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The future of artificial intelligence in dentistry


The term artificial intelligence (AI) and the official pursuit of intelligent machines in the scientific community actually dates to a 1956 conference of researchers from Dartmouth and IBM.

Today’s AI is invading our everyday lives, albeit in more subtle ways, such as digital assistants like Alexa and Siri. And now, AI in dentistry has arrived!

Healthcare in general is a very natural customer for artificial intelligence applications. After conquering the tlelvision game show “Jeopardy” in 2011, IBM’s Wastonhasgone on to a second career in medicine. Oncologists at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have recently trained Watson to help fight cancer. While the program is still in the early phases, the machine already does very specific, monotonous and time-intensive tasks extremely well. For example, Watson can read a half million medical research papers in 15 seconds and, with deep learning, can recommend diagnoses and the most promising treatment options.

With the ability to analyze vast numbers of diagnostic images such as X-rays, CT scans and MRIs, systems like this can point doctors and radiologists to the most probable areas of concern, increasing both the speed and probability of detection. And now with the FDA creating regulatory pathways to encourage developers of medical decision support software, analysts predict that the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare will grow tenfold in the next five years.

As noted earlier, the Dentistry.AI team has a platform for caries detection that’s in the final stages of clinical evaluation. Active development began just over two years ago and the engineers quickly learned that teaching a computer even this singular dimension of clinical dentistry isn’t easy. Yet there has been significant progress toward a clinically relevant predictive assistant for the dental practice.

In the very future, we foresee deep learning analysis tools for images, assisting in diagnosing and treatment planning of periodontal disease by enabling early detection of bone loss and changes in bone density. 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.

Pacific dental group is looking forward to see how our future technology can bring our human culture to a next level.

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