Clinician's Corner: Artificial Intelligence in Dentistry

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September 29th, 2021

When we think of artificial intelligence (AI), we may have visions of robots that are going to overpower human beings and take over the world! But in fact, AI allows machines to make decisions that otherwise would require human expertise, and helps people solve problems faster. It can perform complicated tasks in seconds, which may take a person minutes or hours to perform.

AI is all around us in the products and services we use every day. Online shopping, Netflix and Youtube algorithims are all examples of AI at work. AI learns our behavior and then presents other options to us. If you have Siri (by Apple) or Alexa (by Google), those devices are also powered by AI through a type called Natural Language Processing. They can understand speech and actually talk to us! There are many other examples of how AI is enhancing our lives and helping process data faster than humans.

In dentistry, AI is being used in a variety of ways that can make dental offices more efficient and enhance the services and treatment you receive. AI is being used by dental insurance companies to verify your insurance benefits and streamline the dental claims process. It is also used in practice analytics to help the dentist understand the needs of their patients and customize the services in their office. If you receive any dental lab services such as mouthguards and crowns, AI is used in the manufacturing process to make these devices and improve speed and quality.

Illustration of teeth in a dental X-ray

Another area that is being researched is the use of AI to read and interpret dental X-rays. Interpreting and diagnosing problems such as dental decay on X-rays can be quite difficult and time consuming. AI can be used to review the X-ray, and then identify areas that need treatment – such as dental decay or bone loss around teeth. Not only can the AI technology do this much faster than your dental professional, this technology also helps the dentist to either confirm areas that need treatment or to find issues they may have missed. While AI will never replace your dental professional, the goal is to assist them by improving the accuracy of the diagnosis and allow them to identify the treatment that is needed more easily.

As research and development of AI in the field of dentistry continues, there will be more new opportunities for it to provide helpful tools and services to patients, dentists and dental insurance companies.

This information in this post is for general educational purposes only and does not warrant or represent any information as related to health as specifically appropriate for you. It is not intended to be medical advice or replace the relationship that you have with your health care providers. You should always seek medical advice on any diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health care provider. The information is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied.

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