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    Why artificial intelligence is the future of dentistry

    AI is already taking over the medical landscape, and soon it will affect dentistry.

    The ability of computers to assume tasks for humans has dramatically improved efficiency in every industry from manufacturing to transportation. Medicine is getting into the game big time. Dentistry will be obliged to follow.  

    Medicine is deploying AI to take on challenges from diagnosing patients more quickly in emergency rooms, to streamlining communication between doctors, to lessening the risk of complications so that patients can go home sooner from the hospital — dramatically reducing reinfection and readmission rates, improving outcomes, increasing value and decreasing costs.

    One incredible way medical patients are benefiting is from AI’s ability to assist clinicians with making diagnoses. IBM brought AI into mainstream medicine when it offered its Watson platform to cancer centers to help oncologists determine the best treatments for patients. Physicians plug patients’ diagnoses into IBM’s Watson for oncology and instantly receive treatment recommendations based on each patient’s data and information pulled from reams of medical journals. In dentistry, Dr. John Kois’s Evidentiae is grounded on a similar model.

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    Evidentiae is an innovative cloud-based dental software with a highly streamlined digital workflow, starting from online patient history forms all the way to patient checkout that revolves around the patient’s risk. Evidentiae's algorithm is designed to pull information from medical and dental histories as well as from charted exam findings to generate a comprehensive overview of your patient's dental health. It develops an extensive diagnostic opinion for periodontal concerns, biomechanical parameters, functional decision making and dentofacial alterations. It is designed to provide practitioners with the most comprehensive documentation available to date, along with the ability to utilize this information in case presentation.

    There are technology developers who are now focusing on software that can read CT scans and other medical and dental images and then suggest the most likely diagnosis by reviewing similar images stored in patient databases. And these kinds of processes can accurately process these tasks far faster than human technicians. A program in medicine and soon in dentistry called VisualDx allows physicians to input images as well as patient symptoms and immediately pull up a list of possible diagnoses.

    AI is also now being used in several hospital systems to improve efficiencies. The software is being developed to optimize scheduling for surgeries and imaging tests by predicting how long each scheduled procedure will take. This software will be easily adaptable to the dental practice.

    AI is projected to be incorporated into every area of medicine over the next 10 years, virtually eliminating unnecessary procedures and streamlining administration. Clinical outcomes will greatly improve. Costs will be significantly reduced. Patient satisfaction will directly improve. Access will improve. These same improvements will also be true for dentistry as AI increases its presence in the dental practice.

    But today, where is dentistry in its awareness of AI and its potential use in dental practice? The answer is asleep at the wheel.

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    Dr. Marc Cooper
    Dr. Cooper's professional career includes private periodontist, academician, researcher, teacher, practice management consultant, ...


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