Virtual Orthodontic Visits? How is that possible?
“Virtual orthodontic appointment” refers to meeting with your orthodontist over the internet, using a variety of formats such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Facetime, and other proprietary dental formats such as #Invisalign Virtual Care. The advantages include convenience, because travel time is eliminated, and you can use just about any device that accesses the internet. From a safety standpoint, some of our patients have not left the house for some time, and virtual orthodontic visits allow them to interact with Dr. Schur and other team members.
What are the limitations?
The limitations include:
- Inability to adjust and properly assess the integrity of orthodontic appliances.
- Inability to properly assess bite function, which is a major aspect of quality orthodontic treatment.
- Inability to assess TMJ issues such as joint popping and muscle pain.
- Inability to assure that the bite assessment is done with the jaw properly positioned–this is a key element of proper assessment!
What types of visits work well?
Thanks for asking! 🙂 The following types of visits are well-suited to the virtual format:
- Initial screening visits to determine if it makes sense to schedule a proper in-person orthodontic assessment.
- Pretreatment consultations, where x-rays and photos are reviewed, and treatment options discussed. Screen sharing is an important aspect of virtual consultations.
- Assessing orthodontic emergencies when an in-office visit isn’t possible.
- Some routine progress assessments, such as with Invisalign aligners or elastics.
Schur Orthodontics’ philosophy regarding virtual orthodontic visits:
Many trends come and go in orthodontics, and demand for teledentistry has been strongly driven by the COVID epidemic. We believe that virtual orthodontic visits are here to stay, because of the convenience and efficiency. That being said, convenience isn’t the most important aspect of care, and virtual visits should be reserved for situations that can be done without compromises in quality of care. It is important that offices have a clear policy on what types of visits are amenable to the virtual realm. That being said, we love taking part in virtual visits, and we welcome the development.
If you would like to schedule a virtual orthodontic screening visit, please click here, or call our office at 425-747-4477 and we’ll be happy to schedule one for you!