Digitization is seeping in every industry and healthcare sector has also seen extensive changes. Health records, high-resolution digital imaging, and virtual patient visits are some of the advantages of digitization. Dentistry has also been influenced by the digital revolution in the form of CAD/CAM assisted crowns/bridges, caries diagnosis tools such as digital radiography, optical coherence tomography, digital imaging of fiber-trans-illumination, and laser fluorescence. Digitization in dentistry also brought digitally-assisted treatment planning for implant surgery/restorations.
Digitization has not only increased the efficiency but also improved the predictability of procedures. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have a significant impact on dental care. With the capability to train the sophisticated AI technology, new possibilities will open up that will enable clinicians to provide better dental care. Dentistry will receive benefits like efficient patient scheduling, effective communication, and making better and more informed diagnoses of the ailment.
Caries Detection with AI and Bitewing Radiography
AI is applicable in the detection of caries from bitewing radiography. An average dentist analyzes 10-15 sets of bitewing radiography on a daily basis while scanning for caries on more than 300 proximal surfaces. Hence, leaving carious lesion unnoticed is common due to provider fatigue. Inter-operator variability incorrectly diagnosing and treating caries causes problems due to errors in perception, clinical training, and cognitive errors of classifying health and diseases.
AI can help in overcoming these challenges by highlighting potential problem areas on the radiographs thereby decreasing the chances of missing caries. Practiced continuously can build consistency among practitioners. Other than caries diagnoses, AI can also be used as a patient education tool increasing treatment acceptance and disease awareness.
Other Implementations of AI in dentistry
Smart Scheduling: Patient appointment schedules to drive optimal results and maximizing productivity are possible through AI. The burden of personnel hiring and training is inimitable via AI as well.
Smart patient communication: Simple queries and post-op instructions could effectively be answered using AI, or the dentist can be directly involved if necessary. Information on what to expect after the surgery and how to recognize emergencies can be delivered effectively conveyed to the patient. This process saves time by scheduling and clinical staff on handling prescription refill requests.
Future of Dentistry
The benefits mentioned above are just scratching the surface with AI applications. There are multiple applications of AI in dentistry, and these applications will completely change the dental care industry. Once applied to dentistry, improved efficiency and accuracy can be witnessed by maximizing routine workflow. Patient treatment duration would be shorter; patient visits would be quicker, treatment and failure rates would be reduced leading to reduced overall costs.