From Dental Chair to Smartphone: Artificial Intelligence Supports Patients During Bracing Times
Published on 7 May 2020
Dundee-based specialist orthodontic practice Beam Orthodontics has unveiled a revolutionary tool to support patients during lockdown and beyond.
Beam has become one of the first practices in Scotland to adopt Dental Monitoring (DM) which allows patients to monitor their progress by scanning their teeth with an App on their smartphone. Images are then sent on to their clinician, providing more engagement, feedback and reassurance.
Following a pilot last year, Beam is now inviting all adult patients (18+) to download the DM App. Almost 200 patients have transferred over since the lockdown was announced. Beam is also offering a free DM consultation to prospective new patients.
With Artificial Intelligence at its core, the DM App is primarily aimed at Invisalign patients (clear plastic braces). Using technology which is more accurate than the naked eye, patients can scan their teeth regularly, allowing them to track the movement of their teeth and the success of their ongoing treatment.
The patient is also given a ScanBox which holds their smartphone in the correct position. Digital images are then taken, assessed and subjected to AI algorithms which can detect and advise aligner fit, aligner damage, oral hygiene levels, inflammation of the gums and recession. If everything is in order, the patient is prompted to progress to their next set of aligners or, if there are any discrepancies, Beam is alerted and will respond as appropriate.
Meanwhile, Dental Monitoring Light, a scaled-back, non-AI version of the App, allows other adult patients to scan and submit photos of their fixed braces if they require reassurance or advice with a particular issue. Orthodontists can even ‘draw’ on the photos to highlight a particular tooth when responding.
Specialist orthodontist and Beam Founder Rhu McKelvey said, “Dental Monitoring is making a real difference to our patients, especially at this time when our commitment to providing care to both new and existing patients has never been more important.
“For existing patients, Dental Monitoring provides reassurance that their treatment plan is running smoothly, flagging up any issues and significantly reducing the number of appointments they need to attend. It’s also increasing our engagement with patients and the accuracy of that engagement. After all, a picture paints a thousand words so we can identify problems sooner than we could on the phone. Although patients love to visit us at Beam, they’re also enjoying having ‘an orthodontist in their pocket’, especially at this time.
“Meanwhile, for those looking to explore orthodontic treatment, our remote consultations are a great stepping stone to getting patients on track sooner. We can identify their problems, establish whether they need braces and explain the options open to them, all in the comfort of their own home.
“Of course, there are advantages to us as a business too. Dental Monitoring is making us even more efficient as clinicians, keeping cases on track, completing them more efficiently and hitting the target first time. Yes, its use in the clinic has been accelerated since Covid-19 hit but we see Dental Monitoring playing an increasingly important role within our practice and the global dental market in the months and years ahead.”
Patient and International Rugby player Kaleem Baretto from Dundee said, “I discovered Invisalign through a family member, yet dismissed the idea due to playing rugby full-time. I thought it may have proved more of a hassle and I was abroad in Nice and had no means of frequent visits and check-ups. However, the initial consultation completely changed my mind. Introduction of the ScanBox and DM App made it almost easier than being in Scotland and the transition was seamless from the first meet to now. The ScanBox is proving very easy to use with step-by-step instructions, and I always have Rhu on the other end for immediate help whatever that may be.”
Meanwhile, Jonathan Stewart from Dundee added, “Dental Monitoring is really easy to use – it takes less than two minutes to take a scan and submit it, then you get feedback within a few hours. The DM App is user-friendly and occasionally updates with new information. You have access to every scan. The ‘before and after’ feature is good. It puts all the scans together into a digital collage so it’s easy to see the progress of your treatment. “
The Beam team provide orthodontic treatment to patients across Dundee, Fife, Perthshire, Angus and beyond, creating beautiful smiles for people of all ages. Based in South Tay Street, Dundee, the highly-qualified team is led by three specialist orthodontists sharing 40 years of experience.