video conferencing and high-quality image transfer have become easily accessible. These, and the considerable improvements in digital camera technology, have provided radical new opportunities.

Nearly a third of all Americans don't visit a dentist regularly enough, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.[3] There are many reasons for this, most notably affordability, access and fear.

Several teledental companies operate in the United States. Direct-to-consumer orthodontics companies like SmileDirectClub also utilize teledentistry, but have drawn criticism regarding proper supervision of care.[4]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dental practices were ordered to be shutdown [5] to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. As a means of providing a method by which dentists could still communicate with their patients during the shutdown, teledentistry became adopted across the world. In the USA, several laws had been enacted to curb the rise of direct-to-consumer orthodontics which also invalidated the use of teledentistry by duly licensed dentists. These laws were quickly rescinded to address the pandemic and hence teledentistry is now widely used by dentists in the USA.[6]

Methods and Modalities[edit]

Live Video (Synchronous): Live two-way video between a patient and provider using audiovisual telecommunications technology.[7] Live video is often used to triage patients to the appropriate level of care or for specialty consultations. The American Dental Association has designated the code D9995 for this type of teledentistry.

Store-and-forward (Asynchronous): Transmission of recorded health information (for example, radiographs or digital impressions taken by an appropriately licensed provider) through a secure electronic communications system to a practitioner, who uses the information to evaluate or diagnose the patient's condition outside at a later time.[7] The American Dental Association has designated the code D9996 for this type of teledentistry.

Remote Patient Monitoring: Health data collection from an individual in one location (usually outside of a conventional clinical setting), which is transmitted to a provider in a different location for use in care and related support.[7]

mHealth: Health promotion and education via mobile devices such as cell phones or tablets.[7]

Help within the dental community[edit]

Another method is the Remote Monitoring Method in which dentists communicate with each other through the use of radiographs and other data like the patient’s clinical findings, photographs, test results and case history. The patient is not present in this method of teleconsultation.

Disadvantages of this can include misinterpretation of messages, privacy issues and insufficient training of the professionals.[8]


Teledentistry can provide easier, cheaper and less intimidating way to connect with dentistry. Teledentistry can also be used to assist general dentists with speciality work[9] and improve services to underserved populations such as in rural or less developed areas.[10]


Teledentistry being a remote practice has gained a lot of popularity in this technologically advanced world where people prefer to access things over their gadgets. Valued around USD 1 Billion in 2021, the Teledentistry Market is expected to reach around 2.6 Billion by the year 2030. The growth of the market is attributed to the increasing geriatric population and rising burden of oral diseases.[11]

Teledentistry as a Value added benefit to dental insurance policies[edit]

The dental insurance industry had adopted ADA codes such as D9995 and D9996 to acknowledge that teledentistry as a subset of telehealth exists and that these codes are recognized by the industry. However, largely the dental insurance companies had not made these codes payable to dentists in the event that they were actually billed when a teledentistry service was rendered to a patient. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Dental Association in November 2020, The resolution also states that dental insurers — both public and private — should cover services provided through teledentistry at the same level as if the services were delivered in a traditional in-person encounter.[12] This recommendation from the American Dental Association was strongly adopted by dental insurance carriers who in turn went a step further to include value added benefits to their dental insurance policies to allow for teledentistry [13][14][15][16]


  1. ^ Clark, GT (2000). "Teledentistry: What is it now, and what will it be tomorrow?". Journal of the California Dental Association. 28 (2): 121–7. PMID 11323836.
  2. ^ Rocca, M. A.; Kudryk, V. L.; Pajak, J. C.; Morris, T (1999). "The evolution of a teledentistry system within the Department of Defense". Proceedings. AMIA Symposium: 921–4. ISSN 1531-605X. PMC 2232632. PMID 10566495.
  3. ^ "Oral Health Isn't Much Of Americans' Concern, Poll Finds: One-Third Didn't See The Dentist Last Year". Medical Daily. 2014-04-29. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  4. ^ "In-home teeth straightening can save thousands. But brace yourself for the risks". Los Angeles Times. 2020. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  5. ^ "COVID-19 and Dentistry: Challenges and Opportunities for Providing Safe Care". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ "Governor Abbott Signs Texas Teledentistry Bill into Law". Dentistry Today. 2021-06-18. Retrieved 2021-12-29.
  7. ^ a b c d "ADA Policy of Teledentistry". American Dental Association. 2015. Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  8. ^ Santi, Dr Priti (2019-07-06). "Why is teledentistry wonderful for you?". DentalDost. Retrieved 2020-12-11.
  9. ^ "Teledentistry Shows Potential to Assist Rural Communities". NIH. December 24, 2008.
  10. ^ Chen, Jung-Wei; Hob-Dell, Martin H.; Dunn, Kim; Johnson, Kathy A.; Zhang, Jiajie (2003). "Teledentistry and its use in dental education". Journal of the American Dental Association. 134 (3): 342–6. doi:10.14219/jada.archive.2003.0164. PMID 12699048.
  11. ^ Reports, Growth Market. "Teledentistry Market Size, Share, and Industry Report [2030]". Retrieved 2023-03-15.
  12. ^ "ADA updates teledentistry policy".
  13. ^ "News releases".
  14. ^ "New Teledentistry Coverage Benefit Delta Dental of Iowa Members - Delta Dental of Iowa".
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Delta Dental of Illinois adds 24/7 virtual visits".