Sir, I read with interest the recent publication entitled 'Head and neck cancer presentations in the emergency department during the COVID-19 pandemic'.1 The collateral damage due to the COVID-19 pandemic due to neglect and delayed diagnosis of concurrent oral and other systemic diseases is now well known. This article clearly illustrates the case in point, and highlights a mere sliver of the UK population where such neglect led to increased severity of their disease, occasionally with deadly outcomes. The profession should now learn from this experience and appraise how such pandemic-induced collateral damage could be forestalled in the future.

One approach that could lead to significant remediation of this situation is the wider use and popularisation of teledentistry, defined as 'the remote facilitating of dental treatment, guidance, and education via the use of information technology instead of direct face-to-face contact with patients'.2This is particularly true when viral diseases such as monkeypox are re-surfacing,3 and COVID-19 is declared an endemic infection with its variant viral subpopulations.4

Currently, there appear to be several challenges in adopting teledentistry as a care management tool, such as its novelty and the resulting reluctance among both dentists and patients to accept it. These concerns need to be allayed to popularise its utility, which will undoubtedly come of age as a robust diagnostic and patient care management tool owing to the increasing use of cloud-based data services, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data resolution through bioinformatics.5

It is time that authoritative professional bodies promulgate guidelines on the use and utility of teledentistry, and universities include it in their curricula as an integral health management tool. Further, teledentistry can also complement the current compromised dental health management systems in the UK.