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The Future of Dentistry — How will technology transform a Dental Practice?

Not too many years ago, technology was in its infancy, something new and wonderful to be marveled at. Today, it is as engrained in our daily lives as a limb on our bodies. It is hard to imagine a world without it. The dental industry is no exception to this reliance on technology, with notable influences of the tech revolution with tools such as CAD/CAM assisted crowns/bridged, digitally assisted treatment planning for implant surgery/restorations, diagnosis tools such as digital radiography, digital imaging of fiber-optic trans-illumination, optical coherence tomography, laser fluorescence, etc.

The advancement of technology has not only improved the quality of dental care but also its efficiency and the number of successful procedures. With Artificial Intelligence (AI) on its way, you have to wonder what will the next advancement be?

AI and Dentistry

Technological advancements have definitely helped dentists provide improved quality of care along with better reliability and effectiveness of dental procedures. AI is a trending tech that we believe is likely to change the face of dental care forever.

AI technology in dentistry will rely on machine learning which means that the machine will train using past data. It is believed that the entry of AI can introduce several innovative paths to clinicians, which equips them to provide higher standards of dental care to their patients. From efficient communication and optimal scheduling of patients to providing better diagnoses, AI will help improve the quality of dental care with numerous applications.

Radiographs

One of the most important applications of AI in dental care is the detection of caries from bitewing radiographs. In early days, a dentist would need to look at least 10 to 15 bitewing radiographs every single day in the process of checking for caries on hundreds of proximal surfaces, under such conditions it is likely the dentist would miss a few caries lesion due to work fatigue, and human error. Additionally, due to the difference in training, cognitive errors in the classification of health and disease, perception errors, and other problems were created whilst correctly diagnosing and treating the patient.

AI will help dentists and technicians overcome such challenges (and more) in the dental industry. It will help erase the potential problematic areas on radiographs, leading to a major drop in undetected caries, which will also bring consistency 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.

Smart Scheduling

AI can be of huge help when dealing with patient appointments scheduling, so that the provider can maximize your productivity and efficiency. It also eases the work of the staff, and can possibly do away with the need for the provision of extensive training for new employees.

Staff Hiring

Whether for locum or full time employment, AI can be utilized to better match employers with staff to speed up the hiring process while lowering recruiting costs. This can result in faster turn arounds in ensuring staff are ready for work, and making sure the employer and worker are a good fit.

Smart Patient Communication

AI can be used to provide effective resolution to queries from patients, where if the software cannot provide for a proper resolution the query will be directed to the dentist. This way, time and effort is saved on answering simple queries by the clinical staff. 

The Future of Dentistry

What we have seen to date in the world of machine learning is just a teaser to a movie, because AI and other technologies are just starting to flex their muscles. We can expect to see many more technological advances that will change the face of dental care delivered to patients around the world. All such applications are likely to be integrated in the routine workflow, and maximize effectiveness and precision. Eventually, this will result in quicker treatment cycles, reduced number of overtreatment, and minimal rates of failure, which results in an overall decrease in expenses and greater access to dental care services. 

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