2 negative impacts of AI in dentistry

2019 12 05 18 55 6378 Artificial Intelligence Ai Suit 400

Artificial intelligence (AI) has quietly crept into every aspect of life, including the dental office. While AI offers many benefits to practices, researchers are warning dental professionals to be wary of AI's potential negative effects in a commentary published on August 9 in the Journal of Dental Sciences.

AI in clinical dentistry can offer many benefits, including improved disease prevention diagnosis, treatment optimization, outcome prediction, and environmental sustainability. However, AI in clinical settings can also pose concerns regarding the accuracy and security of data, humanistic dental care and communication, and patient autonomy and medical ethics.

Concern No. 1: Massive amounts of data

To best support outcomes, programmers typically use a type of AI called machine learning, which creates algorithms that learn data patterns and structures. Using machine learning, the AI algorithm gathers data and constructs a model to predict an outcome it has not yet been exposed to.

The clinical application of this type of AI poses concerns about data protection, extraction quality, and reliability. Currently, less than 20% of the world's medical data are available in AI machine learning algorithms.

"It requires [us] to collect and share the massive amount of data which may generate many concerns about safety, privacy, and even ethics," wrote the authors, led by Dr. Yung-Kai Huang of Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan.

The accuracy and security of data, however, can be addressed with cybersecurity management, says Huang and her colleagues. To enhance AI accuracy, the commentary's authors also recommend that the format of each data collection should be consistent and avoid variety.

Concern No. 2: Less time with humans

Increasing AI in dentistry could reduce face-to-face interaction between providers and patients and change the landscape of oral healthcare delivery. More so, patient autonomy, informed consent, healthcare ethics, and morality are critical human characteristics that are challenging to integrate into AI.

The modern dental curriculum emphasizes history taking, physical examination, patient-dentist discourse, and medical humanities in addition to basic knowledge and clinical skills. As AI replaces face-to-face interactions between providers and patients, the commentary's authors emphasize the importance of instilling shared decision-making between dentists and patients to ensure optimal treatment outcomes and patient satisfaction.

"The incorporation with social, cultural, [and] environmental factors into daily oral healthcare delivery models is worth to be established with humanistic care as patient-centered care," Huang and colleagues wrote.

While the application of AI in clinical dentistry will improve the quality of service, human-centered AI should be considered in the coming future of dental care. Narrative medicine can bridge the gap of lost interactions between patients and providers, and shared decision-making can ensure patient autonomy and medical ethics.

Page 1 of 18
Next Page