April 12, 2022

How AI (Artificial Intelligence) Dentistry is Transforming the Dental Device Industry

Artificial Intelligence (ai) is improving the MedTech dental industry, here’s how…

The emergence of Artificial Intelligence is reshaping the MedTech scene, as it improves efficiency and streamlines procedures that would otherwise affect productivity.

In this article series, we’re going to sink our teeth into the world of AI and dentistry. In today’s overview, we’ll cover the limitations of modern dentistry, the improvements AI offers, and the challenges of incorporating AI into this field.

In future articles series, we’ll dive deeper into the topic of AI and dentistry and discuss regulatory submissions, the development process, risks, software as medical devices, and much more.


The Old Way Works But Isn’t Efficient

We all know the adage: If ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But what if fixing it offers a simplification and improvement over the way things are being done?

As of now, dental decay and periodontal disease are diagnosed and assessed via clinical examination and dental radiographs.

Although this works and has been the method for diagnoses to date, there’s a lack of objectivity in these methods because various providers may have different opinions. 

Another limitation is that a provider’s diagnostic capabilities vary due to experience, training, and other factors. 

AI can help eliminate the subjectivity in dental diagnosis and treatment planning and provide a more accurate and less biased approach to patient care when used in conjunction with clinical evaluations.  


The 4 Ways AI Dental Devices Improve Dentistry

There are several ways in which AI can help improve patient care outcomes and the quality of treatment in the dental field.

1) Assistance with radiographic evaluation and disease classification 

Oral Cancer screenings are subjective and often misdiagnosed— utilizing AI can help analyze lesions for early detection and diagnosis of oral cancer. 

It’s important not to overlook this improvement. The survival rate and outcomes for oral cancer are highly dependent on early detection and diagnosis. Lesions must be noted and assessed appropriately by clinicians. 

2) Advancements in dental education

AI unlocks the potential for clinicians to educate themselves and improve their diagnostic skills and capabilities.

Not only can AI make medical devices better, but it can also better the people using them.

3) Improved clinical workflow 

Think about how Amazon’s Alexa is commonly used in our homes to do basic tasks, such as reminders and weather reports. Similarly, AI may be used in the dental setting to help clinicians complete tasks hands-free.

4) Treatment planning 

This can be very time-consuming and burdensome for dental providers. AI can help alleviate this stressor by using images and diagnostic information to help create treatment plans and financial plans for patients without using valuable work hours with the often-limited staff and resources.  


The 4 Current AI Shortfalls in Dental Technology

Although AI in dentistry has a very promising role, there are some challenges that exist. 

1) Expertise Knowledge Gap

AI-based technology systems are machine-based and are created and controlled by computer scientists who often do not have healthcare expertise, which can lead to issues in the application of AI in healthcare delivery. 

2) Training and Data Validation

AI must be trained on and validated with a large dataset and patient population to ensure it is generalizable to all possible cases within its intended use.

3) Patient-Clinician Communication Is Not Going Away

AI cannot replace patient-clinician communication which plays a large role in the delivery of quality healthcare.  Understanding how the AI fits into the clinical workflow will be important for its overall success.

4) AI Technology Mistrust Among Dental Professionals

Dental professionals may be reluctant to accept AI-based technologies. Ideally, an approach can be created and implemented in which AI and dental professionals can work together to optimize patient care and improve data collection and diagnosis while preserving the human aspects of clinical care.  

Got an idea or a potential medical device for dentistry?

Interested in learning more about the FDA’s regulatory path for these types of devices? 

Stay tuned for more articles on this topic, as we explore AI and dentistry— straightening out all the details and having you say “Ahhhh-ha!”

If you’re clenching your teeth in anticipation of the next article and can’t hold out, contact us at Proxima CRO, and a regulatory consultant will answer any questions you may have.


References:

  1. Artificial intelligence (AI) in dentistry | Registered Dental Hygienists (rdhmag.com)
  2. Present and future of artificial intelligence in dentistry | NIH | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7394756/
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