Artificial Intelligence in Dentistry is real

AI can play an important role in delivering additional oversight and predictability in clear aligner treatment

Brian Gray, DDS
Brian Gray, DDS,
Chief Dental Officer

One of the most frequently spoken words among my colleagues is predictability. We are all in search of it. I’d say there are few professions with the pressure to consistently perform complex procedures and surgeries in minutes, that are in turn expected to last for decades. This quest for predictability is what makes the thought of offering orthodontic treatment, particularly with a removable appliance, an uneasy subject for many dentists.

Orthodontic treatment has come a long way since I started offering it. In fact, I’ve been prescribing clear aligner orthodontic treatment for 25 years now, and teaching it for nearly as many. Over that time, it has become abundantly clear to me that clear aligners don’t perform the same with every patient. Despite my best efforts at educating, there can be significant variability in compliance with wear time and oral hygiene. There can be equally as much variability in how patients respond biologically to the prescribed forces even when fully compliant with wear time instructions. This variability can manifest in many ways, but typically presents in the form of tracking issues leading to a refinement.

Refinements have seemingly come to be part of the accepted and predicted workflow with most aligner systems, as has the copious use of attachments. This is where AI based remote monitoring technology like CandidMonitoring™ delivers. Instead of guessing how many days to instruct patients to wear their aligners based on how compliant I think they will be, or how easy or difficult the case appears, I leverage a capable and connected system to decide. The result is patients progressing through their orthodontic treatment based on actual tracking of a particular aligner stage. 

Initially I was concerned my patients may feel they were getting “less value” by not coming to see me as much. However, I’ve found that they appreciate not having to take a half-day off work to come in for such a short visit when all is going smoothly. They know they can reach out via the CandidApp at any time for non-clinical virtual support provided for me by pre-calibrated AI generated responses. If a clinical concern is entered, I am flagged and can typically address the patients needs without needing to schedule an office visit.

I never imagined being able to have this much oversight or to be able to intervene at each and every aligner stage, but now I am. The efficiencies provided cascade throughout my day, and night, as I find myself dedicating far fewer evenings to treatment planning mid-course corrections and refinements than ever before.    

My tip is to not accept the status quo. To not keep doing what you’re doing because it’s what you’ve always done to maintain predictability. I challenge you to adapt, to reinvent, to reap the efficiency benefits of a suite of new technologies in clear aligner therapy, most notably artificial intelligence and its entrance to the clear aligner marketplace.

Brian Gray, DDS
Brian Gray, DDS,
Dr. Gray is a Clinical Evaluator, triathlete, Master at the Academy of General Dentistry, and a Fellow in five other academies. He’s trained nearly 30,000 dentists in clear aligners. Now, he’s bringing his knack for education and clinically-excellent treatment planning to CandidPro partners.

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