New AI platform for dentists could ‘save valuable time and money’

New AI platform for dentists could 'save valuable time and money'

A new artificial intelligence (AI) platform could allow dentists and dental students to read X-rays with higher accuracy, helping them to better detect tooth decay.

The platform is led by the University of Surrey in partnership with King’s College London, Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust and the Oral Health Foundation.

Receiving £1.55 million in grant funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), it allows an AI model to recognise abnormalities in anatomical structures in the mouth.

This project aims to both collect and annotate dental radiographs and assist with disease identification – all while building on how best to implement it clinically.

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‘Incredibly exciting’

Dr Yunpeng Li is a senior lecturer in artificial intelligence and the project lead at the University of Surrey. He said: ‘The technology could save valuable time and money if rolled out more widely, enabling dentists to have abnormalities pop up in front of them and read radiograms with higher accuracy.

‘This next phase of the project is incredibly exciting as we work collaboratively to build a working prototype suitable for real-life clinical settings.

‘Efforts so far have included gathering a representative set of annotated radiograms and training a custom-built AI model on dental disease detection. We look forward to comprehensive outcomes over the next few years.’

Professor Owen Addison is a professor of oral rehabilitation and the joint project lead at King’s College London. He added: ‘AI systems that support more accurate diagnosis and clinical decision-making will help patients – but they must be trustworthy.

‘We look forward to supporting this project by providing dental expertise and consideration of the needs of end-users.’

Positive results

This comes as more than one third of dentists are using artificial intelligence in their practice, according to research.

A new study shows that 35% of dentists have implemented AI in their dental practice while 77% of dentists reported positive results after applying it.

In July 2023, conducted a survey of 1,265 licensed dentists and patients, focusing on its future merits and risks.

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