Dr. Dean C. Bellavia



Is Hybrid Orthodontics for You?

Thursday, 04 February 2021 10:34
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Have you considered doing Teledentistry (virtual dentistry)?  Are you aware of how much your patients might appreciate it?  Do you think that it would be too difficult to set up in your practice?  Well maybe this pearl will help you to decide.


Schools are not the only hybrid social entity today, much of the world’s services are now hybrid (both electronic & in-person).  Most orthodontic services need to be done in person, but many don’t.  All of those “look-see” patient visits can be done virtually saving the patient/family the inconvenience of a trip to the office for the few minutes it takes to tell them what they need to know.


The patient/families that can benefit from virtual orthodontics include:

  •    Pre-Active Observation Recall patients (with the TC & DR)

  •    Pre-Active patients wearing habit or holding appliances (with the TC & DR)

  •    Ph-I and Full Retention patient recalls (with the TC or DA & DR)

  •    Hygiene program patients (with the DA & DR)

  •    Headgear and other appliance patients being monitored (with the DA & DR)

  •    Any archwire appointment not requiring the removal of appliances (with the DA & DR)

  •    Patients with cell phones and appropriate apps


You can schedule virtual appointments just as easy as you can schedule in-person appointments:

  • Indicate the patient’s name, the type of virtual appointment, their cell phone number and type of call (any HIPAA compliant software: go to: https://www.accountablehq.com/post/hipaa-and-software-development) and the appointment day and time to call them.

  • Have that appointment printed out on your daily schedule (just as for in-person appointments) with the designated person responsible for the appointment (TC, DA, etc.).

  • Have the receptionist call that patient at the designated date & time.  If the receptionist doesn’t make contact, treat it as you do any missed-appointment patient.

  • You may find that these virtual appointments are best done at a certain time of day; i.e., mornings, pre-lunch, after the Tx day is over, certain days of the week, etc.  It is probably not best to mix the virtual calls throughout the day with the in-person patient appointments.

  • If the virtual patient has a problem (breakage, etc.) schedule them for an in-person appointment.


When conducting a virtual appointment, make sure the patient has the same app on their cell phone as you do (or have them all on your phone) so that you can call them and observe the state of their dentition, oral health, etc.


Have the receptionist call that patient at the designated date & time and then give the phone to the person responsible for that patient.  Or, have the responsible person call that patient/family.  Don’t have the doctor call; just give him/her the cell phone when contact is made.


Since the virtual treatment calls are included in the patient’s treatment (as they should be) you won’t have to set up payment mechanisms to pay for the call.  This is a big advantage over telemedical calls by physicians.


You might find the attached PDF “ADA Policies on Teledentistry” worth reading.


I hope that this pearl has helped more than confused you on how Virtual Orthodontics can help make your practice more state-of-the-art and patient-centered. 

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