How AI is shaping the dental industry in 2024 and beyond

A dentist uses AI to show an advanced x-ray to a patient.


Doesn’t it seem like stories about artificial intelligence (AI) are everywhere these days? From Fortune 500 companies to free art generators, AI has become a staple in the global conversation.  And with recent breakthroughs in technology and increased accessibility to data, AI is advancing at a rapid rate.

In this article, we’re going to take a peek at some ways AI is changing oral health care and how your peers may already be using the technology at their practice.


More accurate diagnoses and improved treatment plans

One of the hallmarks of AI is its ability to analyze vast amounts of data in a fraction of time. By using AI to access medical notes, research papers and clinical guidelines in one streamlined source, dentists can make more informed decisions when diagnosing oral health issues and offer refined treatment programs customized to the patient.

An example of this is the recent partnership of Mayo Clinic and Google Cloud’s Enterprise Search on Generative AI App Builder. In addition to helping medical professionals, patients will also be able to use this technology to easily find information.

Knowledge is power and when both dentists and patients have access to a wider pool of information, they can form a better partnership for long-term care.


Patient-focused automated communications

If you have ever used a customer service chatbot on a website (and according to one survey, 88% of users have), surprise: you are utilizing AI! Dental offices are also starting to use this technology to book appointments and answer basic patient questions about dental care.

And with an increasing number of people preferring to utilize the internet over calling an office, it is no wonder dentists are meeting patients where they are. According to one survey, 67% of patients prefer booking appointments online and 40% of appointments are booked after business hours.

Not only do these AI-powered interactions remove a barrier of entry for patients, but they also help dental offices twofold: they can have more appointments on the books and reduce the burden on frontline staff.


Robotics for less invasive care

While the word “robot” may bring to mind certain depictions from popular culture, robotics in dentistry doesn’t mean an action hero android is working on your root canal. Rather, there are robotics in development that would give dentists greater flexibility.

For instance, procedures that are simple and repetitive (like cleaning or polishing) can be performed by robotics. This would mean dentists and their teams would be able to focus more on complex procedures.

On the flip side, robotics can also help make complicated procedures less invasive and more efficient.  Take Yomi for example. It is an FDA-cleared machine designed to assist dentists with dental implants, completing the procedure in less than an hour.


A final note on AI at the dental office

While the rapid growth of AI technology can be both exciting and scary, it is important to note that your team and the work you do can never be replaced. Clinical care is not just about data and charts: there is a real human element that machines simply cannot duplicate. Empathy and relationship building are the cornerstones of individualized care and AI should be seen as a tool to enhance the care provided by a human, not a replacement.


If you are interested in a deeper dive into how dental offices can use AI, check out this article published by the Cureus Journal of Medical Science.


The bottom line: AI isn’t just in sci-fi movies anymore. Dental offices are starting to embrace technological advances to improve practice operation and, more importantly, provide quality patient care.