Clyde Munro Dental Group helping polish pioneering use of AI to tackle tooth decay

Artificial intelligence (AI) billed as being able to improve the accuracy of the way early tooth decay is diagnosed and prevented is being tested for the first time in Scotland by a large-scale dentistry business.

By Emma Newlands
Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 2:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 2:43 pm

Clyde Munro Dental Group says it has started a pilot, with five of its dentists – based in Bishopbriggs and Partick in Glasgow, plus Aberdeen and the Lothians – providing feedback for the development of AssistDent technology created by AI dental specialist Manchester Imaging.

The offering is focused on decay on the surfaces between teeth, using machine-learning algorithms to analyse dental x-rays. Clyde Munro says that if enamel change is caught early enough, fillings can be avoided and the enamel change managed by non-invasive methods including fluoride treatments.

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Monica Febrero Smith, a dentist at Coia & Associates in Partick, is involved in the pilot. She said the AssistDent technology has been “very accurate” so far, adding: “We’re only at the very beginning of this journey, but it’s hugely exciting to see AI developments already starting to have a positive impact on the treatment of patients in practice in Scotland.”

Clyde Munro, which has 65-plus practices in Scotland, also said AssistDent’s “positive diagnostic impact” was recently established in a peer review published in the British Dental Journal.

The firm’s chief operating officer Fiona Wood cited Scotland’s “major problem” with tooth decay, adding: “The AI is a useful tool to show and demonstrate to patients areas of dental need or concern to give the patient the chance to reverse enamel changes… Clyde Munro has always been enthusiastic early adopters of new technologies which improve patient-experience and improve Scotland’s dental health.”

AssistDent works by using machine-learning algorithms to analyse x-rays and highlight or confirm areas of concern. Picture: contributed.