Council formed to define, help guide the future of AI in dentistry

October 7, 2020

Leaders from across the dental field form the Dental AI Council to educate and conduct research on AI’s role in the future dentistry.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere these days and its potential seems limitless, yet when it comes to dentistry, its adoption may be hindered because not enough of the industry understands this boundless potential. One of the biggest roadblocks to widespread AI adoption in dentistry may be this lack of understanding what AI can do, and what it cannot do.

Understanding these issues requires rigorous research, supporting data, discussion, and education so that all stakeholders in the industry can begin to make evidence-based and informed decisions.

It is with this in mind that leaders from across the dental field have formed the Dental AI Council(DAIC), an organization devoted to helping define the future of AI in dentistry through research and education. DAIC members represent all major industry constituencies, including practitioners, dental service organizations, equipment manufacturers, practice management software providers, insurance carriers, laboratories and universities.

As AI begins to yield increased efficiency, accuracy, consistency and insight in a variety of dental applications, the DAIC seeks to stimulate greater industry-wide understanding of the technology. The group’s primary function is to lead independent research to ascertain where and how AI will prove most valuable to dentistry, empirically validate its functional capabilities and performance, and answer fundamental questions related to AI's role in the oral healthcare ecosystem. In addition to research, the DAIC will facilitate AI-related educational programming, thought leadership content and public advocacy initiatives.

The DAIC membership is composed of clinicians, professors and senior executives of leading companies, including Cigna, Delta Dental, DSG, Heartland, Henry Schein, NDX and Walmart.

Markus Blatz, DMD, chair and professor of restorative dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, says AI technology is unique in that in can serve and benefit a variety of dental stakeholders. “The range of representatives joining the table here reflects AI’s broad utility and ensures that DAIC research will attend to the whole gamut of industry interests,” he says.

The DAIC’s main goal is to answer calls for greater industry-wide AI literacy. The first DAIC study is scheduled to be released later this year.

Dr Blatz is one of the Dental AI Council’s 15 founding members. The other member are: Ashish Tholia, Director of Strategy, Delta Dental; Dr. Bruce Lieberthal, Chief Innovation Officer, Henry Schein; Dr. Kyle Stanley, Chief Clinical Officer, Pearl; Dr. Linda Vidone, Chief Clinical Officer, Delta Dental of Massachusetts; Lou Azzara, Chief Executive Officer, Dental Services Group Laboratory; Merrit Dake, Chief Executive Officer, Rock Dental; Mischa Reis, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Corporate Development, Envista; Ophir Tanz, Chief Executive Officer, Pearl; Dr. Robert Mongrain, Director of Clinical Advisors, Heartland Dental; Ronald Bolden, Vice President of Dental Market Insight, Cigna; Dr. Roshan Parikh, Head of Dentistry, Walmart; Dr. Sanjay Mallya, Chair & Associate Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, UCLA School of Dentistry; Steve Bilt, CEO, Smile Brands; and Tom Daulton, CEO & President, National Dentex Laboratories.

For more information or to sign up for the DAIC newsletter, please visit: dentalaicouncil.org.