artificial intelligence in dentistry

Artificial intelligence in Healthcare. The future is here

Introduction to Artificial intelligence

If you go by the words – “Information is wealth,” I think this is an apt quote in the current era. Yes, many of the scholars in fact scientists describe this current era as information era / information age.

As the world advances, Data has become the new source of wealth in many advanced countries. In countries like India where we can earn humongous data, this tool has become a new age invention in all sectors.

After all you might be bewildered having gone through this, let me put the things in order…

For instance, it is not uncommon to hear the term ‘evidence-based practice’ in the health-care field. But you may wonder what that means.

If we put in simple words – Evidence-based practice is the judicious use of resources to make decisions about patient care. This set of practice utilizes current ongoing research and clinical guidelines from various resources.

When you talk about these valuable resources, do we think we have access to all these high-quality findings?

It is a very complex procedure to gain access to all the valuable resources round the world and its clock ticking.

What is Artificial intelligence (AI)

At this juncture, the humanly developed intelligent system referred to as Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing a pivotal role in rendering these valuable resources.

The mankind has witnessed many breathtaking technologies – Electricity, computer, mobile, internet etc., and it continues to evolve at a rapid pace.

But now, the current invention is unimaginable with no limits.

The very crux part of Artificial Intelligence is its ability to correctly interpret external data to learn from such data and to use those learnings to achieve specific goals and tasks through flexible adaptation.

If we plot a graph based on intelligence from 1 to 1000, rat is at 1, dolphin is at 4, chimpanzee is at 8 and man is at 10, AI is at 1000.

If we observe here, a little difference between chimpanzee and human beings makes us an intelligent animal on this planet. 

Just imagine what would be the fate of AI if it has a score far greater than man and rises to 1000.

If you observe from the past three or four years, one among the most searched words and used word is Artificial Intelligence (AI). This is the trending technology in this decade.

AI in healthcare

In recent years, the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare is mounting while drastically shifting the face of healthcare delivery.

AI is being employed in innumerable settings including hospitals, clinical laboratories, and research facilities.

The rapid transformation in AI has introduced the possibility of using amassed healthcare data to produce commanding models that can automate diagnosis and enable a progressive precision approach to medicine by tailoring treatments and targeting resources with maximum effectiveness in a timely and dynamic manner.

This approach of AI set-up has changed the very meaning of evidence-based practice providing access to data which enrich the diagnostic and treatment procedures.

AI is being used to improve the efficiency in delivery of healthcare and address previously intractable health problems. The hundreds of AI-based healthcare applications being introduced into the market in recent years is an endorsement to this focus. 

The search process that separates AI from conventional techniques is its process that remembers past results, learns, and refines its performance and also plans its path forward and answers search queries akin to human intelligence. 

Health care AI applications are being used to support diagnosis as well as treatment protocol development, drug development and patient monitoring.

IBM’s Watson

Of all the AI applications that have been developed over the past many decades, IBM’s Watson is one of the well-recognized applications. IBM Watson is a cognitive computing technology that groups together the competencies of reading, reasoning, and learning to reply to questions or investigate original connections.

IBM Watson aggregates huge volumes of structured and unstructured data from multiple sources into a single repository called Watson corpus.

Humans and AI

Had there been a discussion between a human and AI, these might be the words of AI – “You may be my creator… but I am your master”.  AI learns from the data it acquires and the way the work is done; it can also change its programming as well.

AI is a computer algorithm which learns to do the work, it does the work repeatedly, starts thinking and rectifies the mistake by itself if any.

In the 21st Century, humans are very much dependent on AI and machine learning. Many corporates and MNC’s like Google and Windows, have adopted AI into their business models and have experienced the change.

Every health sector organization has built its own data infrastructure to support its own needs. To improve the efficiency of existing data, it has become apparent for these organizations to aggregate data across many sub-sectors to manage patients across and between care episodes.

AI and the future

The field of AI has made huge leaps in the last five years – Machine learning algorithms can process more information and spot more patterns than their human counterparts.

Artificial Intelligence is less susceptible to bias and better at judging probabilities (Deep Learning). For instance, on an average, a clinician spends a few minutes analyzing and describing a single radiograph, it may not seem like much, but over a period this adds up to 50-60 business days per year. On the other hand, AI interprets the same radiographic data approximately in 4 seconds and saves the time.

Most of the research in health care sector is focused on cancer management. The questions that cancer poses us are not easy to answer. They are about life, death, faith, love and much more; AI gives breadth and depth of information that can lead to insights and these insights give personalize treatment options because no two cancer patients are the same.

Cancer is the disease where the first treatment must be the best and it must be based on evidence avoiding over testing. A multidisciplinary approach and availability of literature is what makes that first difference to the patient.

Imagine if we have an AI which analyzes over thousands of journals, millions of articles published and all the evidence available at one single shot of fingertip which is highly reliable, and all the oncologists put together and which is evidence based; what more can an oncologist need. This is the first best chance available.

AI in dentistry

AI approaches employing machines to sense and comprehend data like humans, and it has opened up previously unavailable or unrecognized opportunities for clinical practitioners and health service organizations.

Precision Dental Medicine is a new advancing AI approach where a great deal of State-of-the -art technology transforms Clinical Education and Patient Care.

This paves a way towards a field of prediction and prevention, not just repair.

For instance, in the near future, the Dental Chairs would be controlled by digital technology instead of Hydraulics and these chairs will be equipped to generate a new range of quantitative data.

In case of Dental Instruments these may be tagged using RFID (Radio Frequency ID) which not only helps to track the instruments but also helps in collecting the Data.

We can ensure the future where clinicians will soon have hundreds and thousands of parameters to consider while planning a patient’s treatment for the best possible outcome. 

So, my dear Health care providers its better late than never….

If you are to shift from the regular dental career, then here is your hotspot – AI

Choose wise before you suffice …. 

Learn Artificial intelligence




Guest post

Dr.N.Rajesh, MDS is an Associate Professor in Oral Medicine and Radiology, working at Vishnu Dental College, Bhimavaram. Presently he is working on Artificial Intelligence in Oral Radiology project.


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