AI to help Scottish dentists identify tooth decay begins testing
AssistDent, which can improve the accuracy of early diagnosis and prevention of dental caries, is being tested for the first time in Scotland.
Clyde Munro Dental Group has launched a pilot project with five of its dentists providing feedback for the development of AssistDent, created by AI dental specialists Manchester Imaging.
The technology is designed to improve the early detection of potential enamel breakdown, particularly caries proximal to enamel only (the surface between the teeth).
AssistDent works by using machine learning algorithms to analyze dental radiographs (x-rays) and highlight or confirm areas of concern.
Ideally, if enamel change is detected early enough, fillings can be avoided and enamel change managed by non-invasive methods, including fluoride treatments.
Tooth decay remains the most common non-communicable disease in the world and the leading cause of tooth loss. The overall negative impact of the pandemic on oral health has only made matters worse in Scotland.
Clyde Munro’s chief operating officer, Fiona Wood, said: “Scotland has a major problem with tooth decay and if left untreated, decay can lead to tooth loss.
“We are always aiming for prevention – and this technology has the potential to help our dentists identify early signs of tooth decay before it develops and direct the necessary preventative care to the good teeth.” AI is a useful tool to show and demonstrate to patients areas of dental need or concern to empower them to reverse enamel changes with the support of Clyde Munro dentists.
“Clyde Munro has always been a keen believer in new technologies that improve the patient experience and improve dental health in Scotland. AssistDent could make a big difference and we are proud to work with Manchester Imaging to maximize this potential.
The technology is used by the group in private and NHS treatment plans. The five dentists involved in the pilot project are based in Bishopbriggs and Partick in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Lothians.
Manchester Imaging Managing Director Tony Travers said: “Artificial intelligence is playing a central role in improving dental health globally and we are delighted that our software has been adopted by Clyde Munro and plays a a role in improving dental standards across Scotland.
“AssistDent is a highly effective diagnostic tool that supports preventive dentistry, improves dental practice efficiency, and encourages better clinician-patient communication, which contributes to better dental health outcomes.”
Monica Febrero Smith, dentist at Coia & Associates in Partick, Glasgow is one of the dentists involved in the pilot project.
Smith said: “The AssistDent technology so far has been very accurate and is helping to support the care we provide to patients.
“We are only at the very beginning of this journey, but it is extremely exciting to see that developments in AI are already starting to have a positive impact on the treatment of patients in practice in Scotland.”
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