ChatGPT has increased the profile of AI (Artificial Intelligence) significantly in the past year. When we usually think of AI our default view is that of the Terminator series. Self-thinking robots that wreak havoc on the public without feeling or bias could be the future but right now let’s focus on the good stuff.
As with any new technology there is the initial scramble for implementing it into the right industries and tasks. Since we are just in the beginning of the AI revolution there will be many failures where we realize what is achievable and what is not. Some of the implementation will be used for harm, such as military weapons, be there is also great potential for helping humanity in all sorts of ways.
How will AI improve Dentistry?
I honestly can’t answer that question with any certainty but what I can tell you is what is happening at the moment and how it will help both the Dental industry as well as the medical industry as a whole. AI will not doubt change the industry as well as how we live, but in the meantime lets stick with Dental and the small steps of improving a patient’s well-being.
The purpose of seeing a new or old patient is assessing their overall dental health. This can be done by going through the patient’s history and/or having a quick check of their mouth. But the best tool for getting a thorough diagnosis is through an X-ray. 40 years ago, they flopped a 30 lb. protective blanket over your body, stuffed some cardboard (film) in your mouth, told you to bite down, and then you were told to hold your breath until they left the room, took the images, and returned. It’s a lot simpler in 2023 and with much better imaging.
AI at the moment is not a replacement for Dentists but an extra added technology which improves the treatment as well as diagnosis. As mentioned above X-rays are an integral part of assessing the patient’s current health and is a large part in deciding if and when a patient needs treatment. As these X-rays are more detailed there is more information for the Dentist to review which in some cases gets overlooked.
VideaHealth a medical technology company from Boston, Massachusetts in the US has created AI technology which can assist in viewing and diagnosing what the X-ray reveals. This product known as VideaAI is not a replacement for a doctor viewing your X-ray but an extra pair of eyes to make a proper diagnosis of the obvious and not so obvious.
Issues such as a cracked tooth or cavities can in most cases be seen by the naked eye although sometimes not so obvious. But there are issues that are not easily seen through an X-ray which include the early stages of periodontal disease (gum disease) which currently can be seen in 45% of American dental patients. This technology can also guarantee better diagnosis of cavities, abbesses, legions, various oral diseases as well as false positives.
How does this specific AI Technology work?
With an algorithm trained on hundreds of million data points the technology can detect issues that would never have been picked up by the dentist by just reviewing the images. For example, current diagnosis can miss up to 50% of dental decay in patients. As such a patient will not just suffer from the current condition but in many cases the decay can lead to gum and bone (jaw) infections.
Those who suffer from chronic issues such as heart disease and diabetes are more susceptible to dental complications which can start to affect the rest of the body. Many of these complications can be prevented with the new AI technology. Doctors are not infallible and can easily miss the obvious and not so obvious. Any advantage they can get will help not only the patient but the productivity of the Dentist and the clinic.
Many patients are a skeptical when it comes to procedures which they don’t understand. Many feel that they are unnecessary or just another added cost. With AI technology many false positives and missed diagnosis will become a thing of the past, mostly. No technology is 100% accurate although with AI becoming more powerful and ubiquitous it will no doubt affect us in a positive way, unless the Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 or T-800 shows up at your door looking for Sarah Conner.
Is there other AI Technology for the Dental Industry?
AI has the potential to revolutionize the dental industry in various ways, from improving patient care and diagnostics to streamlining administrative tasks. Here are some of the key areas where AI is being applied in dentistry:
- Dental Imaging and Diagnostics: AI can aid in interpreting dental radiographs (X-rays), panoramic images, and CBCT scans. Deep learning algorithms can help detect dental caries (cavities), periodontal disease, and other oral conditions with high accuracy. This assists dentists in making more precise diagnoses and treatment plans.
- Robotics and Automation: AI-powered robots can assist dentists during procedures, such as dental implant placement, by improving accuracy and reducing the risk of errors. Additionally, robotic systems can be used in dental laboratories to automate tasks like creating dental restorations (e.g., crowns and bridges).
- Personalized Treatment Plans: AI can analyze patient data, including dental records and medical histories, to develop personalized treatment plans. This ensures that patients receive treatments tailored to their specific needs, increasing treatment success rates.
- Virtual Dental Assistants: AI-driven virtual assistants can handle routine patient inquiries, appointment scheduling, and follow-up communications. This frees up human dental staff to focus on more complex tasks and enhances patient experience by providing instant responses.
- Predictive Analytics: AI can analyze large datasets to predict patient outcomes, identify trends in dental health, and help dentists proactively address potential oral health issues. This proactive approach can lead to early intervention and prevention of more severe dental problems.
- Natural Language Processing (NLP): NLP-powered AI systems can assist dentists in extracting relevant information from patient notes, research articles, and medical literature, helping them stay updated on the latest advancements in the dental field.
- Tele-dentistry: AI, combined with telemedicine technologies, can enable dentists to remotely diagnose and consult with patients, especially in rural or underserved areas, improving access to dental care.
- Dental Education and Training: AI-powered simulation and training tools can help dental students and professionals enhance their skills by providing virtual practice scenarios for various procedures.
- Oral Health Monitoring: AI can be integrated into wearable devices or smartphone applications to monitor oral health metrics continuously. This data can help individuals maintain better oral hygiene habits and allow dentists to track their patients’ oral health between visits.
This is a lot to chew on, but this is just a tip of the iceberg. For instance, the X-ray technology is being used for other medical diagnosis such as breast cancer. Mammograms which are a huge part of detecting breast cancer has been known to sometimes be hit or miss. With the introduction of AI, the screening, just like with dental, has become more accurate. I’ve linked a fantastic article which explains this tech and the upside for female patients.
As we have seen recently with other technology, such as Smart Phones, a few years can make a world of difference in both speed and usefulness that just a couple years in the future this tech can be revolutionary. We can only hope it will benefit all of us but as we have seen all technology can be used for nefarious goals with AI being something that could revolutionize the way we live, and unfortunately, die.
Consider Budapest as a viable alternative to NHS dental services
The ongoing NHS crisis in the UK shows no signs of improvement, and in some instances, the situation is anticipated to deteriorate further. If you’re among the many silently enduring or raising your voice in protest, the responsibility falls on you to seize control and address your dental concerns. Waiting for external aid is futile, and it’s certain that whatever dental issues you’re facing will only escalate.
Hungary’s medical tourism sector (receiving UK, Norwegian, Icleandic patients) was specifically developed to tackle these pressing challenges faced by sufferers like you. With cost-effective procedures, cutting-edge technology, and skilled practitioners, there’s simply no reason not to at least reach out for a consultation with our dentists in Budapest. This consultation will swiftly provide you with the reassurance and essential information needed to initiate action. Don’t procrastinate or allow minor, manageable dental problems to snowball into something more severe. We eagerly await the opportunity to connect with you soon.