Dentistry is one of the ten most ethical and trusted professions in the U.S. The future of dentistry could involve artificial intelligence. Surveys have already indicated that some people would allow a robotic dentist to perform some dental work. Scientists and economists are already predicting that robots will be working in fast food restaurants taking drive-thru orders. You may even be seeing robots rotating tires or changing oil in cars. However, can you imagine a robot cleaning your teeth, filling a cavity or performing a root canal?
There Is Room for A.I. and the Human Touch
While many people say they are alright with a robot performing some dentistry, there are certain procedures that they want a dentist to directly provide. A survey that was conducted online of over 500 people by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University researchers discovered how people honestly feel about the idea of robotic dentistry.
Robotic Dental Work – How Do You Feel About It?
Lighter and less invasive dental procedures such as teeth whitening and teeth cleaning were considered to be fine when it comes to robotic dental work. However, more invasive procedures like gum surgery, a root canal and fillings were thought to be too intricate and require the care of a human dentist. The thought is that artificial intelligence is not quite sophisticated enough to perform invasive procedures yet. Today, robots are still considered to be simple, and should only handle simple dental work.
What Are Deciding Factors Concerning Robotic Dentistry?
Interestingly enough, it was found that persuasion of price could change minds when it comes to robotic dentistry. If the cost was reduced for robotic dental work, quite a few respondents changed their mind and agreed to dental procedures being performed using artificial intelligence. Almost 32% of people opposed to the less invasive procedures at full price transition to 83% saying they would change their mind for a discount of 50%.
Future Robotic Development Is on the Rise
While the future may include robotic dentistry, today people depend on caring dentists and their staff to provide procedures that keep their teeth and gums healthy. Future development may be on the rise, but there are many opinions, attitudes and considerations to keep in mind when developing artificial intelligence for the dental industry. It is going to take time and patience for patients to fully accept and be willing to trust robotic dental services in such a tiny space as the mouth.
New tech is still being developed, but the understanding is that robotics will never fully replace a dentist. There are other uses for artificial intelligence with in a dental office, however. They can be a rather excellent addition when it comes to improving procedures such as crowns, fillings, implants, bridges and more. Your dentist’s office may already be using a form of robotics.
Robotics in Today’s Dental Office
Have you ever had digital milling, impressions or digital laser measurements performed? These are all a form of what is called digital care, also know as artificial intelligence or robotics. In a way, you may have already experienced robotic dental care. It still requires the experience and intervention of a human, however. Hands-on dental work that requires a perfect match when it comes to shading and staining is still better when performed by lab technicians. It takes an artistic and aesthetic eye that robotics just does not have yet.
Can Robotics Pick Up on Cues of Discomfort or Pain?
A major concern expressed is that robots may not be capable of picking up on cues of pain or discomfort. While it’s possible to teach a robot about such things, they’re still not a replacement for the compassion and care of human interaction. A.I. can detect sighs of distress such as elevated blood pressure, dilation of pupils, increased respiration and more. This is not quite enough to replace human empathy and the recognition required to see reactions in a patient’s face. A machine is not capable of doing that. The future of robotic dental care is promising, but the human touch is still need.