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Remote consultations in orthodontics: factors to consider for success

From Volume 16, Issue 2, April 2023 | Pages 69-73


Guy Deeming

BDS(Hons), BDS(Hons), MFDS, MSc, MOrth

Specialist Orthodontist, Queensway Orthodontics, Newcastle upon Tyne

Articles by Guy Deeming


Remote consultations in orthodontics were quickly thrust to the forefront of the orthodontic profession during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. With the UK public now accepting telephone consultations and various video applications as a convenient and secure method of communication, it seems likely that, even after the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic have dissipated, increased use of remote consultations will continue to be seen as desirable. It is therefore important that orthodontists, and any other orthodontic staff who have been delegated the task of being involved in teleorthodontics ensure they are aware of the limitations as well as the benefits of teleorthodontics. They should also be able to demonstrate competence in how to effectively and appropriately carry out teleorthodontic appointments remotely with patients.

CPD/Clinical Relevance: It is likely that patient expectations surrounding traditional face-to-face consultations will change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the opportunity to investigate and explore new ways of working should be embraced. Working through the considerations that must be taken at each stage of the remote consultation as well as the use of appropriate checklists will ensure that the risk of human error is reduced, while undertaking remote consultations in orthodontics.


Telehealth is defined as the entire spectrum of activities used to deliver care remotely, without direct physical contact with the patient1 and, in medicine, has been shown to confer advantages such as cost-effectiveness, improvements in quality of care provided to patients2 and reductions in waiting times.3 Its use has been demonstrated globally, particularly in remote areas where access to specialized medical advice is challenging.4 Importantly, the safety, convenience and effectiveness of virtual clinics in medicine has also been reported5 and hospital trusts in the UK encouraged the use of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic as a method of maintaining communication with patients.

Teleorthodontics can be considered as a subset of telehealth, and is broad term that encompasses remote provision of orthodontic care, advice, or treatment via information technology rather than direct personal contact.6 Unlike telehealth, which has been widely used by GP practices for several years, teleorthodontics is a concept that may have been considered as fledgling or unusual prior to 2020, but which has been quickly thrust to the forefront of the orthodontic profession, largely due the COVID-19 pandemic.

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