Is AI the key to patient-centred dentistry?

Hannah Burrow, CEO and co-founder of Kiroku, discusses how AI tools can make dentistry more patient-centred, not less.

In a recent survey, over one-third of dentists revealed that they have already embraced artificial intelligence (AI) in their practices, recognising its potential to streamline operational tasks.

Despite this, many are reluctant to embrace AI as there remains a significant concern among patients and clinicians that AI will make interactions less human.

Included are three examples of AI technology in dentistry, and how the integration of this technology can improve the dentists’ wellbeing and result in better, more human, patient interactions.

1. Automating record-keeping

One major time-consuming aspect of dental practice is record-keeping. Traditionally, dentists spent hours manually inputting information, often compromising the quality of patient consultations.

Interactive tools like Kiroku have revolutionised this process by allowing dentists to create quick, comprehensive, and personalised records in real time. By populating treatment planning and diagnosis sections based on already inputted data, these tools prompt dentists to collect detailed information that might otherwise be overlooked.

The clickability of Kiroku’s templates ensures that any member of the practice team can assist in note-taking without specific training, freeing up dentists to concentrate on patient interactions. Kunal Rai started using Kiroku in 2019, and agrees these tools ‘reduce the amount of time dentists spend on paperwork and increase the time they can spend with patients.’

Moreover, AI embedded in these tools can recognise patterns in behaviour, suggesting template improvements that adapt to individual styles and skill levels. Templates themselves can also be edited to suit personal preferences.

Integrated letter generation tools further enhance efficiency by converting notes into various documents such as consent, referral letters and patient reports at the click of a button. This saves time, improves communication with patients, and enables less experienced dentists to feel more confident with the record-keeping aspects of new procedures.

2. AI radiographic analysis

Real-time radiographic analysis provides diagnostic guidance and a second opinion, facilitating early detection of issues. This not only aids in treatment planning but also enhances patient understanding and acceptance of recommended treatments.

3. Treatment progress analysis

Long-term interventions, like Invisalign or orthodontic treatments, benefit from tools that allow both dentists and patients to track progress towards goals. For example, patients can actively participate by using devices to take intra-oral photographs between appointments, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility over their treatment.

Communication channels between clinicians and patients are also opened, providing personalised support or reminders.

Operational efficiency increases patient interaction time

With the time saved through the efficiencies brought about by AI, dentists are now finding the freedom to leave work on time, allowing for increased personal time with family and friends. This work-life balance is crucial for overall well-being and contributes to a more sustainable and fulfilling professional life.

Within the practice, the newfound time can be redirected towards refocusing attention on patients and even reclaiming lunch breaks, fostering a more patient-centred and stress-free environment.

What next?

The incorporation of AI in dentistry is seen by some practitioners, like Martin Wanendeya of TenDental, as impacting five key areas: diagnosis, planning, record-keeping, education, and marketing. Leveraging AI-driven tools has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of dental workflows, making it imperative for dental professionals to fully embrace and utilise the available technologies.

With the time saved through these efficiencies, dentists are now finding the freedom to leave work on time, allowing for increased personal time with family and friends. This work-life balance is crucial for overall wellbeing and contributes to a more sustainable and fulfilling professional life.

As AI integration in dentistry continues to evolve, staying abreast of these advancements is crucial for dental professionals. The benefits extend beyond operational efficiency, enhancing patient care, communication, and overall satisfaction.

By harnessing the power of AI, dentists can not only reclaim time for themselves but also elevate the standard of care they provide to their patients. In this rapidly evolving landscape, embracing AI is not just a choice but a strategic imperative for the future of dental practice.

Find out more about Kiroku or start your free trial today.

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