‘If you’ve got the tech, you’re going to do better’ – embracing AI in the dental practice

'If you've got the tech, you're going to do better' – embracing AI in the dental practice

‘It’s just like having a brighter operating light or loupes’ – Nilesh Parmar talks about why dental professionals should embrace the introduction of artificial intelligence in practice.

Tell us about your journey into AI in dentistry

It started out a long time ago and it depends on what your definition of AI is, I suppose. For example, 3D scanners use a lot of artificial intelligence to plan how the tooth should look.

A lot of X-rays use AI where they use algorithms to improve imaging and stuff. This is one of the first softwares, however, where you can basically just give it an X-ray and it’ll give you an idea as to what’s involved or what’s going on.

I find it as an adjunct, very useful. I think with dental experience, you’re going to hit most things right. But every human can have a bad day.

What I’d eventually like is for this software to be completely integrated into my X-rays office. When I take an X-ray, I get the Pearl AI over the top of it straight away. Whereas before this, I opened it up in a separate program. So the compute straight away tells you what’s going on. It just picks it up straight away – it is very, very clever.

In some cases it picks up decay that I was 50/50 as to whether or not that was the case.

What would you say to dental professionals hesitant to embrace AI?

You’re always going to have people that are a bit reluctant to change. Change can be scary. You may find reluctance among older clinicians who don’t like using computers, for example.

They may not be open to being told that after doing a job for 30 years a computer’s going to make you better at your job, and can be their backup.

But I think you just need to embrace it. The clinical decision making still lies with you. I compare this to having a brighter operating light. Or like having loupes. It’s just like having anything else that’s going to help you reach a diagnosis to help your patients.

I think you need to go into it with an open mind. The only way these sort of software packages are going to develop is if people use them and help develop the software.

I do think it’s very clever and also nice and simple to use. But it’s interesting from a medical legal perspective. For example, one legal battle that dentists can get caught up in is not reporting on X-rays properly. But if they’re clever with the software, you could take your X-rays and the software will print out a report for you.

I look forward to it developing further and being part of our normal day-to-day routine as we progress.

I think Pearl are also very openminded when it comes to future development.

What do patients think?

For some patients, I say, ‘look at this artificial intelligence that I’m using’ and they get impressed by it. I can almost use it as my own unique selling point.

But whatever technology you buy, you leverage it for your patients to get impressed. I think that’s the trick in it. Some people can do that really, really well but some people don’t show the patients the technology. Dentistry’s a competitive business environment for private work and it’s going to get even more fiercely competitive.

As a result, if you’ve got tech, such as Pearl, that makes you stand out, then you’re going to do better.

For more information visit www.hellopearl.com

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