Artificial intelligence in dental practice
PD Dr. Kristina Bertl, PhD MSc MBA
Consistent and flawless home oral hygiene is the most important element of periodontal therapy. However, it is also one of the most difficult aspects to effect positive change and improve our patients’ behaviour and attitude. With this in mind, why not try modern technology?
A group of researchers from Taiwan has tested the use of artificial intelligence in periodontal therapy (Shen et al. 2022). As part of a randomised, controlled clinical trial, they recruited 53 stage III and IV periodontitis patients. All patients were given non-surgical periodontal treatment, the outcome of which was assessed after three months. The patients were divided into three groups:
- Control group: No further/additional intervention
- Artificial intelligence group: For this group, home oral hygiene was checked on a weekly basis using a smartphone app and standardised text messages sent to the patient based on the result.
- Artificial intelligence with personalised advice group: For this group, home oral hygiene was checked on a weekly basis using a smartphone app, but the patient was also given personalised tips from a dental hygienist in addition to the standardised text messages.
Three months after non-surgical periodontal therapy, there were significant differences between the three groups:
- Both groups that used artificial intelligence showed better results than the control group for plaque values, probing depth and clinical attachment level.
- The personalised tips from a dental hygienist led to even greater improvements in probing depth and the clinical attachment level.
One weakness of this study was the high rate of participants who did not complete the study; only 38 of the 54 periodontitis patients attended all appointments up to the three-month check. Nevertheless, these results are very interesting, particularly for a modern dental practice specialising in periodontology. On the one hand, they demonstrated that frequent (weekly) checks improves patient compliance in terms of home oral hygiene and that better clinical results could therefore be achieved, but also that the importance of personal commitment and personalised tips should not be underestimated!
- Shen, K.-L., Huang, C.-L., Lin, Y.-C., Du, J.-K., Chen, F.-L., Kabasawa, Y., Chen, C.-C., & Huang, H.-L. (2022). Effects of artificial intelligence-assisted dental monitoring intervention in patients with periodontitis: A randomised controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 49(10), 988–998.