AI-based analysis of dental radiographs saves time

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Artificial intelligence-based analysis of dental radiographs saves time in patient care


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A newly developed software program detects caries, infections and restorations such as crowns, implants and root canal fillings in dental radiographs and marks its findings in colour. (Image: BIH)

Tue. 8. September 2020


BERLIN, Germany: Dentists at Charité—Universitätsmedizin Berlin, together with data scientists and programmers, have developed dentalXrai Pro—a software program that allows dental practitioners to perform the analysis of radiographs based on artificial intelligence (AI). The new software was designed to help dentists identify pathologies and restorations more accurately and in less time in order to provide optimal treatment and improve communication with patients.

Prof. Falk Schwendicke, chief medical officer and co-founder of the project and head of the Department of Oral Diagnosis, Digital Health and Health Services Research at Charité, said in a press release: “[dentalXrai Pro] raises dentistry to a standardised, high-quality level and immensely speeds up the analysis of X-rays, so that dentists can use the time more effectively for talking to patients”.

Large data set of dental radiographs

Since most dental practices already take digital radiographs, these can be easily transmitted to dentalXrai Pro. In order to deliver a pre-analysed image within a very short time, the browser-based software accesses high-performance computers and a whole range of algorithms.

These algorithms are the result of in-depth software training using a very large data set of dental radiographs, including panoramic and bitewing images. Dentists from around the world identified tens of thousands of pathological changes and traces of previous dental treatments on the radiographs. This data was then fed to the artificial neural networks, enabling them to distinguish between different findings, such as caries, infections and root canal fillings.

DentalXrai as a digital second opinion in the dental practice

“AI is not responsible for the dental examination and does not reach decisions on the treatment,” emphasised Schwendicke. It does, however, facilitate the process for dental professionals and includes patients in the diagnosis. According to Schwendicke, this “second opinion of a digital colleague” helps to create trust between dentists and their patients.

In the coming months, the focus will be on sales. “We want to use our networks and find business partners who can bring our software to dental practices,” said Schwendicke. The project was funded by the Digital Health Accelerator of the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH). “We saw that the project had great potential and benefits for patients from the very beginning,” commented Thomas Gazlig, director of BIH Innovations.

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