Tele-dentistry? Delta Dental offering virtual visits to handle off-hour emergencies

Program is intended to replace regular visits but to provide more-convenient assistance when an ER may be only other option

Imagine you have a dental emergency after the normal office hours – or when you’re away from home and away from your normal coverage areas. Delta Dental says it now has you covered.

In an effort to literally ensure its members have 24/7 care, Delta Dental is teaming with to provide Delta Dental Virtual Visits, a program that will provide emergency assistance while preventing a trip to an emergency room.

Delta Dental officials said the service is not intended to replace regular dentist visits, but rather to serve as a convenient way for members to evaluate emergency dental needs no matter where they are and at all hours of the day.

Members can use the Delta Dental Virtual Visits service when they:

· are having a dental emergency and do not have a dentist;

· need access to a dentist after hours;

· need a consult with a dentist without leaving home or while traveling.

Dennis Wilson, CEO of Delta Dental of New Jersey and Connecticut, said the program is a value-add for members.

“We believe that everyone deserves a healthy smile,” he said. “No matter the time of day or where they are, our members should have access to great oral health care.

“This partnership with helps members get immediate attention without first visiting the emergency room if they are experiencing a dental emergency and can’t reach their regular dentist.”

Dr. Keith Libou, Delta Dental’s chief clinical officer, said the service is not necessarily a new benefit. He said emergency exams have been covered. The virtual visits in conjunction with are simply another way to access an already-covered benefit, he said.

Libou said emergency exams provided by will be treated like any other emergency examination.

“They are covered at the same benefit level as if the emergency exam was provided in an office,” he said. “If a plan typically would not have an exam count against the deductible, then it would also not have a deductible if provided by”

The service is not unlimited.

Libou said the virtual visit is an emergency exam being provided by the service with a dentist licensed in their respective state.

“These emergency exams count against the annual examination benefit the exact same way that any other examination would,” he said. “Usually all exams, including emergency exams count towards the annual exam benefit limit.”

After the consultation, will refer the member to a local in-network dentist for further treatment.

Dr. Vilas Sastry, CEO of, said his company is excited by the partnership.

“ is dedicated to improving access to dental care,” he said. “Our team of dentists are ready to help with a virtual emergency examination, prescribe medications as appropriate, and then refer patients back to their regular dentist or to Delta Dental so they can select a participating Delta Dental dentist if they do not already have a dentist they routinely see.

“We are proud to partner with Delta Dental of New Jersey and Connecticut to help support their members with a virtual dentist visit anytime, anywhere.”