When Dr. Joshua Prentice is evaluating technology for his private practice, he always starts with two questions:
- How will this improve patient experience?
- How will this make my practice more efficient?
That criteria became even more critical during COVID when his team of five people became just four.
“With a smaller team, we want to be as efficient and effective as possible,” explained Dr. Prentice. “How can we automate processes, save time, and improve patient experience?”
In the summer of 2022, Dr. Prentice added Overjet’s artificial intelligence for radiograph analysis and clinical insights to Ponderosa Dental Center in Bend, Oregon. It’s made an immediate difference in his practice.
AI Generating 20% – 30% Increase in Production
Overjet’s FDA-cleared AI technology analyzes and annotates dental X-rays in real time, adding color and quantification to the images. Decay is colored orange or red depending on whether it reaches the dentin, and bone level measurements are red or green based on the severity of the bone loss. The color coding helps draw the eye to areas that may require a closer look.
The software integrates with the digital imaging and practice management systems and does an 18-month chart review of the patient database to identify potential treatment needs. It displays the findings on a Daily Patients dashboard, which Dr. Prentice’s hygienists and dental assistant review to prepare for their day.
“We’re being thorough and systematic and making sure nothing falls through the cracks,” said Dr. Prentice. “Daily, Overjet finds things that we may have overlooked. We’re all human. We all miss stuff. The software helps us to know where to look, and then we use our clinical judgment to decide how to proceed.”
In addition to providing valuable information to assist in diagnosis, artificial intelligence is also helping with case presentation and treatment acceptance.
Patients can easily see the AI-generated colors and markings. That facilitates the conversation and leads to co-diagnosing and increased acceptance of recommended treatment. This increase in case acceptance has supported increasing production in Dr. Prentice’s office by 20-30% since its implementation.
“I’ll walk in and say, ‘Here’s what the software that reviews our X-rays discovered. We should pay extra attention to these areas,'” said Dr. Prentice. The patients can see the markings and will ask questions about what the different colors and bone level measurements mean. It turns them into active participants in their care, and the objective analysis reinforces the doctor’s diagnosis and builds trust in the treatment plan the doctor is proposing.
Dr. Prentice said there’s another benefit to showing the patient the annotated radiographs. It makes the technology the bearer of bad news and makes the doctor the hero who can solve the problem.
“This is no longer just me saying that I see something. We can look at the Overjet analysis together. It’s objective, and patients appreciate the clear and easy-to-understand information. It empowers them to be an active driver for their oral health and creates a better overall experience.”
Dr. Prentice is frequently an early adopter of technology and has integrated state-of-the-art technologies, including intraoral scanning, in-house milling, iTero scans, automated online scheduling, and patient texting.
He believes dental AI will become a must-have technology for solo dental practices like his and dental groups.
“This improves dental care. It shows you where to look. It gives you more information to help you diagnose. We’re treating patients better because we’re catching problems earlier,” said Dr. Prentice.