Transforming Dental Care using AI



AI is modernizing the traditional aspects of dentistry. AI-based systems are often used for designing automated software programs that streamline the diagnosis and data management in dentistry. Mostly they are used as clinical decision support systems that assist and guide experts to make better decisions. These systems have been used for better diagnosis, treatment planning, and also for predicting the prognosis. The demand for these systems is booming due to their effectiveness in providing explanations and reasoning.


AI in Diagnosis


Although large dental cavities get noticed quickly, small incipient cavities do not get identified during a routine check-up. The rate of missed caries from X-rays is 20% or more. Automated cavity detection is, without doubt, one of the popular AI-based dentistry options. Hundreds of radiographs (X-ray photographs) are fed to machines that study patterns. Based mostly on this, the cavities can be recognized by the software in a couple of seconds.


Pearl is a startup that believes that AI can be the dental practitioner's always-on assistant and the patient's most trustworthy friend. The company offers technological solutions that prioritize the needs of the dentist and the patient. Pearl leverages computer vision experience in ushering in a "new wave of AI-powered dentistry tools." Tools such as the "Second Opinion" are a visual platform that endorses inconsistent x-ray readings. The platform is designed to identify pathologies instantly. Additionally, the Second Opinion platform by pearl is "trained on x-rays annotated by a team of world-renowned dentists" and makes use of the dentists' live feedback to improve its system.


ORCA Dental AI is a company that focuses on creating dental imaging solutions to improve dental practices. ORCA Dental combines its clinical expertise with machine learning, AI technologies, to create diagnostic reports, treatment plan suggestions, and smart clinical predictions for its users. The company provides solutions for different categories, such as orthodontics, prosthetics, and diagnostics.


DentaliQ of Cellmatiq uses AI automation to reduce the case analysis time from 15 minutes to mere seconds. It aids in the identification of relevant diagnostic points in x-rays and pathology of orofacial structures. Dentem uses AI to identify problems within dental x-rays and provides other services such as the Dentem scheduler. This integrates machine learning applications to auto-populate tooth charting, thereby synchronizes appointments across all platforms and maintains all patients' records electronically.


It's the ability to lean on AI-styled technology to help confirm their diagnosis or help them not miss issues that are hard to spot for dentists. Such startups may also help insurance companies process their massive influx of dental images more quickly. Denti.AI is a cloud service that interprets dental images with machine learning, thereby helping dentists find more pathologies, minimizing false positives, motivate patients by objective "second opinion," and treat them earlier.


Dental Monitoring is the first AI-based company to target dental professionals and improve the care they provide to their patients. It simplifies the connection between dental professionals and patients, facilitates follow-ups, and provides a more effortless virtual experience during treatment.


GumGum, a new healthcare startup focused on the dental industry, has applied machine learning in dentistry with several outcomes: reducing fraud for insurers, validating dentists' performances, automating workflows inside the dental office, and integrating diagnostic tools that can be distributed and updated remotely.


Smart brushes in the market that reminds folks that they do not brush adequately. Soon these brushes will identify hairline cracks, cavities, and upload images into the cloud. The data will be further sent to the dentist, who will reach out to the patient.


Treatment planning using AI


AI can assist dentists while placing implants or dental prostheses by make 3D dentures after analyzing radiographs with the assistance of AI. AI's algorithm provides coordinates of the maxillary & mandibular arch, enabling an accurate outline of the arch anatomy. Furthermore, an automated technique based on CNNs has been used to staging lower third molar development to estimate the age of a person after applying on panoramic radiographs. The system showed remarkable results when compared to the trained examiners.


Overjet is a startup focused on using AI to help dentists and insurance companies understand dental scans. While most medical imaging AI services are focused on finding out if there is anything wrong with the patient, Overjet claims to "go one step further," helping to not only note that there is a problem but the extent of the issue itself by analyzing the clinical data at scale and determining what treatments are necessary.


Dentem has a software program named Dx Vision that detects anomalies from X-Ray. While planning for tooth extraction, the physician could put on smart glasses and get real-time imagery of the person's affected jaw bone and tooth bone construction. This makes the extraction fast and straightforward. Similarly, a UK based company CT Dent claims to identify an ideal nerve in 4.5 seconds. Nerve injury many times results in a lawsuit where dentists are sued for malpractice.


Robo-Dentist


Since the robotic dental surgery assistant Yomi first came on the market in 2019, more and more patients have stared up at its plastic-sheathed metal arms. Now the company behind it, Neocis, is making sure that robots are proliferating in operating rooms around the country, with more than 6 million robotic-assisted surgeries taking place across multiple specialties. They've been scanning, excising, and drilling into brains, hearts, and bones for years, but it has only been in the past few years that robots have acquired the dexterity necessary to start rooting around in people's mouths.


In fact, Yomi is the only robot that's been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration for dental implant surgery. The Neocis robot is a navigational tool used in planning and completing dental implant surgery. Traditional techniques to dental implantation cut away a flap of tissue to expose the jaw bone. Using the Yomi robot, doctors don't need to be quite so invasive with their surgery and can implant teeth more quickly, and with less risk of complications from extensive surgeries, the company said.


Tele-dentistry


Virtual consultations and appointments are becoming the new normal for dental practices. A Colorado-based TeleDentistry startup called SmileSnap provides orthodontic virtual consultation to make oral healthcare accessible from anywhere. Denta Mitra claims to be the world's first AI Virtual Dentist App. The oral health scanner based on artificial intelligence revolutionizes verbal health tracking by the mere touch of one"s smartphones. The startup hires through referrals and virtual campus placements from top colleges. Every candidate goes through a 3-months internship and a 6-months probation period before getting a permanent status in the firm.


The next frontier


With so much of technical advancements, we're certainly on the threshold of a new era of AI-enabled dentistry. With the latest capabilities enabled by deep learning techniques, AI will begin to impact dentistry on a clinical level. The first-hand experience of development-stage technologies (i.e., caries detection) has already demonstrated AI's potential value in everyday practice. It has been confirmed that these tools can recognize things on images that even the most experienced dentist may otherwise miss.


In the very future, deep learning analysis tools for images, assisting in diagnosing and treating periodontal disease by enabling early detection of bone loss and bone density changes can be foreseen. Detection of peri-implantitis and early intervention is a likely benefit in implant dentistry. In orthodontics, more sophisticated predictive models for tooth movement will likely enhance digital treatment planning. Applying deep learning image analysis to oral cancer will lead to earlier detection and more accurate diagnoses with lifesaving implications.


Although robotic surgery is being taught in two dental schools in the US, its use is controversial. Many surgeons who advocate for the robot have strong feelings based on their anecdotal experience and perceived relative advantages, while others may have been influenced by industry marketing. Critics, on the other side, argue that users overstate the benefits of this technology and are unwilling to accept the limitations.


In the future, dentistry will be the first to benefit from clinical results, cost reductions, improved access, and patient satisfaction. Dentists need to use all their acquired knowledge to diagnose and decide the best treatment option. They are also required to predict the prognosis where they need accurate clinical decision-making skills. However, in some cases, dentists do not have enough time to make the right clinical decision in a limited period. AI applications can serve as their guide to make better decisions and perform better, and we will continue to see AI rapidly employed in the practice management and growth arena.





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