During this unprecedented time in history, social distancing and non-contact are the norms for our daily lives. The regular visits to your dental clinics are also affected by this new normal. Teledentistry, a concept turned into reality in some aspects of dentistry. For example, dentists can do the initial dental consultation, triage the severity of the problem, and assess the likely reasons for the complaints using computers, mobile phones, or laptops over the internet.
In this new era, dentists can initiate, process, monitor, and complete orthodontic treatments using aligner trays over the internet. At least for most of the treatments.
How does teledentistry work?
Patients interested in having orthodontic treatments using clear aligner trays can contact Dr. Wong at Affinity Dental Care to get initial virtual consultation done. Before the meeting, a team member at Affinity Dental Care will email forms to the patients to complete their medical and dental history ahead of the meeting. During the consultation, I will review the patients’ medical history and conditions that may affect teeth and bone remodeling movement during orthodontic treatments. I will also look at their Dental history for brushing habits, high carbohydrate diets or poor diets, smoking, temporal mandibular dysfunction, and regular dental visit habit. Necessary dental X-rays are required to complete the examination. If the patients have recent X-rays taken in another dental office, my clinic can request the information transfer to us with permission from the patients. Dental X-rays are essential adjuncts for detecting conditions like missing, tilted, rotated, short-rooted, dilacerated, impacted, or over-erupted teeth. They are also crucial for finding out oral pathologies, cavities, bone density, bone loss, temporomandibular dysfunctions, etc.
If the cases are deemed suitable, and there are no contraindications that need treatments to ratify first, the patients need to take photographs of the teeth and face (front and profile) and impressions of their teeth.
There is a device that patients can use to help them to take the before mentioned photographs themselves using their cell phones at home. DenToGo developed the device and associated apps. Once the patients decide to move on to the next step with the treatment, Affinity Dental Care will mail the package to the patients with instructions. A team member can travel to their homes to take the teeth’ impressions using a digital scanner. The images taken by the scanner are very accurate, such that the subsequent treatment plannings are more precise and have fewer errors in the measurements.
If X-rays are missing and needed, the patients can either come to my office to have them taken or go to another clinic to have them taken and have them transferred to my office later.
I can make a final diagnosis of the malocclusion and treatment plan to address the patients’ wants once I have all the information. Subsequently, the data and my requirements for the aligner treatments will be uploaded to ClearCorrect or other aligner providers to digitally planned out the movements of teeth.
In my portal, I can virtually see the teeth’ movements at different treatment stages to the final results of the straight and aligned teeth.
Once I see the virtual movements meet my provided requirements, I will approve the plans, and ClearCorrect will make a set of trays. Typically, I prefer to insert the first set of trays in the office to ensure the trays can sit perfectly on their teeth as planned, and the patients can remove and insert them properly in my chair. During the first visit or subsequent visits, I will also add the engagers on the teeth if needed. Sometimes even interproximal strippings are done if they are required to gain more spacings for teeth to move and align properly. I will provide the patients with the rest of the trays to bring home to change to the next sets on their own if the patients are capable.
The trays can also be mailed to the patients directly if they can follow instructions online with me. Either way, the patients will be given supervision over the internet using the DenToGo apps on their phones. During the treatments, patients will need to scan their teeth periodically using their phone and upload the images to me to monitor their compliance, the fitting of the trays, and the expected improvements. Additionally, it also can detect some dental diseases like gingivitis and cavities. It allows for more efficient patient scheduling, increased patient compliance, and personalized messaging.
For Affinity Dental Care’s existing active patients who want to have straight, nice teeth and smile, I will review their file to ensure enough required information. I will also check whether their oral care is up-to-date and no contraindications against having aligner treatment. Once I see that all the criteria are met, my office will mail them the DenToGo package to take the diagnostic photographs of their teeth and facial aesthetics necessary for the orthodontic diagnoses. After the patients complete the pictures, they can send the information to my office using the provided secure messaging apps.
The apps can also do virtual checks and scans, communicate with Affinity Dental Centre, and book the necessary appointments whenever and wherever the patients want.
Patients can have the treatment, monitoring, and supervision done virtually without stepping into the office, except for adding engagers on the teeth, interproximal stripping, auxiliary attachments and teeth cleaning and check-up, etc.
If you are interested in getting your teeth straightened out using the Clear Aligners, you can contact Dr. Wong at Affinity Dental Care for more information.
Office Is Open
Call Dr. Wong at his dental clinic at (289)-861-5111, Affinity Dental Care, if you want to speak to Dr. Wong about your oral health issues that can be related to your overall health. Smile is the key to better total body health. Check out our Burlington Affinity Dental Care location.