How Artificial Intelligence Could Change the Face of Dentistry

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t a new concept. In fact, it was first mentioned in the 1950s by Minsky and McCarthy, who were considered to be pioneering experts in the field. They referred to AI as a task performed by a machine or programme that, if a human was to carry out exactly the same activity, the person would have to use intelligence to succeed in completing the task. The sorts of tasks could be anything to do with planning, reasoning, the sharing of knowledge and problem-solving.

Since those early days computers have increasingly taken over tasks normally associated with humans. This has enabled industries of all types to manufacture products more efficiently. AI is now so well developed that medicine is using it in a multitude of situations, enabling better outcomes for patients.  When a patient visits an emergency room, diagnosis is faster and more accurate. This means the right treatment is given, which means less delay than might happen if doctors have to discuss a case before deciding on a diagnosis.

AI is also being used to improve communication between medical personnel. In the long run, this all means that by patients getting the right treatment in the fastest time frame reduces time spent in hospital so reducing the stress levels of family and friends.

How the Watson platform uses AI to help the medical profession

The Watson platform was introduced by IBM into medical facilities to assist oncologists to come up with the most appropriate treatment for patients.  All the doctor has to do is input a patient’s diagnosis into Watson which at a touch of a button instantly recommends the best treatment suited to the data it has about the patient. It has already been fed with information provided by medical journals.  With this huge amount of accumulated knowledge, its AI allegedly comes up with the best treatment plan.

AI for dentistry makes its mark

AI is now being used to improve the efficiency of dentistry. Dr. John Kois has developed a similar AI model to IBM’s Watson called Evidentiae. It focuses more on using cloud-based dental software. It concentrates on information processing at the patient level, starting with an online patient history form and all the data relevant to the patient’s treatment.

Evidentiae’s algorithm has been designed to extract data from both medical and dental histories which have been inputted into it and charted examination findings. This enables the technology to generate a full overview of the dental health status of your patient. It has been so well developed that it is able to come up with a valuable diagnosis for periodontal issues and dento-facial alterations. It’s the best AI assistance yet invented for the dental profession.

A few years ago CephX understood the need for artificial intelligence in the dental industry. In response, they created the first cephalometric analysis intelligent algorithm. It enabled orthodontic practitioners to upload their patients’ cephalometric scan and to receive in a matter of seconds a full cephalometric tracing and analysis. This technology improved dramatically the way it was done, because now dentists could instantly receive a full and accurate analysis.

AI and Big Data in Dentistry

With AI and big data making inroads into dentistry soon algorithms will be diagnosing dental problems and the diagnosis will be sent directly to you. This is a step ahead of CephX and cephalometric analysis which is currently helping you with instantly tracing and analysing cephalometric scans. However, it is starting to move quickly as it is developing more intelligent algorithms for the orthodontic industry. One of them is the algorithm that can instantly segment all of your patient’s teeth.

Deep-learning in machine learning is becoming relevant to Dentistry

Advanced technologies that are disrupting all of our lives are also helping to revolutionize dentistry in numerous ways. Deep learning, which is an AI cutting-edge technique in machine learning, is using layered neural networks which are patterned on a human’s brain. Traditionally machine-learning relies on rules that have been handcrafted but defined by experts in human domain but do not improve with bigger datasets. Deep learning has the capacity to create its own unique rules that do improve when more data is added, making it particularly suited at interpreting unstructured data that’s required for more advanced applications like self-driving cars, the prediction of earthquakes, detection of disease and diagnosis and recommendations for treatment in medicine. Dentists do actually have some access to an AI deep learning platform for the detection of cavities today.

AI that can read CT scans for dentistry

Research and development of AI is progressing at such a fast rate that software are already able to read and interpret CT scans and other dental images. In the near future, it will suggest the best diagnosis and treatment which it has gleaned from its ability to review and analyse countless images that have been stored in numerous patients’ databases. What’s particularly important to dentistry is the speed and accuracy that emerges from the use of AI.

The medical profession is presently benefiting a lot from VisualDx, an AI technology that doctors can use to input patient symptoms and any relevant images and within a matter of seconds plausible diagnoses can be retrieved. This AI is soon likely to penetrate the dental industry.

The future of AI in the next decade

In the medical field at least AI is going to become increasingly relevant. This will result in administrative practices being far more streamlined. This, in turn, leads to a reduction in costs. It’s expected that there will be a far higher chance that any unnecessary medical procedures will be avoided, which should heighten patient satisfaction. This is all due to the way information is being inputted and the way humans are communicating with devices.

In the early stages of storing information, a human had to manually enter data. Graphical user interface (GUI) came next, followed by the development of the touch screen and the rapid evolution of mobile devices. All this, coupled with massive improvements in internet connectivity, has brought us to where we are today.

The dentist and a virtual assistant

Human voice recognition is increasingly being used to input information into an AI device. In a decade or so, dentists and others in the medical community will be communicating with AI devices using their own voices. AI will be able to assimilate and analyse data and recommend the best treatment options. This will be happening in the dentist’s chair, where communication with the dentist and the AI device will sound quite natural and not stilted.

It won’t be just a computer standing side by side with the dentist, but a virtual assistant using AI. It will be provided with so much data to analyse that it will come up with just the right treatment in orthodontics and other dental procedures and the future care requirements for the patient, dependent on data that it has been given to analyse. The virtual assistant will be able to make recommendations regarding future care requirements which will depend on the genetic data of the patient.

Summary

In the near future, AI will be able to help the dental practitioner spot a possible tumor, or other irregularities in teeth or gums, through an X-ray or CT scans. Artificial intelligence is already used in some medical centers to improve the efficiency of health care delivery. Software is being further developed to make surgery and imaging test timetabling more efficient by predicting how long each scheduled procedure will take. This and other innovative solutions can easily be adapted for use in a dental practice. CephX’s technologies which are all based on AI are trying to achieve exactly that.

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