This new artificial intelligence-powered image analysis platform will provide dental professionals with a second look at CBCT scans, intraoral imaging, and 3D images.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could effortlessly and efficiently read CBCT images, ensure that all relevant information was added to the patient chart, and provide a second opinion and comprehensive presentation for every patient and multiple specialists? Diagnocat AI, the only artificial intelligence (AI)-powered service that can analyze 3D dental images, is making that a reality. I spent some time with the brilliant founder and CEO of Diagnocat, Alex Sanders, PhD, to find out how AI is transforming the way clinicians and specialists diagnose and collaborate.
Lou Shuman (LS): Tell me about some of your background in dentistry.
Alex Sanders (AS): I have been in practice for about 20 years. My first private practice turned into a large dental service organization with 150 dentists. I was born in Russia, and, because of political crisis, I was forced to leave everything behind and move to Israel. As a general dentist, a PhD in prosthodontics, and a dental entrepreneur, I noticed much inefficiency in our profession. In my quest to improve quality, I went to Harvard Business School’s health care management program, where I was influenced by Professor Richard Bohmer, who greatly influenced my life with his brilliant concepts. While learning about management of processes and clinical decisions, it dawned on me that AI would be a great fit for dentistry.I was lucky to find a group of absolutely genius engineers and we created Diagnocat AI.
LS: What was your goal in creating Diagnocat AI?
AS: Initially, my goal was to improve quality by reducing omissions and errors. From a CBCT scan, Diagnocat AI highlights anatomical areas, common findings, and previous treatments for each individual tooth, checking for over 65 conditions and then automatically generating an AI-based report. This can improve quality control, proper file documentation, and immediate presentation to the patient. After years as a clinician, I realized that some of my own errors happened because of time pressure or just because I am human. We have heard feedback that Diagnocat AI influences treatment acceptance rates dramatically by basically serving as a second opinion and helping patient communication. The radiography report is created in a few minutes, and you can share the case presentation with the patient on the screen or print it out. You can say, “Let’s talk about these things that I’m concerned about.” When I present the report to the patient, I’m not the “dentist bad guy” anymore because the unbiased AI provides a very structured and focused consultation. Now I’m the good guy!
LS: How does it work with GP and specialist collaboration?
AS: We often need a collaborative approach. Diagnocat provides an interpretation of patients’ problems and fosters discussion within the clinical team, especially with complex cases. Based on analysis of CBCT scans, Diagnocat can generate reports specific to specialties to help plan and improve treatment flow.Also, specialist diagnostic reports can be shared with general practitioners to build partnerships.
LS: What about practice management?
AS: The software can produce insights in conjunction with your practice management system. Dental charts are not always filled out properly, so we may lose information about our patient’s oral health in our practice management systems. Diagnocat AI collects and analyzes information from the 3D scans and creates a database. Diagnocat’s AI finds the patient’s problems, documents all the missing teeth, and evaluates the treatment opportunities.
LS: How is Diagnocat AI different than other AI systems?
AS: Diagnocat AI is the only solution that works with 3D imaging to create diagnostic reports. All the others operate only in 2D. It has a much greater diagnostic value since we live in a 3D world. Dentists are buying expensive CBCT machines with complicated software, and they receive very little training. Diagnocat AI hugely reduces the learning curve because a couple of minutes after capturing a 3D scan, all the pathologies are right in front of you. AI systems (that are 2D) detect up to 8 pathologies, whereas 3D Diagnocat AI detects more than 30 pathologies, such as periapical lesions, periodontal bone loss, signs of dental caries, open margins, overhangs, impactions, and defects of previous endodontic treatment. And Diagnocat AI diagnoses on the primary dentition, which the 2D applications do not.
LS: Is an oral radiologist still needed?
AS: Diagnocat AI certainly increases confidence. The report is easy to read, and everything is documented for the medical record. Some dentists may still want to send the scans to an oral radiologist. In some Canadian provinces, an oral radiologist reading is mandated by law. Interestingly, some oral radiologists are actually using Diagnocat AI for the exact same efficiency reasons that dentists use it.
LS: What does the future hold?
AS: In the future, we are creating a new sister company called Segmentron. While Diagnocat AI is about diagnostics, Segmentron will be about treatment planning. It combines 3D images, intraoral scans, and digital photographs and creates a virtual patient. It can also be used for patient presentations as well as treatment planning for orthodontics, oral surgery, and implants. Segmentron Implant can determine an implant of the right size, put it in position, and generate a surgical guide. Segmentron Ortho will create an orthodontic setup, virtually straighten the teeth, and even locate the roots at the end of the treatment. With the click of a button, you will generate a setup that can be used for aligner manufacturing. It is still in development but will soon be available as an institutional review board (IRB) in the United States.
Right now, Diagnocat AI is available in Canada, and as an investigational device IRB in the United States. United States clinicians who want Diagnocat AI now can contact us, and we can add them to the IRB after a bit of paperwork.
We expect to introduce Diagnocat AI to the United States [commercial] market later this year. We are integrating Diagnocat AI with a number of practice management systems and intraoral scanners for a seamless approach. We’re constantly working on the precision of the algorithms, new user-friendly software designs, even an app that is soon to be released.