The dentistry industry, sometimes known to be slow in adopting new technologies, is increasingly taking advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to provide better patient care and services.
AI in dentistry context
The COVID-19 pandemic saw numerous technologies emerge to facilitate a wholly contactless and remote business model. During this period, dentists saw the massive potential that automation could bring to their clinics. For example, during the pandemic, many patients in developed countries relied on teleconsultation to access many forms of oral care.
By employing AI solutions, dentists can identify gaps in treatments, measure the quality of products and services, increase profitability, and standardize patient care. AI systems can further integrate computer vision, data mining, predictive analytics and diagnosis, and treatment planning into a notoriously manually-intensive sector.
The rise of AI in dentistry is mainly being driven by the typical economic and administrative benefits of scale. Consolidation, on the other hand, also implies the consolidation of practice data. As dental practices combine, their data gets more valuable. The pressure to combine operations into groups will increase as AI transforms their combined data into larger revenues and smarter patient care.
AI-powered desktop software and mobile apps are already being used in dentistry; one example uses algorithms to analyze clinical dental data to improve patient care and increase clinic profitability. Likewise, AI systems are gradually matching the diagnostic ability of skilled dentists, which can help improve the accuracy of diagnoses. These systems can identify parts of a patient’s teeth and mouth, and diseases from dental x-rays and other patient records, to suggest the ideal treatments for each patient. They can also categorize patients into those with chronic or aggressive dental issues.
Machine learning can further ensure consistency of care, as AI systems can provide second opinions. Automation can help link practice and patient data with diagnostic and treatment outcome data, as well as automate claims validation and streamline workflows, all to establish new standards of care and operating efficiencies. AI systems can even perform select dental tasks independently, such as designing onlays, inlays, crowns, and bridges with greater accuracy. In addition, AI is being used to enable some tasks to be hands-free in dental offices, improving efficiency and limiting contamination.
Applications of AI in dentistry
Example applications of AI in dentistry may include:
- Robots taking on the role of dental assistants, including sterilizing rooms and equipment, organizing tools, and guiding patients to the right operating rooms.
- Dentists using predictive and diagnostics analysis to create a comprehensive treatment plan for each patient, with proper scheduling for consultation and follow-ups. Such investments would involve dentists being trained in data analysis and interpretation.
- Data analysis being used to better maintain equipment and tools by charting when they are being used, how often, and when replacements are required.
- Dental practices establishing completely remote registration and consultation processes, including using chatbots to answer repetitive patient queries.
Questions to comment on
- Would you be interested in having AI-enabled dental services?
- What other ways can AI improve the experience of going to the dentist?