Where will technology take dentistry? 2 dentists' predictions

Several new technologies have played a major role in the advancement of dentistry in recent years, including artificial intelligence, cloud-based software and robotics. 

Here, two dentists share with Becker's what they believe the future holds for technology in dentistry. 

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for clarity and length.  

Manny Chopra, DMD. Center for Dental Health (Cincinnati): The future of dentistry involves the integration of software platforms used with our electronic dental health records and a vast variety of support industries. We are now implementing digital scanner technology into everyday dental practice, and patients are getting comfortable with the utilization of scanning technology, not only with diagnostic evaluations, but for treatment outcomes. As we integrate digital radiographic technology with our dental software, our programs get more robust in their delivery of data to the practitioner. Artificial intelligence advancements in the dental insurance realm are now being introduced to dental offices to assist with guidance for successful treatment pathways. Some of these industries are newer and need standards to work well together with guidance from the ADA. There is a world of growth in integrating these newer technologies into dentistry.

Rajdeep Randhawa, DDS. Innovative Dentistry (Colts Neck, N.J.): The dental profession has always been at the forefront of introducing new techniques, new technology and new procedures as compared to other professions where procedures, techniques and protocols have stayed the same for a long period of time. The introduction of dental technology in the last five years has propelled many new players to enter the dental industry challenging the old dinosaurs who took everything for granted in terms of software and decided to keep dental software, office management, patient management, patient communications and other facets of running a modern dental office at a very stagnant level. 

Artificial intelligence in dentistry can play a very significant role in the coming years, depending on how the AI companies evolve and whether they are able to make AI very important for the functioning of a modern dental office and part of all dental equipment, technology and software. AI has to be very indispensable to a level where dental offices cannot function without it and it has a long way to go before it reaches that level of integration. Most of the AI companies currently are trying to introduce their preconceived templates to dental offices, and the ones that are working with insurance companies to deny dental claims are not going to be trusted by the smart dentists who know how this game is being played.

Teledentistry played a role during the pandemic, but in dentistry you have to do profitable procedures to stay in business due to the high overhead and cost of doing business that has increased substantially due to the pandemic.

Robotics is in the starting phase and the next five years will decide how it is incorporated in dental schools, dental offices and DSOs.

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