Innovations in technology, especially in the digital world, have revolutionized our lives; it has brought immense information, shopping, healthcare, banking and more, at our fingertips. With digitization, many tedious and repetitive tasks can be automated, errors from human operation can be eliminated, and processes can be more convenient.
Where healthcare is concerned, we have seen wide-ranging changes like virtual physician consultations, electronic health records, digital imaging, remote monitoring of patients through wearable healthcare devices, and so on. The field of dentistry has also been impacted by the technology revolution. It is chiefly visible in these areas: diagnosis tools like digital radiography, laser fluorescence, digital imaging of fibre-optic trans-illumination, crown or bridge implants with CAD/CAM assistance, digitally assisted surgery and restorations and so on.
Technology in Dentistry
Such technological advances have helped dentists provide improved quality of care, and also enhanced the effectiveness and reliability of dental procedures. AI is another trending technology that is likely to have a massive impact on dental care, according to healthcare technology experts.
AI technology in dentistry will rely on machine learning – training using past data. It is believed that the entry of artificial intelligence technology can introduce several innovative paths to clinicians, and equip them to provide superior dental care to patients. From efficient communication and optimal scheduling of patients to providing more informed and quality diagnoses, AI will help improve the quality of dental care with its numerous applications.
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An important AI application in dental care is the detection of caries from bitewing radiographs. You may find it hard to believe, but detecting caries is by no means an easy job; it takes a lot of time and effort. Previously, a dentist would need to look at least 10 to 15 bitewing radiographs every single day, in the process of checking for caries on over 300 proximal surfaces. This used to cause fatigue, and it’s only natural that a caries lesion here or there would remain undetected. Due to the differences in training, cognitive errors in the classification of health and disease, perception errors, and so on, more problems were created in the correct diagnosis and proper treatment of the issues.
However, artificial intelligence can help dentists and technicians to overcome these and other challenges in dentistry. Potentially problematic areas can be highlighted on radiographs, leading to a significant reduction in undetected caries; it will also help bring about uniformity among clinicians. It can also be employed as a tool to educate patients about the condition, create awareness about the causes, effects, treatments, precautions to be taken, and so on.
Artificial intelligence can be leveraged to deal with patient appointments scheduling so that provider utilization can be optimized, and the productivity can be maximized. It will also ease the work of the staff, and has the potential to do away with the need for the provision of extensive training for new employees.
Smart Patient Communication
AI can be utilized for providing effective resolution to queries from patients – post-operative or otherwise. Only if the software is unable to provide a proper resolution, will the query be directed to the dentist. This way, the time and effort spent on answering simple, routine queries (post-op care, how to identify emergencies, what to expect after procedures, and so on) by the clinical staff can be significantly reduced.
The Future of Dentistry
AI and other technological applications in dentistry are in their infancy – what we are seeing is merely the tip of the iceberg. We can expect to see many more technological advances that may radically alter the way dental care is delivered to patients now. All such applications are likely to be incorporated in the routine workflow, and maximize precision and effectiveness. Eventually, this means quicker treatment cycles, reduced number of patient visits, reduced over-treatment, and minimal rates of failure – which translate into reduced overall expenditure, as well as greater access to dental care services.