There are increasing efforts to improve access to oral health services for underserved populations through the adoption of innovative models of care that have been shown to improve population oral health. Teledentistry is one of the models often used by safety net providers caring for the underserved. Safety net providers’ use of teledentistry promotes access to a variety of oral health services, including screening, examination, assessment, specialty care consultation, patient education, and continuity of care for their patients.
Researchers at the OHWRC will examine state regulatory climates—particularly those policies enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic—that serve as facilitators of teledentistry services provided to the underserved. In collaboration with the National Network of Oral Health Access (NNOHA) and national experts in teledentistry, including Dr. Paul Glassman, OHWRC researchers will conduct a mixed-methods study that includes a 50-state assessment of state laws, regulations, and policies related to teledentistry as well as a small number of case studies that will highlight best practices in teledentistry by safety net providers. As part of the study, a teledentistry infographic will be developed to highlight state variability in requirements that facilitate the provision of teledentistry. The current project will build on previous research conducted on this topic.