Teledentistry services are a popular way for patients to receive remote care for oral issues. One area that has seen much fanfare over the past few months is dentists' ability to prescribe medications virtually. Many patients have questions on the process and wonder whether they can receive prescriptions during a virtual dental consultation. These restrictions on teledentistry are necessary for patients to understand and impact the care they receive. This article will look at prescription medications, and under what conditions a dentist can prescribe them remotely.
Are Dentists Allowed to Prescribed Medication Without an In-Person Visit?
As of right now, the answer is yes; dentists can prescribe prescription drugs virtually. Patients are currently able to receive prescriptions even without an in-person examination. This relatively new decision only went into effect nationwide on January 31, 2020.
The DEA announced this change in response to the state of emergency the United States entered at the beginning of 2020. The DEA has allowed the remote prescription of controlled substances for the duration of the national health crisis.
During the state of emergency, patients can get their prescription drugs without an in-office for a visit. There still are some requirements to receive a prescription, but this makes it significantly easier for patients to get new prescriptions.
Will Virtual Prescriptions Always Be Available?
As noted, the DEA has said this change would last for the duration of the national emergency. That means it's likely that the ability to prescribe controlled substances will not be indefinite and will be revoked as things return to normal.
That, however, doesn't mean that new options won't open up for teledentists. Having virtual prescriptions being successfully done now could mean that teledental laws and restrictions are loosened in the future. It may be that this proves the viability of such a system, and moves are made to make it a more permanent staple of the dental field. Virtual prescriptions are something that will undoubtedly be watched closely by dentists and patients alike.
What Is the Process to Get Prescribed Drugs From a Dentist?
There are specific criteria that must be met before you can take advantage of receiving virtual prescriptions:
- The prescription must be one that is given for a legitimate medical purpose and that would typically be prescribed during the course of business.
- There must be real-time communication with the dentist before the prescription is written, and it must be done over a two-way, audio-video platform.
- The prescription is written in accordance with any applicable laws at the state or federal level.
Interesting to note is the requirement for real-time communication. Patients must have direct contact with a dentist in order for the dentist to write a prescription. A patient can't merely email a dentist or call them on the phone, there must be video, and it must happen in real-time.
These prescriptions can be called into or forwarded to a local pharmacy as usual.
Other Benefits of Medication Prescription Using Teledentistry
Outside of receiving new prescriptions from a dentist, there are still many uses for teledentistry regarding medication prescription. Probably the most obvious one is getting refills for existing medications. These often require a dentist's signature, and doing so via teledentistry eliminates unnecessary trips to the office.
Teledentistry can also be used to get feedback for non-prescription drugs. There is a range of over-the-counter medications that patients often use to help with dental issues. Using teledentistry, dentists have the ability to assess the situation, and then (if the prescription medication seems unnecessary) recommend effective non-prescription options to treat symptoms until an appointment can be scheduled. Being able to talk to a dentist can help you decide which medications are the best choice for your situation.
Teledentistry and Prescription Drugs
At least for the time being, it looks like teledentistry will play a significant role in helping patients get medications. Even after the current state of emergency, receiving medical feedback on non-prescription drugs, or getting prescription refills from a virtual dentist will be invaluable to many. There are undoubtedly many more advancements to come for the telehealth industry as it continues to offer safety plus convenience.