A Teesside dental clinic has taken consultations and care digital in a first for the company as part of its effort to support patients through the Coronavirus pandemic.

With face-to-face appointments on hold until current restrictions are eased further in line with the Government’s roadmap, Queensway Orthodontics’ new way of working means patient care can still be supervised safely.

The orthodontic team have set up remotely in their homes across the region to deliver this support for existing patients in treatment or people looking to start orthodontic treatment. Queensway is offering the virtual consultations for free, for both private as well as part of their service for NHS orthodontic patients.

It is an easy process using Queensway’s  Smile Mate application. Patients can use their mobile phone to submit photographs of their teeth and answer some simple questions. The Queensway team then review, and a Specialist Orthodontist and Treatment Coordinator will carry out an initial consultation and provide advice and guidance for next steps.

Through using digital options Queensway is driving the industry forward and reinventing their patient experience by converting to online a wide range of appointments that would have previously required a face-to-face appointment. This allows its team to develop the practice experience in line with the guidance for social distancing and delivering dental treatment as well as reduce the inconvenience of multiple practice visits. This will give the patients the best experience possible throughout treatment make the physical environment more pleasant and even safer for when they do absolutely have to visit.

As well as this contactless service, the team have been offering existing Invisalign patients Dental Monitoring AI driven remote treatment management, and launched an online shop so people in orthodontic treatment or wearing retainers can have oral-hygiene supplies delivered to their doors while they can’t visit the dentist.

Dr Guy Deeming, Specialist Orthodontist at Queensway, said: “Our commitment to providing care to both new and existing patients has never been more important. We strive to deliver an exceptional patient experience for all, especially in exceptional times like we are today.

“We have totally revived and revamped the whole patient experience and journey – we only want to see people face to face if they absolutely have to, thus making people and staff safer in the process.

“COVID-19 has been a catalyst for accelerating our existing plans we are now dedicated to a complete reinvention of the orthodontic experience. By offering digital alternatives we are able to reduce the amount of face to face contact that we have with a patient by between 20 – 40%, this means that even when we come out of lockdown it will make our services significantly more accessible as patients don’t have to travel, take time off work or out of school. We are seeking to create a positive future for orthodontics and patients in the wake of this catastrophic system shock to the industry.

“The whole Queensway team are working tirelessly behind the scenes to support our patients and make things run as smoothly as possible while we’re all at home. While we hope we never experience times like these again, we now have a robust digital model in place so patients can count on us to be there no matter what. We can’t wait to welcome people back into our practices when it’s safe to do so.”

Queensway Orthodontics now has five practices across the North East – Billingham and Jesmond which are well established and three new practices in Bishop Auckland, Consett and Darlington.

The virtual model has also been adapted for general dental enquiries, with virtual appointments available with Queensway Dental. Patients complete an online enquiry form and may be asked to send photographs. A member of the Queensway reception team then gets in touch to set up a virtual appointment via Zoom. Before the appointment the Queensway team review the photographs and online form, and one of the Partners carries out the appointment. A recommended treatment is given and a next appointment can be booked for when the practices reopen, as well as a welcome pack sent out in the post in the meantime.