The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust teledentistry and distance learning to the forefront of policy considerations. Teledentistry supports the delivery of oral health services through electronic communication means, connecting providers and patients without the usual time and space constraints. Teledentistry's unique ability to connect disadvantaged, rural communities and the homebound with dental providers makes this method particularly well-suited to address the lack of access during and after the pandemic.
Teledentistry can be used for consultation and triage, allowing providers to advise patients whether their dental concerns constitute a need for urgent or emergency care, whether a condition could be temporarily alleviated at home, or whether treatment could be postponed. Teledentistry and distance learning can also be used to facilitate access to preventive services and oral health education.
In support of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3: Good Health and Wellbeing and SDG 10: Reduced inequalities, BMC Oral Health has launched a new collection to bring together research using teledentistry or distance learning to:
- Improve access to oral health care.
- Support the delivery of oral health services.
- Facilitate preventative care.
- Facilitate professional and public oral health education.