MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Dental Care in partnership with oral health specialists and dentists from the WVU School of Dentistry are providing greater access to dental care for rural West Virginians through teledentistry.
According to a WVU press release, teledentistry is the process of connecting patients to dentists online, using videoconferencing platforms like Zoom. Dr. Lauren Godwin, an assistant professor of restorative dentistry at WVU, said the program will help many West Virginians.
The program is going to be vital for rural West Virginians because in some of the rural parts of the state they just have a lack of access to some of the specialty clinics and sometimes dentists in general. If we can provide an appointment, especially if they’re in pain, or have an immediate concern, we can then provide them with a dentist or specialist that can either schedule them an in-office visit or provide them information about what they’re seeing on the video call and really just kind of increase access to care to those in need in our state.Dr. Lauren Godwin – Assistant Professor of Restorative Dentistry
Godwin said the virtual visits can help with things like patient education and providing temporary treatments. She admits that there will obviously be some complications with the teledentistry method, but she said it will still be highly effective and life changing.
Hopefully, she said, as the program progresses, dentists should be able to access patients’ files and have access to x-rays and other records that can make the job easier.
“We’re just really excited to be able to provide this opportunity to patients in rural West Virginia,” Godwin said. “But also patients that because of COVID it’s not a good time for them to leave the house if they have a dental emergency and they have concerns about coming into the office.”
Godwin said if patients have to have an in-person visit they can rest assured that WVU is taking all the necessary precautions to ensure their safety.