Dentistry Has Embraced Augmented Intelligence

Dentistry is not always thought of as being at the forefront of adoption of new technology. Yet, in diagnosis, treatment planning, practice management among other spheres of dentistry, augmented intelligence is transforming how dentists go about caring for their patients. In this article, we will discuss an interesting piece by the American Dental Association’s Mary Beth Versaci, in which he explains why augmented intelligence represents the future of dentistry.

When the public thinks of artificial intelligence, it tends to have a very “sci-fi” view of it. We imagine robots and computer systems that can act completely independently of human beings. Oftentimes, these “sci-fi” types of artificial intelligence are antithetical to humanity. Many people think of HAL 9000 from Star Trek, or the robotic assassins depicted in the Terminator series. To the public, artificial intelligence is made by humans but entirely inhuman. However, the truth is rather more nuanced than that. Although it is important to have independent artificial intelligence systems for certain kinds of technology, the intelligence of these technologies tends to be limited to specific functions. Indeed, this has led people like Douglas Hofstadter, one of the founders of the field, to believe that artificial intelligence today is not truly intelligent. So no, Siri will not be taking over the world today. One of the most useful kinds of artificial intelligence is augmented intelligence (which is also known as intelligence amplification). It uses machine learning alongside predictive analytics of data sets, in order to enhance or amplify human intelligence. Using augmented intelligence, a system can perform various tasks , such as decision-making, speech recognition, translating and visual perception, which would otherwise need a human being.

Augmented reality is becoming adopted and implemented in greater numbers by dentists in America. As Versaci argues, it will have a transformative effect on the way that dental care is delivered. Augmented reality is a technology with the capability of connecting us to a larger world of options and information.

Augmented intelligence’s importance in healthcare and specifically, dentistry, exists to assist and supplement the efforts of dental professionals. Versaci explains that augmented intelligence can be used for applications such as screening radiographs for bone loss, calculus, caries, crown indication among other findings’ the evaluation of digital data such as electronic health records, photographs and radiographs in order to diagnose patients and propose a course of treatment; and improving the efficiency of the insurance claim adjudication process.

Over the last decade, dentistry has experienced enormous changes in the management as well as delivery of treatment. This is a consequence of the field’s embrace of augmented intelligence, digital capabilities, informatics and machine learning. The profession, including respected dentists such as Dr. Hal N. Arnold believes that augmented intelligence will help in automating, streamlining and improving a patient’s experience, practice productivity and treatment protocols.

Dentists who want to introduce augmented reality should approach the issue by asking them what problem they need to resolve. For instance, a dentist may want to attract more patients. The initial answer to that may be that that dentist should advertise. It’s there that augmented intelligence can play a role, by helping that dentist understand if the marketing strategy is working. As Versaci’s article shows, the possibilities are endless. 

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