At one point in time, we looked at AI (artificial intelligence) as an idea of something that could be in the distant future. Well, that distant future is here and artificial intelligence is seen everywhere. Every time you ask Siri a question, that’s artificial intelligence. Every time you open your phone with a facial ID, that’s artificial intelligence. And soon, we’re going to see it applied in the area of dental treatments too.
Before we dive into how AI is changing the dental industry, why don’t we first clarify exactly what AI is? Artificial Intelligence is exactly what it sounds like – intelligence that is not human. It’s the ability of machines (like computers and robots) to develop human-like thinking abilities. Artificial intelligence is able to learn new things, create rules based on things that are learned, and make predictions based on these rules.
Take your social media accounts for example. Social media runs on artificial intelligence. Each and every time you make a search or perform an action, the intelligence behind that social media is learning more about you and your preferences. And this is how it chooses what ads to place on your account. It’s making predictions based on your past behavior.
And in the dental industry, artificial intelligence will soon be able to do the same. No, it won’t be predicting what types of music you listen to or what types of clothes you like, but it will be able to predict dental decay and dental treatment outcomes.
Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, for example, have recently discovered that artificial intelligence may be able to use an algorithm to predict the “risk of regenerative outcomes after peri-implantitis treatment”. This algorithm could be used to predict the risk of peri-implantitis before the application of dental implants.
In other areas, artificial intelligence may also soon be used to predict things like dental decay and even oral cancer. Creators are currently looking at different ways that artificial intelligence can both predict oral cancer and assist with early diagnosis. The intelligence will be used to capture images and analyze images of oral lesions to help distinguish between benign, malignant, and potentially malignant lesions.
Third payer companies are starting to use this technology to review certain submissions. Thousands of clinical cases are submitted and AI uses this data to formulate determination decisions. Whether or not this is acceptable to the dental community is another issue but it’s coming. Companies such as Pearl has developed software geared toward dental practices and insurance companies.
Of course, these are advancements that we can look forward to in the future of dentistry, but how can we take advantage of AI here and now? Many dentists are now using what is known as the “D Assistant”. This assistant is designed to, you guessed it, act as your own personal assistant. Just say the words and this AI can help you to analyze data, schedule appointments, provide reminders, and even make suggestions about dental procedures. There are companies that are working on this technology to work in dental offices so be on the lookout for those.
In conclusion, there’s a lot to look forward to when it comes to artificial intelligence in the dental industry. No, you don’t need to worry about artificial intelligence taking over your job, but you can look forward to it helping you out in ways you probably never dreamed of. If we can use artificial intelligence to lower error rates and improve the quality of care, it might create better outcomes for all aspects of dentistry which is something we can all benefit from.
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