The way consumers accessed and received oral health services in 2020 changed in response to the pandemic, DentalPlans.com said. While some modifications may be eliminated once it is safe to do so, other changes proved beneficial and will remain part of routine dental care going forward, the online marketplace said.
For example, while remote care will never replace dentists, DentalPlans.com said, teledentistry can reduce costs and time for dentists and their patients. Virtual consultations enable fast care for those who require immediate treatment and can help to streamline treatment planning for restorative care procedures, reducing the time the patient needs to spend in the office.
Also, online booking and waiting rooms enabled social distancing during the pandemic and will remain once it passes due to their convenience. Digital tools offer patient communication, reputation management, and online marketing solutions that integrate into dental practice management software. These tools can simplify and streamline tasks to create an excellent patient experience as well, DentalPlans.com said.
All-inclusive dental plans will become part of the landscape as well, the company said. As the link between oral and overall health becomes more apparent, plan providers are likely to bundle additional healthcare services with plans that previously focused on dental care only. Many dental savings plans may even continue to include telehealth services as more people turn to virtual care in 2021, DentalPlans.com said.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and smart technology will increasingly be developed for use in diagnostic, reconstructive, and aesthetic purposes, the company added. From spotting developing decay much earlier to perfecting the appearance of tooth restorations, such as dentures using virtual reconstructions, AI will potentially become the perfect complement to a dentist’s expertise.
Regenerative dentistry will have a tole as well, DentalPlans.com said, with continued research into biological therapies for damaged teeth such as stimulating self-healing processes. While we’re unlikely to be regrowing our own teeth by 2021, the field is poised for growth, according to the company.
Vaccines will become available at the dentist too, as the ADA supports a move to allow dentists to administer them, DentalPlans.com said. The ADA believes the pandemic has highlighted the potential benefits of an expanded role for dentists in preventive healthcare and that vaccine delivery in dental practices would increase the number of people receiving vaccinations, benefitting the overall health of the public.
“These new developments in dental care are exciting, and we remain committed to offering consumers an easy solution to access dental services that fit and support every budget,” said Jenn Stoll, chief commercial officer at DentalPlans.com. “Not only are dental savings plans an affordable solution, but they may also offer discounts on some treatments that insurance plans may not cover.”