Teledentistry: An Innovative Workforce Model for Dental Hygienists
Objective/Aims: This review of literature seeks to explore teledentistry as an alternative dental hygiene workforce model that places a dental hygienist in the role of the mid-level practitioner as part of a digitally-connected oral healthcare team. It will also emphasize the innovative methods of teledentistry, giving better health care delivery to diverse populations.
Methods: The review of the literature analyzed the conclusions and discussions of primary and secondary scholarly articles from PubMed, Google Scholar, Embase, and CINAHL. Specific key terms included teledentistry, telehealth, teleconsultation, dental hygiene, dentistry, workforce model, health care delivery. Articles included in this review were published within the five last years.
Results: Multiple scholarly articles were compiled together to emphasize the importance of technology-centered dental health care for patients who were unable to travel long distances to retrieve the care they were seeking, Key limitations the research often indicated include geographic, socioeconomic barriers or distance.
Conclusion: The teledentistry-assisted model presents one way to answer the call to expand overall access to oral healthcare. The comparison of articles supported the efficiency and cost-effectiveness method of teledentistry in comparison to face to face consultations. Teledentistry is especially beneficial to addressing the access to care issue, particularly populations in rural areas and even penitentiary institutions.