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This Group Practice Utilizes VideaHealth Dental AI Technology on Every Patient

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Article

Great Hill Dental, part of 42 North Dental group, says the technology helps with diagnosis, patient communication, and treatment acceptance.

This Group Practice Utilizes VideaHealth Dental AI Technology on Every Patient | mage Credit: © VideaHealth

This Group Practice Utilizes VideaHealth Dental AI Technology on Every Patient | mage Credit: © VideaHealth

“It’s just diagnosing [the x-rays], looking for decay, and it just gives you that second opinion.”

Those are the words of John Brangan, DMD, concisely explaining how the dental practices of Great Hill Dental—part of the 42 North Dental group of dental practices— use VideaHealth’s dental artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help clinicians with diagnosis and treatment acceptance.

Dr Brangan, who has been practicing for nearly 25 years, says he uses VideaHealth every day at the practice in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, where he is 1 of 3 general dentists in the group practice, which also features a variety of specialists.

VideaHealth’s dental AI technology, cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration, is clinically proven to improve diagnostic accuracy and treatment plans, enabling dentists like Dr Brangan to consistently deliver better patient care. VideaHealth's dental AI software platform, VideaAI, includes FDA-cleared medical algorithms that help dental clinicians identify signs of potential carious lesions (cavities) and measure radiographic bone levels.

John Brangan, DMD

John Brangan, DMD

Dr Brangan first learned of the technology from 42 North Dental Chief Clinical Officer Michael Scialabba, DDS, who brought VideaHealth to Great Hill as 1 of 5 pilot offices chosen to test-drive the technology.

“We started using it about a year, year and a half ago, [when] it was in its prototype phase,” he says. “So, I’ve been using it for quite some time, even when it was in its initial stage.”

While he doesn’t want to practice without the technology, Dr Brangan adds that VideaHealth’s software is also a great tool for patients and for clinicians new to the technology, or just new to diagnosing x-rays with confidence.

“For me, it’s a great educational tool for the patients, No. 1. It really does provide...a second opinion of the treatment, so you can look at the x-rays and you diagnose decay, and then this thing is circling the area of decay and you can show the patient the x-rays with the little red boxes on it and say, ‘Well, these are the cavities right here,’” he explains. “The computer’s verifying my diagnosis. The patients do seem to like it, and I find it very accurate. It’s become more accurate over the past year as they’ve refined the software.”

Then there are the fellow dentists in the practice.

“It’s not only the patients,” Dr Brangan adds. “I find it useful to help my other doctors in my practice who are newer associates. They haven’t been practicing as long, and it helps them diagnose as well. So, if they’re not sure [about a diagnosis] they can pull up the x-ray and have it help them determine [that] this is a cavity and this isn’t. Plus, it is unbiased. It doesn’t care who the patient is, how much money they have, or anything like that.”

The Results

While the AI technology is constantly evolving to improve its capabilities with diagnosing x-rays, it does not entirely take away the need for the clinician to confirm certain things and to make clinical diagnoses based on all the information at their disposal.

“So, as a dentist you really need to still confirm it’s actually decay. From time to time, it will find stuff that you might elect to not treat, or you don’t think it’s significant to treat at this point, but really as we’ve gone on, I find it much more accurate,” Dr Brangan says. “There hasn’t been a single tooth that it diagnosed something on that when I treated it, [decay] wasn’t there. It’s always been an accurate diagnosis.

“It can give some false positives on the software where it will think it’s decay, and you have to go and say well, that’s not decay, it’s a shadow on the x-ray, the way the x-ray is taken, the angle of the tooth. So, there’s still some stuff that it will pick up and think it’s decay but it’s not, but that’s becoming less frequent. The software’s becoming much more accurate,” he says.

VideaHealth’s software has increased its capabilities since its inception and will continue to do so, he says.

“Over the past year there [have been] new features constantly being added. So, it will now differentiate between decay and an open margin on an old filling. It will measure bone loss now, periapical lesions, a tooth that might need a root canal. It’s adding more and more features as time’s gone on. It’s become more expansive,” Dr Brangan says.

Another benefit is the software’s ease of use. After just 2 short training sessions early on at Great Hill Dental, the staff was confident in using the intuitive software.

“I only use it now to diagnose,” he says. “I won’t diagnose off my regular x-ray software. So, with every patient in all my treatment rooms, all the hygienists, all the doctors, we all use it. We bring up the x-rays on it. It’s just part of our practice now.”

Patient Acceptance

The patients in his practice are not all initially awed when they learn he’s using AI software, but Dr Brangan says explaining what VideaHealth can do helps instill confidence in them and helps with case acceptance.

“It’s funny because I would say patients are not overwhelmingly...shocked by it, that we have it. It’s more of just I let them know we have it and they’re ‘Oh that’s cool,’” he says. “I explain that we still have to confirm that it’s correct. I always tell patients this is like having a second opinion. It’s like having another dentist in the room who’s confirming what I found. If they’re on the fence, it’s showing them that there’s [decay] there.”

This reaffirmation leads to more treatments in his practices.

“It definitely brings an increase in patient acceptance. We’re also finding more stuff that needs to be treated,” Dr Brangan adds. “And generally, in dentistry there’s a lot of either untreated disease or untreated old restorations that we watch…this software—you can still watch stuff—but it will note all those things. It will mark them as areas of concern. Well, maybe I should replace that crown, we’ve been watching the open margin for 5 years…so it opens the door to more treatment, but it’s also better care for the patient. It’s higher-quality care. You can watch some, but it can then confirm, yeah, it’s decay [and] you should treat it.”

Dr Brangan expects AI-assisted software to continue to gain use in dentistry.

“I think it’s a practice changer,” he says. “You can treatment plan more efficiently. It’s a great patient education tool. It’s for your hygienist. When I do an exam, my hygienist has taken the x-rays, they’re already up, they show the patient the x-rays, and I go into the room and just kinda close the deal. We use it very efficiently.”

Great Hill is part of a large dental service organization(DSO), and Dr Brangan has spoken in front of several clinicians at dental director meetings. He says the response to Videa has been quite positive.

“We talk about it and we have a bunch of dentists who don’t have it yet, and they come up to the front and want to know how they can get it,” he says. “Once we show [doctors] the benefits of this software, they want it.”

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