Technology has always been at the forefront of medicine. As technology evolved, so did medicine as the two are closely related to each other. Today, there is hardly any field of medicine that has not been impacted greatly by technology. In fact, these two disciplines are so tightly coupled that it is impossible to separate them. Institutions of medical education are in fact institutes of the study and application of the most modern available technology to healthcare.
From its origins as probably the first specialty of medicine, dentistry has evolved by leaps and bounds over the passage of time. The application of technology has ensured that dentistry is showcased as a specialization of medicine that is always armed with cutting edge technology. Whether it is digital x-rays, 3d modeling, diode laser or transillumination, dentistry uses technology to minimize patient discomfort and reduce healing time.
Artificial intelligence has been making inroads into medicine for a while now. As it slowly gains acceptance in traditional medicine, AI has been developing solutions for the dental industry. As it has been with dental implements, materials and implants, AI technology has now begun to play a pivotal role in dentistry.
Reasons for the adoption of AI technology in dentistry:
Although there are many reasons for the adoption of artificial intelligence in dentistry, there are a few that stand out:
Many insurance policies do not cover dental care. This is the case with nearly 80% of health insurance policies issued in India today. Costs of dental procedures can rival traditional surgical procedures and although the latter may be higher in cost, they are readily covered by insurance.
AI can help patients manage their costs by ensuring dental hygiene through information permeation and prompts. With more and more users owning smartphones and wearables, AI can help them reduce dental problems by maintaining optimal dental hygiene.
Apps like BrushDJ can help maintain dental health in an innovative way. BrushDJ plays music for a specified period of time, and that time is the time needed for effective brushing. The app also prompts periodic visits to the dentist and reminders to brush, floss and rinse at regular intervals. Apps like ColgateConnect have similar features but require a compatible toothbrush for optimal guidance.
Medicine relies on the accuracy of diagnosis and detection precision to provide relief. With AI built into diagnostic equipment, variations due to clinical training, perception errors and cognitive errors can be reduced to the bare minimum.
Simple tasks like scrutinizing Bitewing radiographs can be done with AI built into the X-ray machine itself, reducing the strain on the dentist and increasing treatment acceptance and disease awareness.
AI can also increase precision in dental care by reducing common misdiagnoses and increasing detection consistency.
A popular example is the usage of AI in the interpretation of CBCT or Cone Beam images. As intelligent composite image analysis can establish and detect dental pathologies quickly, with much higher accuracy than traditional diagnosis techniques. Apps like ADA Symptom Checker can help patients and providers with possible diagnoses for their current condition.
AI-based precision apps like Kolibree can help reduce problems before they occur. Solutions for caries detection like Dentistry.ai can enhance caries detection by up to 85%. Other apps like Denti.ai speed up radiograph analysis and can reduce the time taken to analyze a single radiograph by up to 95%.
ORCA dental AI is another pioneer in the dental sector that has helped speed up the creation of diagnostic reports, treatment charts and post-care. This reduces costs and variations at the same time as AI can leverage a database of diagnosis against the current set, providing the dentist with accurate data for more effective treatment.
Scheduling revisits and handling patient queries is a task that requires resources. AI can ensure that patients are always informed in time and that caregivers can assign slots to patients accordingly. This can avoid potential delays in procedures and help boost the credibility of the dentist.
The foremost reason for visits to dental care providers after a procedure is aftercare queries. Artificial intelligence can ensure that patients get access to the information they need right after a procedure, with learning mechanisms built-in.
This will ensure that not only do patients get the information they need, but also get answers to possible problems they may face and what to do to avoid such situations. AI in post-procedure care will also reduce the strain on care providers, allowing them to focus on patients rather than on queries, which can be highly repetitive.
Apps like DentalAnywhere and PediatricDentistry can go beyond the clinic and help you with commonly asked questions about pre and post-operative dental hygiene.
Solutions like 2Dental can leverage available solutions and work as a highly efficient office assistant that can automate dental office management, increase office productivity and improve the patient experience, all using one seamless interface. These apps also help doctors and patients schedule appointments, check schedules and enhance dental care post a procedure.
The field of artificial intelligence has grown at a tremendous pace. Although the advances of AI in the field of medicine like neural networks, image recognition and speech recognition have transformed the field of medicine and dentistry in many ways, the penetration of AI in mainstream dental procedures is still relatively low.
Companies undertaking research projects in this area understand that biological systems are much more complex compared to the available artificial intelligence technology. However, as this technology grows and evolves, it will impact and empower decision-making abilities, procedure outcomes and patient health overall.