The Role of Teledentistry Prior to and During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Teledentistry from an Oral Health Perspective: A Review of the Literature

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Saudi Digital Library
Problem Statement: The nations of the world faced an unexpected health crisis in 2020 due to the discovery of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), now commonly known as the COVID -19 pandemic. COVID -19 presented a global challenge to all aspects of life. Oral health professionals in their practitioner role had to follow the World Health Organization (WHO) & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations by providing remote monitoring for their patients using teledentistry. Purpose: The intent of this extensive review of literature is to investigate the role of teledentistry during a global pandemic and its associated benefits, effectiveness, and barriers on patient oral healthcare outcomes and identify oral healthcare providers' knowledge, attitude, and perceptions on the utilization of teledentistry telecommunication tools during virtual patient appointments. Methodology: An extensive review of the literature was conducted utilizing electronic databases and websites of seminal journals and professional organizations and associations. Specific databases used to conduct the literature reviews include EBSCO Host, PubMed, and CINHAL; accessed through Old Dominion University’s Libraries and direct access to the American Dental and Dental Hygienist’s Associations’ websites. Inclusion criteria were limited to peer-reviewed journals. Use of keyword searches such as Teledentistry, Telehealth, Telemedicine, Pandemic, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), COVID 19, Remote Patient Monitoring/ Synchronous and Asynchronous, as well as documents exclusive to professional organizations such as Access, RDH magazine, and the American Dental Hygienist’s Association. Articles selected were no greater than ten years old. Discussion: Teledentistry is a multidimensional solution especially important during a global pandemic to address the challenges in providing remote patient monitoring, and oral health promotion, using telecommunication and videoconferencing tools. 3 Conclusion: There is emerging evidence supporting the benefits, effectiveness, and efficacy of teledentistry in providing remote patient monitoring, consultation, education, and as a potential solution in the workplace during a global pandemic. Additionally, oral healthcare providers who had foundational training and knowledge resulted in positive perceptions on the utilization of teledentistry telecommunication tools in the workplace.