How is artificial intelligence (AI) transforming dentistry and impacting patient care?
The answer to this question was shown in a July 2023 survey of Dentaly.org using practitioner perspectives from 250 licensed dentists in the U.S. and insights from 1,015 surveyed patients.
All patients were required to have visited the dentist at least once within the past two years. Any responses that did not meet the qualifications were excluded from the findings.
The survey showed that 77 percent of the of surveyed dentists observed positive outcomes in their practice since implementing AI.
Of surveyed dentists, 35 percent have implemented AI in their dental practice;
81 percent of dentists have a positive attitude towards AI applications in dentistry;
62 percent of surveyed dentists agreed that some of the operational tasks in dental clinics could be performed by AI.
Additionally, 57 percent of the surveyed dentists believe that AI could replace certain tasks currently performed by dentists; 55 percent of dentists believe that the advancements in AI could result in potential layoffs in the dental care industry in the next five years; 68 percent of the patients believe in the potential benefits of AI applications.
Lack of human interaction
Amongst surveyed patients, 65 percent of patients were open to receiving dental treatment or diagnosis that incorporates AI in the future; 42 percent of the surveyed patients feel comfortable receiving AI-based dental treatment, while the majority remain neutral about this matter.
According to 72 percent of patients, the “lack of human interaction during treatment” is their primary concern regarding the integration of AI in dentistry.
The report added that only 10 percent of surveyed patients are willing to pay extra for dental treatment or diagnosis that incorporates AI technologies.
Of the 250 dentists interviewed, 66 percent were female practitioners. The next 33 percent were males, and only 1 percent identified neither as male nor female.
On the AI acceptance in dentistry, 35 percent of surveyed dentists have implemented AI in their dental practice.
These respondents find AI valuable for enhancing their clinical practice, streamlining workflow, and improving patient outcomes. Additionally, these early adapters highlighted the areas of their dental practice where they had incorporated AI.
The dentists have cited improvements post-AI incorporation that emphasize the efficiency that comes with the technology.
Likewise, AI makes it easier to analyze patient medical records and tailor personalized treatment.
When asked what concerns they had most about AI in dentistry, a whopping 67 percent of dentists expressed fears about the privacy and security of their patients’ data, as well as the security of their own practice
Practitioners have expressed concerns about the potential breach of relevant laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), due to AI’s heavy reliance on patient data. This worry stems from the potential compromise it could pose to their practice.
Here’s a list of dentists’ top five concerns concerning AI in the dental space:
- 67 percent data privacy and security;
- 67 percent on reliability and accuracy of AI systems;
- 52 percent Ethical considerations;
- 43 percent Cost of implementing AI technologies; and
- 33 percent Potential job displacement.
The Dentaly.org said that the AI in Dentistry Survey sheds light on the remarkable progress and potential that AI holds for the future of dental care. It also indicates the perceptions held by dentists and patients on the subject.
According to the results obtained, 35 percent of dentists are applying AI to their practice, and the number is likely going to increase in the next five years.
“Although the pace of adoption is rather slow, most practitioners agree that AI has its benefits, including faster and more efficient workflows, predictive analytics for patient outcomes, improved accuracy in diagnosis, enhanced treatment planning, and personalized treatment options,” the survey said.
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