Dentists have a new tool in the fight against teeth issues.
It’s not a fancy toothpaste or a toothbrush, but artificial intelligence!
“This is really a form of technology that is making its way into all forms of medicine,” said Ophir Tanz, founder and CEO of Pearl. They make software called Second Opinion that uses AI to analyze dental x-rays to identify potential trouble spots.
“We surface on average 37 percent more disease and pathology per radiograph we encounter,” said Tanz.
The system runs in a standard web browser, so the results can be displayed right alongside the dental chair.
Instead of showing patients a fuzzy black and white image, AI highlights things in color and shows measurements that can be tracked over time.
“In a few seconds, the AI will analyze what’s happening in their x-ray, look for decay or infection or tarter and alert the doctor so that he or she can make that diagnosis,” said Dr. Kyle Stanley, a Beverly Hills dentist and one of the co-creators of Pearl.
He uses the technology at his office and is one of the thousands of dentists that have helped train the artificial intelligence model on what to look for.
“What we do from a patient education side is make it visual, make it interactive so a patient can understand what’s happening in the radiograph,” said Dr. Stanley.
To try it out, I had several x-rays taken of my teeth.
The digital images showed up on a screen next to the dentist’s chair, with trouble spots highlighted in pink.
The system makes it easy to see previous fillings, tooth enamel and roots – plus it puts measurements on the screen so doctors can track even the smallest changes over time.
Thankfully, it didn’t find anything too serious in my consultation, but I felt reassured knowing that data science was helping back my diagnosis.
“AI is playing a very significant role in dentistry and we really believe that it’s in the process of being a standard of care,” concluded Tanz.
The FDA approved pearl’s software earlier this year and it’s already being used by thousands of dental practices around the world.
It would be neat to be able to search for a participating provider near you, but currency, Pearl’s website doesn’t support that functionality.