THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW Highlighting best practice
it is the present. It is technology we already own and deploy at our practice on every single new patient we treat. The next step is artificial intelligence and dental monitoring through smartphones. I have recently become a key opinion leader for Dental Monitoring, one of the most forward-thinking digital companies in dentistry. They have launched technology that allows an Invisalign orthodontic patient to track the fit of their aligners and the success of their ongoing treatment by scanning their teeth with their smartphone. The patient is given a ScanBox which holds the smartphone in the correct position. Then, 4,000 digital photos are taken, assessed and subjected to artificial intelligence algorithms that can detect and advise aligner fit, oral hygiene levels, inflammation of the gums and recession. They advise the patient if they are allowed to change their aligner or if they should attend the dentist for a hygiene session. What we are seeing is the enabling of remote tracking of a patient’s orthodontic process from anywhere around the world. We are seeing this data being analysed and compiled into global trends and patterns that can speed up or slow down treatment time based on what it sees. We are seeing a patient’s oral hygiene compliance assessed and regulated through their smartphone. There is a recognised lag between technology being introduced and habits being changed. Unfortunately, those in the dental profession that lag with digital record-keeping may well be depriving their patient of the most comprehensive consent, while also leaving themselves open to increased litigation. It is our responsibility to educate and lead.
Unparalleled visualisation and accuracy
The scans are sent on to our digital technician who designs an image in CAD-CAM to demonstrate what could be achieved through crowns and veneers to restore the damaged enamel surfaces. These visuals are then presented to the patient alongside their initial scans as a “before and after” comparison so they can once again visualise what we could deliver. The mere act of taking a scan and demonstrating digital outcomes is not only more comprehensive for the patient, but it also protects the clinician. When carrying out irreversible preparation of teeth, especially when an orthodontic outcome could have delivered a similar outcome, proving that the patient wasn’t just offered options but saw both solutions achievable from both techniques will confirm that the best-possible informed consent was given and obtained. When these processes become acknowledged as the accepted minimum, then dentistry which does not present digital outcomes before commencing will be deemed as negligent. The next step forward It may be hard to believe, but what I have described is not the future;
Digital consent is a commitment to never carrying out complex dentistry until it has been completed in