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Tele-Dentistry: A Game Changer for Australians

01 September 2020 | News, Programs

Frantically driving to the nearest hospital or dental clinic for a dental concern and/or issue can now be considered a thing of the past, thanks to the Australian Dental Foundation.

In these challenging times, the Australian Dental Foundation offer Australians a tele-dentistry appointment option. They understand that pain does not have a schedule and know that in some communities it is considerably harder to access a dentist quickly and easily.

In response to this challenge, Country SA PHN has provided support to enable the Australian Dental Foundation to deliver a pilot tele-dentistry project. By utilising this option, an after-hours trip to the local hospital or GP clinic due to a dental issue may no longer be clinically necessary, especially for regional and remote communities.

“The rapid rise of tele-health, tele-dentistry and extended after hours services has been one of the innovations, due to COVD-19 restrictions and lockdowns, that has proved to be a real benefit for rural and remote South Australians,” said Country SA PHN Chief Executive Officer, Kim Hosking.

Simply put, the tele-dentistry pilot project will support virtual dental assessments being delivered to residents of outback South Australia and those remote areas of the greater Eyre/Far West, by an local Australian registered dentist. Such consults will be delivered via an online, video chat application, between the patient and/or guardian/carer with one of the Foundation’s partnering dentists. Importantly, tele-dentistry is not intended to replace a full dental examination.

Instead of just a phone discussion, tele-dentistry provides a supported, step-by-step visual (video) format to address a particular dental problem. All you need for a tele-dentistry consultation is a device with video chat capabilities such as a phone or computer, a compatible web browser and a stable internet connection. Following the consultation, the dentist can provide a referral to a local dental clinic and/or prescribe medication as clinically appropriate.

There is only a small fee associated with the cost of this tele-dentistry service given tele-dental services are not yet funded by Medicare. However, this cost is greatly reduced as part of this pilot-project through the generous funding support of Country SA PHN.

For more information on tele-dentistry as an option for you and your family or to request a tele-dentistry consultation for a dental concern and/or issue, call the tele-dentistry and emergency hotline number on 0437 733 350.