Teledentistry Trends in the United States During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors: Miranda Werts | Prashanta Patel, DDS, MPH, FICOI | Elizabeth Mertz, PhD

Topics: COVID-19, Oral Health, Telehealth

Research Center: Oral Health Workforce Research Center

November 16, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic upended the healthcare system and prompted the use of telehealth by providers in medicine, behavioral health, and oral health. Dental providers are particularly susceptible due to the aerosols generated during dental procedures that could facilitate COVID-19 transmission. This high risk resulted in the suspension of many routine dental procedures in the early days of the pandemic, severely limiting access to oral health services. Across the US, states have implemented teledentistry in response to COVID-19 in varying degrees, including parameters such as existence of teledentistry regulation, Medicaid reimbursement of telehealth (including teledentistry), payment parity, state Medicaid expansion, Medicaid dental benefits for adults, and direct access for dental hygienists and/or dental assistants.

This report reviews the use of teledentistry following the COVID-19 pandemic in 4 states—California, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—and the supports needed to enhance dental care in a post-COVID-19 world.

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