Why 5 dental professionals see AI and technology as the next industry disruptor

Five industry leaders and dentists recently shared with Becker's what they predict as the next disruptor of the dental industry — artificial intelligence and technology.

Note: Responses were lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What do you think will be the next big disruption/disruptor to the dental industry?

Avinash Bidra, DDS. Program Director and Maxillofacial Prosthodontist of UConn Health (Farmington, Conn.): The next big disruptor would be all related to clinical data acquisition. Ranging from closed mouth impressions like using body scan technology and mobile Nomad-style small volume CBCT machines. This can change dentistry forever and improve patient comfort and speed the process and improve delivery of care! 

Kyle Gernhofer, DDS. CEO of DenScore (St. Louis): Over the past few years, there have been exciting innovations in dentistry, but most of these innovations improve efficiencies for dental practices and dental insurers, and it's difficult to know how much value trickles down to consumers. I believe the next wave of dental innovation will be centered around the consumer experience and how it impacts treatment outcomes. Educating consumers and influencing their behavior by providing dental navigation or other decision-making tools will be instrumental as the dental landscape continues to evolve. Dental practices will be able to leverage this innovation to build trust with patients, increase treatment acceptance and improve patient compliance, while dental insurers assume less risk. 

Brion Long, DMD. Orthodontist of SmileWorks Children's Dentistry and Orthodontics (Tallahassee, Fla.): Artificial Intelligence has become a game-changer in various industries, revolutionizing the way we work and enhancing efficiency. The field of dentistry is no exception, as AI technology continues to transform the business side of dental practices. One particular area poised for significant change is the dental front desk. With the integration of AI, dental practices can expect a complete reorganization, leading to improved patient experiences, streamlined administrative tasks and enhanced operational efficiency.

The dental front desk is often the first point of contact for patients, and their experience sets the tone for their overall visit. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can enhance patient interactions by providing immediate assistance, answering frequently asked questions and addressing common concerns. These intelligent systems can provide personalized responses, ensuring patients feel valued and attended to. AI can also streamline insurance verification and eligibility checks, reducing wait times and administrative burdens. By leveraging AI, the dental front desk can focus more on building rapport and delivering exceptional patient care.

Michael Perpich, DDS. Dentist at Richfield Dentistry (Minneapolis): I feel the next biggest disruptor in dentistry will be the incorporation of artificial intelligence by dentists and dental insurance companies. Dentists will use AI to diagnose and treat, while insurance companies will use it to deny benefits because contract conditions have not been met.

Charles Schlesinger, DDS. COO of Comfortable Dentistry 4U (Albuquerque, N.M.): I think the next disrupter to the industry will be a dental implant that has outstanding primary stability facilitated by mechanical integration. It will be a paradigm shift that will make implantologists think about stability in a whole new way. It will upend everything that we have taken as accepted doctrine for 50 years.

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