AI and Machine Learning is a hot topic nowadays. Especially whether this "automation" will take over human jobs. This impending doomsday scenario makes for a great story and headlines but the reality is very different.
Patients in Dental field often complain of misdiagnosis or late diagnosis. A cavity is discovered far too late, Gingival issues are left untreated and misdiagnosed, etc. Dentists would love a second opinion from other experts, but often lack the time, resources, and tools.
The focus is how to AI and Machine Learning can augment patient care. If I'm diagnosing a patient for tooth decay and gingivitis or any other dental or medical issue, I want to have the best quality results I can possibly get. AI and Machine Learning play that role. They are the "tools" - our expert second opinion. They will never replace the Dentist, instead play a collaborative role in advanced and accurate diagnostics.
A Machine Learning (ML) algorithm to identify dental (or medical) issue needs to be trained. There is a plethora of digital information currently available - x-rays, intra oral scans, cone beam, etc. These form the basis of its learning set. The advantage of AI (and ML) bring to the table is this algorithm "learns" and improves with each data set. Its not a simple rule based decision system. Once this system learns the basic diagnostics, it can expand further into "predictive" arena with "Deep Learning" algorithm for complex automated diagnostics. E.g. we can see merging of patients dental and medical history in treatment and surgical planning.
We know that successful diagnostics is a result of deep experience, skill, and an art. AI and ML will prove to be a very powerful diagnostic aid and an excellent "second" / informed opinion tool for the Dentist.