“Hey Alexa, play my favorite song.”
Whether you’ve uttered that sentence or not, you know what it’s about.
Over the last few decades, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come a long way, empowering people everywhere to better learn & create, or simply pass off mundane tasks to a computer program.
The once-fictional concept depicted in movies such as “2001: A Space Odyssey” has evolved into a companion you now keep in your pocket. (“Hey Siri, what’s the weather look like today?”)
Surprisingly though, it appears that relatives of Alexa & Siri have taken a few dental classes, with AI in dentistry beginning to play a more meaningful role.
While the idea of robots cleaning teeth is far from reality, various algorithms and other features of AI now aid many dentists in their practices.
So, what role will it play in the future of dentistry? Let’s explore how AI is making its mark, and how it could impact the future.
Overjet: Dentistry on Steroids
The tool doesn’t interfere in everyday checkups, but instead operates in the background while examining X-rays of your patient’s mouth.
As the program detects and highlights problem areas, it also creates a powerful visual aid to show your patients. Levels of decay are clearly shown in red for a patient’s ease of understanding, while dentists can measure effects of gum disease with millimeter-level precision.
The Overjet programs create an easier way to show patients exactly what’s going on in their mouths, and offer a great complement to your verbal explanation.
And, when patients can see for themselves, the rate of treatment acceptance goes up, which is always a major goal.
Says one Overjet customer, Dr. Ankoo Raina, “This is like dentistry on steroids.”
More than likely, more AI programs like these will play a major role in the future of dentistry.
As tools like intraoral scanners grow in popularity, the digitized data they collect gives plenty of opportunity for software to analyze the results. Missed diagnoses could be reduced, and more effective treatment options can be developed.
The Future of Dentistry Could Rely on AI for Career Advice
How would you know which direction to take your career unless you knew your available options?
Well, that’s exactly the sort of problem ADA Practice Transitions (ADAPT) hopes to solve.
With a slew of retirements facing the dental industry, the need for replacing outgoing doctors with new recruits is a critical one. But, how can you decide which practices, treatments, and locations are best for you unless you’ve been exposed to them?
ADA Practice Transitions (ADAPT) is doing exactly this, by helping you find the right match for your next career move.
ADAPT works similarly to your favorite streaming services, like Netflix or Hulu. First, you fill out an answer form for questions regarding treatment preferences, technology likes and dislikes, how you prefer staff roles to be divvied up, etc.
From there, ADAPT does its thing, not only matching you to positions you’d probably enjoy, but also taking things a step further.
Much like when Netflix offers suggestions to test the reaches of your normal viewing habits, ADAPT will occasionally suggest something just outside of your comfort zone, expanding your horizons and opportunities.
And, just like your streaming services, over time, ADAPT becomes better and better with its recommendations, making it a tremendous help finding your next big role.
The future of dentistry may rely more and more on interactive learning software like this. As we enter a more connected world, and sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices available, having a little help narrowing things down can make a huge difference.
Pearl: the AI Stopping Insurance Fraud
It’s no secret that insurance fraud is a huge problem in the dental field. In fact, it’s estimated that approx. $12.5 billion of the $250 billion spent on dental care every year is lost to fraud.
But, the future of dentistry might just have an ally in AI.
Software provider Pearl has launched AI tool specifically designed to catch and prevent this sort of crime.
Their programs examine intraoral scans & radiographs, putting a ‘red flag’ on scans that match, or nearly match, previous claims.
How effective is it? Well, during its pilot program, they were able to detect as much as $6 billion in insurance fraud. How’s that for impressive?
Not only does it catch fraud, it also sorts claims based on how strong they are. For the strongest claims, less human review is necessary, cutting down on the time it takes for approving legitimate treatments.
Though this AI is only a year or so old, it’s sure to have a major role in the future of dentistry. And, as time goes on and information becomes more digitized, it’s only natural that AI will play a more significant role in analyzing the information.
Other Potential Uses For AI in Dentistry
While these are a few of the more prominent roles of advanced software, they’re far from the only ones.
Those steering the drive towards incorporating AI in dentistry hope to create a more connected and organized office all around.
To that end, one goal is to better track records of past patients. For example, if you work with a patient for ten years, you’ll probably have a good understanding of what works best for them and what doesn’t.
But, what happens if you retire or move to another location? Through AI, a thorough collection of saved information can be passed along to their next doctor, beyond just official treatment records.
Or, much like social media algorithms recommend friends and content similar to what we regularly interact with, the future of dentistry could see AI recommending relevant, appropriate information customized to what you’re interested in.
And already, a major use of AI in dentistry is through programs to help manage your busy schedule.
Some programs now automate insurance processes, scheduling of appointments, and even operate website chatbots to help patients seeking answers to questions online.
In the future, expect to see more programs like these as technology continues to improve.
As time progresses, the future of dentistry appears to be intertwined with AI.
Whether something simple, like chatbots, or something more advanced, like detecting missed diagnoses, it’s only growing in importance as time goes on.
What’s important to keep in mind here is that these tools are never meant to replace humans entirely.
Human dentists will always be the core of the practice.
It’s impossible to treat someone if you don’t truly understand their needs, fears, and emotions.
While the image of a robot treating a patient’s teeth all on its own might not be coming anytime soon, the future of dentistry inevitably lends itself to AI.
About First Choice Dental Lab
First Choice Dental Lab is a full-service dental lab with locations in Downers Grove, Il. & Wauwatosa, Wi.
We manufacture & customize quality dental restorations for general dentists. We create smiles based on your needs and budget.
We’re here to help you give your patients a reason to smile!
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