ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) IN DENTISTRY

3 min


AI is a growing and advancing branch in the field of computer sciences that is intended on building smart machines that are capable of performing the tasks that require human intelligence.

It replicates or simulates human intelligence in the machine. This is brought into action based on a deep learning system or a specified set of rules.

It is broadly classified into the following categories:

  1. Narrow artificial intelligence / weak AI.
  2. Artificial general intelligence AGI / strong AI.

NARROW ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE:

It is also called as a weak artificial intelligence as it is well known for a focused performance on a single task.

It operates based on a limited context extremely well. They are holders of a vast data collection.

Some of the examples of narrow AI’s in our day to day life are search engines like Google, smart assistants like Siri & Alexa and other speech recognition software, etc.

In the healthcare sector, there are web search engines, patient databases, diagnostic tools, etc that use these low range AI

ARTIFICIAL GENERAL INTELLIGENCE AGI:

These are machines with general instructions to apply their intelligence in solving problems. They work based on a series of input algorithms.

For example disease mapping & prediction tools, robots, software’s & systems. Their work is mostly monitored by a professional.

The rise of AI in dentistry is more evident in the field of radiology than the rest as they slowly coming under the spotlight or under testing.

APPLICATIONS OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN DENTISTRY:

DEEP-LEARNING:

It is referred to as convolutional neural networks capable of extracting many layers of filters for processing large data and complex images.

This field of technology is developing with self-learning – backpropagation algorithms that can refine the results from the data and increase the computational power.

Deep learning-powered AI helps in Computer Assisted Diagnosis (CAD) making it the primary tool for diagnosis. Data sets for dental applications are not well developed compared to medical data as it has only fewer data sets established.

The collected data are based on teeth, gums, dental arch, anatomical landmarks, and dental plaque.

IMAGING SYSTEMS:

Intraoral scanners, an Imaging system (IOPA / RVGS) and radiology machines (CBCT) come under this category.

They come along with software that helps to store and access the patient data for future review.

Laboratory scanners are used to scan the dental stone cast and impressions to store them as virtual data for further use.

In case CBCT data they act as a guide tool for future procedures and treatment planning. 

CAD / CAM SYSTEMS:

Computer-aided designing / computer-aided manufacturing is the digitalized machining and fabrication of restoration, models, and other appliances. The uses of CAD-CAM in dentistry:

  • Inlays or Onlays
  • Dentures.
  • Orthodontic appliances
  • Components related to dental implants.
  • A surgical guide for dental implants.

DESIGN SOFTWARE:

For virtual conversion of the obtained data from the patient, the software is used in diagnosing, treatment planning and intervention. They work along with the CAD / CAM systems. The design software’s used in dentistry are:

  • Tooth form
  • Smile designing.
  • Esthetic enhancement.
  • Shade matching.
  • Placement of the teeth.
  • Jaw tracking to determine the occlusion/bite.

3D PRINTING / ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING:

It is an alternative to milling with the flexibility of design.

It allows bringing out innovations in the dental prosthesis thus minimizing the chair time during the delivery of the dental prosthesis/appliances.

Clear aligner – Invisalign is the 1st operated design manufactured by a 3D printer based on the virtual data. 3D printers can manufacture the following:

  • Simple models.
  • Wax forms
  • Temporary tooth-colored restoration.
  • Dentures.
  • Ceramic & metal prosthesis.
  • Surgical guide / template.

The materials used in a 3D printer are glass, ceramic, cobalt-chromium, composite blocks, resins/ polymers, wax, titanium, and zirconia.

DIGITAL PATIENT DATA:

It is created by the integration of the facial and oral data with movements obtained from photographs, 3D tracking devices, intraoral scanners, radiographs, and CBCT & jaw trackers.

A digital patient data is vital in computer-assisted surgery, dynamic surgical navigation, for robots performing the dental procedure, CAD/CAM and planning tissue engineering. 

COMPUTER ASSISTED SURGERY / DYNAMIC SURGICAL NAVIGATION:

They help in tracking the position of the surgical device used like endodontic file, dental implant placement & scalpel.

The device projects the area of interest and provides guidance for the dentist performing the surgery. It increases the visibility and access to the area of interest.

ROBOTS IN DENTISTRY:

The testing of robots in dentistry for tooth preparation, endodontic therapy, and implant placement was reported successful.

Though they were carried out under the surveillance of the clinician they had a good outcome. In the future, the use of robots in the field can minimize chair time, increases the accuracy and success of the treatment.

OTHER APPLICATIONS OF AI IN DENTISTRY:

Dental virtual assistant software is an allied application in dentistry that aids in the following:

  • Coordinating and alerting the dentist & patient regarding appointments.
  • Collection of complete patient data.
  • Managing paperwork.
  • Alerting the clinician regarding allergy status of the patients.
  • Emergency Tele assistance.
  • Reminders for individuals under habit quitting program.

Artificial intelligence is a developing field and more updates will be added to this article in the future.


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Dr Arun

Dr. Arun is a practicing dentist with more than 11 years of experience. Loves to blog and in constant search of new knowledge in dentistry and health niche.

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