dentist who is doing telehealth

Telehealth in Dentistry: Legal Regulations

As more aspects of life become digital, it shouldn’t be surprising that medical services have entered the digital sphere. Telehealth — including teledentistry — is now practiced to some extent in every state. If you are considering adding teledentistry to your existing practice, you should understand how state and federal regulations affect you.

Teledentistry Is Legal Everywhere

The most important thing to know is that some degree of teledentistry is legal in every state and the District of Columbia. However, that doesn’t mean that regulations are identical in every state.

In some states, like Arkansas, teledentistry has no additional regulations beyond traditional dentistry. However, in Illinois, teledentistry is legal only when you’re treating a patient who can’t come into an office due to an illness. Texas falls between those extremes, requiring dentists to document their visual examinations before providing care.

Insurance Reimbursement

Coverage for teledentistry will be provided at the same levels as coverage for identical in-patient services. You can’t charge an additional fee due to the technology involved in the procedure.

This is a positive and a negative. You won’t get less money for a procedure performed using teledentistry than you would for one in person. However, this also means you can’t use teledentistry to reduce the insurance cost of a patient near their coverage limit.


Dentists are licensed by the state. Typically, to provide medical services in person, you need to be licensed in the state where you are practicing. The same isn’t necessarily true for teledentistry.

Some states require that all dentists, whether present physically or digitally, are licensed by the state. Other states allow supervising dentists to practice teledentistry as long as at least one state-licensed dentist is present in person. Finally, some states allow teledentistry as long as the dentist is licensed in the state where they are located.

Quality of Care

Just because you aren’t physically present in the room, that doesn’t mean you can give a lower quality of care than you give at in-office visits. The care you provide through teledentistry must be consistent with the level of care you would provide if you were treating the patient in person.

This means that if you can’t provide an appropriate level of care for a specific type of treatment when using teledentistry, you should refrain from offering that service digitally. Teledentistry is never an excuse for providing subpar care.

Technical Standards

What type of equipment can you use while performing teledentistry? There are several technical options available, depending on the services you offer. You should confirm that those options meet medical standards both for the state where you are located and the state where your patient is located if you are practicing on out-of-state patients.

Emergency Services

Another regulation that changes between states is how you need to deal with emergencies. For starters, your oath as a doctor applies regardless of whether you are in the same room. If your patient experiences an emergency, you should do whatever you can to get them assistance.

However, some states require more preparation than that. You may be required to have local emergency numbers available before starting treatment, another person present physically with the patient, or even a local dentist present. Make sure you are aware of the regulations before starting a session.

Contact Our Experienced Nationwide Dental Lawyer To Determine What Regulations Apply

With different regulations in every state, it may seem almost impossible to be aware of all teledentistry regulations. A dental practice consulting attorney at Mahan Dental Law can help ensure that your practice conforms to applicable regulations wherever you are located nationwide. Always consult before making decisions that could harm your practice.