Maragliano Muniz Pamela Sept2020 612d216648db8

AI in dentistry is here to stay. Are you ready for it?

Jan. 3, 2023
In her December 2022 editor's note, Dr. Pamela Maragliano-Muniz talks about the many uses of artificial intelligence (AI) in dentistry, her plans for 2023, and more.

Artificial intelligence (AI) used to be something we’d see in the movies, but now it’s everywhere: the internet, social media—and our dental practices. Some of us find it useful and consider it a modern convenience; others are concerned that it imposes on our freedom. Either way, it’s here and it’s not going anywhere.

AI is a broad term that refers to computers’ ability to emulate human thought and perform tasks in real-world environments. There are multiple subsets of AI, including deep learning, neural networks, computer vision, natural language processing, and machine learning. If you have ever asked Siri or Google a question on your smartphone, you’ve used AI and natural language processing.

Some of our dental practice technology incorporates machine learning, which uses algorithms to extract knowledge from data. Our software systems that utilize machine learning can make predictions or decisions based on patterns of historical use without being specifically programmed for the task. Examples include x-ray diagnosis, patient communication systems, and scheduling software.

This month’s Dental Economics spotlights AI. It’s used across many areas of dentistry, and new uses for machine learning seem to be developed all the time. After learning more about this topic and understanding the difference between AI and machine learning in dentistry, it seems less invasive and more convenient to incorporate this technology into practice. It is, however, a personal decision whether to use it as an adjunct to your existing knowledge base or to rely on what your human brain may not be able to readily process or see. It’s certainly a lot for our brains to consider!

On another note, the end of the year is here. I hope you’ve had a very successful year, and that your end-of-year purchase decisions have been made and your goals for 2023 are well underway. This month, we also feature interesting topics that may provide food for thought as you create your plans for the new year.

This has been a great year for Dental Economics; I’m very grateful for all our incredible contributors to both the magazine and our e-newsletter. We have had a very lively lineup of DE Solutions Labs, and our Principles of Practice Management conference was exceptional. None of it would matter if it weren’t for you. I am thankful for you, and I enjoy when you reach out with feedback or just to say hello. I’m thrilled to share that we have a lot of exciting things planned for 2023, and I’m looking forward to sharing all of it with you.

I wish you a wonderful holiday season, a strong finish for this year, and a very happy New Year!

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