In the updated policy, the ADA states that it believes that examinations performed using this technology can be an effective way to extend the reach of dental professionals. 

The American Dental Association (ADA) has updated its teledentistry policy. 

For the policy first adopted in 2015, the ADA has come out now to say it believes that examinations performed using this technology “can be an effective way to extend the reach of dental professionals” and can also “increase access to care by reducing the effect of distance barriers to care.” This care, according to the policy, can take a number of forms, including synchronous live video, asynchronous/store and forward, remote patient monitoring, and mobile health.

The resolution stated that “teledentistry has the capability to expand the reach of a dental home to provide needed dental care to a population within reasonable geographic distances and varied locations where the services are rendered,” and that “in order to achieve this goal, services delivered via teledentistry must be consistent with how they would be delivered in-person.” 

This policy, Res. 16H-2020, was adopted during the 2020 meeting of the House of Delegates. The ADA mandates that all policies are reviewed every 5 years. The ADA Council on Dental Practice, in consultation with other ADA councils and specialty groups, reportedly took the lead on reviewing and soliciting feedback on the policy. 

The ADA made clear that services delivered via teledentistry “must be consistent with how they would be delivered in-person” and that examinations and subsequent interventions performed using this care modality “must be based on the same level of information that would be available in an in-person environment.” The policy further states the dental professional’s legal responsibility to ensure that all records collected are sufficient for the clinician to make a diagnosis and treatment plan. 

The policy also points out that dentists who deliver, direct, or supervise teledentistry services should be licensed in the state where the patient receives services unless otherwise authorized by a state’s dental board. 

The policy also address patient rights, pointing out that patients have the right to know the identity and qualifications of the oral health providers involved in their teledentistry appointment, and the costs they are responsible for in advance of the delivery of services, and to be actively involved in treatment decisions. 

The resolution also address the role of dental insurers, stating that both public and private insurers should cover services provided through teledentistry at the same level as if services were delivered in a traditional in-person visit. 

The updated policy also covers quality of care, supervision of allied dental personnel, additional patient rights, and technical considerations.