Dental care is essential for overall wellness. Poor dental health can be an indicator of general unwellness, and can itself lead to potentially dangerous illnesses. The Center for Disease Control in the United States estimates that 1 in 4 Americans show signs of untreated tooth decay and that nearly half show evidence of gum disease.
Ensuring that everyone receives effective dental health care will require the combined efforts of government, dentists, and the private sector. Increasingly computer vision based AI models are being deployed to improve dental procedures and provide preventative care.
This blog will look at three existing problems that hamper the dental care process. We will then examine how innovative AI systems can help to address these issues. The continued success of these applications depends on precise image annotation for machine learning training data. Data verification services can help to ensure the continued development of AI dental care technology.
Responding to an existing need
Delivering effective dental health care is a complex and expensive challenge. Professionals in the field are looking for ways to overcome a number of recurring problems that negatively affect the patient experience:
- Orthodontic treatment: In order to correct misaligned teeth and jaws, orthodontists apply treatments, such as dental braces, in stages. Patients are given appointments over a long period of time to monitor changes in tooth and jaw alignment and assess further treatment. Long gaps between these appointments can mean that treatment is delayed longer than necessary, with adjustments to braces being made long after they were required. Creating molds for dental implants and clear aligners can also be unpleasant and uncomfortable for patients, a process that could be significantly improved with the help of AI.
- Identifying tooth decay: Identifying lesions on teeth in their earliest stages can be difficult, even for the most experienced dentists. Tooth decay may present extremely faintly in x-rays and scans. Missing the early signs of tooth lesions means that dentists miss an opportunity for intervention, leading to more serious decay requiring more intensive intervention.
- Preventive care: Accessing regular dental checkups can be difficult for many people. It can be hard to take time off work, and moving house can make it hard to find new dentistry services. Similarly the cost of regular checkups can be prohibitive for many patients. However, without regular dental checks oral health can decline, with problems going unchecked and untreated.
AI based dental solutions
All three of the above problems can, in part at least, be remedied by computer vision AI applications:
- AI image interpretation: Machine learning powered applications are capable of interpreting images taken by orthodontic patients. AI models can detect changes between images, and notify dentists when the next milestone has been achieved. This enables orthodontic treatments to proceed faster. Progress is also being made on intraoral scanning. AI can enable these scans to form the basis of accurate dental implants and aligners.
- AI assisted x-ray analysis: AI models, trained with annotated x-ray imagery, are becoming increasingly adept at locating small lesions on teeth. Through deep learning and image annotation these models can alert dentists to potential defects, enabling fast intervention and treatment.
- At-home dental check ups: AI powered devices are now being brought to market which are capable of capturing comprehensive images of patients mouths and analysing general dental health. Training with precisely annotated images enables these applications to generate automated reports, which can then be shared with dental professionals.
Accessing data verification services
As with all other healthcare based AI applications it is essential that dental AI models are backed with precisely annotated image training data. Mistakes in training datasets could result in potentially harmful or negligent final models. Data used for AI training must also conform to the highest data security standards.
Keymakr is an annotation service provider with a track record of medical image verification. By employing subject experts Keymakr ensures that sensitive, annotated image data receives multiple layers of checking.
Contact a team member to book your personalized demo today.