Providers14 June, 2022



Providers14 June, 2022

Patient health improvement relies on the inevitable diagnosis. The same could be said about the future of dental diagnosis using AI (Artificial Intelligence). 

Since AI technology entered the picture decades ago, recent progress has accelerated its evolution.

Dental AI enhances traditional X-rays

This in no way undermines expertise, training, or the skilled diagnostic integrity you bring to analyzing X-rays and providing patient care. It’s more about supporting your clinical proficiency.

Diagnostic accuracy isn’t in question. But there are occasions where the margin for error is too narrow for comfort.

AI and ML (Machine Learning) technology provides an objective view when you’re faced with a difficult diagnosis, the predictive or comparative analysis of a patient’s condition, or even a business of dentistry decision.

AI considers the findings of millions of data points to reach a

conclusion that can support rather than suppress your ultimate diagnosis. Karen Panetta, PhD, dean of graduate education, and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Tufts University School of Engineering, adds this perspective:

”AI has the capacity to learn the expert opinions and diagnosis from being trained on large sets of images that could help ensure regions of interest are not missed by the human observer,…

The real power…is that it can process and analyze the images much faster than a human, so it can offer diagnostic service accessibility to healthcare providers that may typically send images off if they don’t have in-house dental radiologists.”

Reliance on X-rays, images, and radiographs is a dental industry standard. Patients trust that a picture is worth a thousand words.

The proper and effective use of AI encompasses professional intellect, skilled objectivity, and practical wisdom. Those, combined with a willingness to learn, could set your dental organization apart.

Here’s our case for AI becoming the future of dental diagnosis:

Imaging analysis

Reliance on X-rays, images, and radiographs is a dental industry standard. Patients trust that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Though errors aren’t out of the question, they likely have less to do with what’s captured in the image. Any misdiagnosis is the result of limited perspective or an overlooked detail.

  • AI can be “trained” to recognize subsets of image data for application to the case at hand.

  • AI can utilize a scope of imaging data to increase diagnostic accuracy across a variety of cases.

Orthodontic assessment

Visual and scan-based observations reveal much about progressive tooth alignment issues. There could be limitations for detecting the deeper impact of misalignment or dental overcrowding on a patient’s teeth.

  • AI can help assess tooth position and detect areas of overcrowding, etc.

  • AI provides an assessment of how much “pressure” or guidance to apply for proper and accurate tooth alignment. 

Early dental disease detection

Emphasis on “early” gives AI a diagnostic advantage. Patient health and lifestyle data can reveal the potential and/or current phase of disease presence or progression when compared with current data.

Capable disease detection could apply to oral cancer, periodontal disease, or other oral health related abnormalities.

Clinical assistance

Repetitive or routine tasks can lull clinical teams into otherwise unproductive workflows. Those same routines could also increase the likelihood for diagnostic challenges.

  • AI automates repetitive tasks and workflows.

  • AI can provide comparative analysis within patient records to streamline pre- and post- treatment protocols.

Business of dentistry scalability

There’s a direct connection between your dental practice or DSO operations and your care standards. Operational systems trickle down into clinical protocols.

  • AI can automate patient data analysis leading to better treatment planning and scheduling.

  • AI is equipped to scan patient records for unscheduled treatment that supports current diagnostic communication with patients.

AI has come a long way since its inception a few decades ago. Frankly, there’s no comparison.

And perhaps that’s the point: the ability to compare your diagnosis alongside the comprehensive discoveries made by AI. This helps improve the accuracy and quality of your patient care.