Artificial Intelligence: Revolutionizing Dentistry & Mental Health

In Innovation by Dental Entrepreneur

This week, my 10-year-old son, Blake, asked me if he could use ChatGPT to do his homework. I usually follow a strict parental guideline that, in my family, we call “The Rodgers Guiding Principles,” which would quickly answer NO to such a question. Instead of saying yes or no, we discussed ChatGPT, OpenAI, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the ethical use of technology. I believe children and humans need to have a mind of their own, and they should be taught skills for critical thinking. The other side is that we should not hold our children and employees back from utilizing technology to their benefit. My discussion with Blake about using ChatGPT was enlightening, and I will let you know my conclusion at the end of this article.

The forecast for AI in healthcare projects a formidable growth trajectory, with the industry’s global value just within AI being poised to eclipse $187.95 billion by 2030. Dentistry is poised to be a significant beneficiary of this growth as it leverages AI technologies to enhance various operational areas, from patient interactions to diagnostic precision. 

The highest growth opportunity in AI is within the mental health area. That segment is expected to grow by 37% from 2023 to 2030. We are seeing products like Shine AI by Mental Wellness Impact with configurable AI avatars that speak to patients and provide relevant resources and real-time scheduling with mental wellness providers. Similar technology is also being developed in dentistry.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a potent force in modern healthcare, transforming numerous facets of medical practice. As an integral part of this landscape, dentistry has not been an exception to this influence. The application of AI has brought about significant advancements in dentistry, enhancing its efficiency, precision, and scope.

AI: The Bedrock of Modern Dental Practice

With its capability to analyze vast amounts of data, AI has revolutionized how we approach dental health care. Its influence is not limited to patient care alone but extends to administrative tasks, research, and dentistry education.

AI has mainly made a mark in the clinical aspect of dentistry. Incorporating AI in diagnostic tools has already been a game-changer in the dental industry. It’s common for AI to detect anomalies in dental radiographs that human eyes may overlook due to fatigue, distractions, or limited time. AI bolsters the diagnostic process by providing an extra layer of scrutiny, ensuring thorough and meticulous assessments. It’s noteworthy that AI, while providing insightful data, is an adjunct to human expertise and not a replacement for it. The final decision-making power still rests with the trained dental professionals, who utilize AI as a support tool in their practice​​.

The use of AI in dentistry extends to dental administration. AI aids in streamlining insurance claims and enhancing record-keeping. Its ability to monitor patient progress and compare performance across multiple practices is invaluable in a data-driven healthcare system. Products like OneClick Referral utilize AI for managing referral colleagues and patient communication during the referral process. AI matches personality types to how the practice communicates with each patient based on their personality type.

Furthermore, AI has shown promise in unveiling potential correlations between dental and general health. By sifting through large volumes of data, AI may identify patterns that could lead to a more holistic and preventative approach to healthcare.

AI’s Indispensable Role in Dental Education

The role of AI isn’t limited to the confines of the dental clinic. It has made significant strides in the realm of dental education as well. In the hands of educators, AI can be a powerful tool that provides an interactive and immersive learning experience for students. This is particularly pertinent in an era where virtual technologies have accelerated due to the pandemic, paving the way for AI systems like ChatGPT to be integrated into educational settings​​.

In the evolving landscape of dental education, AI applications are being leveraged to enhance traditional learning strategies. As a result, dental schools are beginning to recognize the need to update their curriculum in response to these advancements. Implementing AI-based strategies, such as peer learning and search for resources, can be integrated into the curriculum to better align with student learning strategies​​.

The advancement of AI in dental education has also prompted discussions on the need for a core curriculum on AI in dentistry. The objective is to equip dental students with the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate and effectively use AI applications in their future practice.

ChatGPT: A Leap Forward in Dental Practice and Education

Among the various AI tools, ChatGPT by OpenAI stands out as a transformative tool for the dental industry. It has demonstrated its potential by enhancing diagnostic accuracy, answering patient queries, and facilitating complex conversation flows. The stateful nature of ChatGPT, which allows it to learn from previous interactions, makes it a valuable tool in patient care, dental education, and research.

ChatGPT can provide a comprehensive patient education tool capable of answering questions on dental conditions, procedures, and general oral hygiene. Its human-like conversation ability can alleviate patient anxieties, and it can also manage appointment scheduling and follow-ups.

ChatGPT is being utilized as a dynamic teaching tool in the educational realm. It can assist dental students in understanding complex topics, engaging in interactive case discussions, and developing their diagnostic skills. Additionally, AI can be used to simulate patient interactions, helping students hone their communication skills. AI-enabled learning can prepare students for real-world scenarios, equipping them with a robust skill set for their future practice.

The Future of AI in Dentistry

The impact of AI on dentistry is set to grow even further. Developments in AI are expected to facilitate the creation of an advanced comprehensive care system, which will enhance patient care and spur innovative research and development in dentistry. Innovative inter-professional coordination among clinicians, researchers, and engineers will likely be instrumental in driving AI development in this sector​​.

Technologies such as 3D scanning and smartphone applications are already commonplace in the dental industry and continue to evolve. The dental community has shown interest in leveraging the metaverse, a virtual environment that simulates the natural world, for dental education and telemedicine consultations. This could transform how dentistry is taught and practiced, bringing a new dimension to the field​​.

AI’s potential in dentistry is vast, but it’s essential to address the ethical and legal implications of its implementation. This includes concerns about patient privacy and the potential for misinterpretation of data. Ensuring that AI is used responsibly will be critical to successfully integrating it into dentistry.


AI, with its immense potential, has been a transformative force in dentistry. It has not only improved the efficiency and precision of dental practice but has also enriched dental education. As AI continues to evolve, it will undoubtedly continue to reshape the landscape of dentistry, bringing new opportunities and challenges. As we navigate this transformation, we must ensure that AI is used responsibly and in the best interest of patient care. The future of dentistry is bright, and AI promises to play a significant role.

My answer to Blake about using ChatGPT to help him with his homework: “The purpose of parenting and school and teachers is to prepare you and give you the life skills to be successful and happy. AI and ChatGPT are here to stay. If you can become an expert and utilize AI to have a positive impact on your life and career, then you should start to learn them now. So YES, you can use ChatGPT to do your homework, just as long as you are reading and learning the information, utilizing it for good, customizing the content output enough to make it yours, and it is ok with your school and teacher.” 

About Travis Rodgers

Travis first developed his love of artificial intelligence at IBM from 2011 to 2014 when his team at IBM developed some of the first artificial intelligence solutions for “cloning talent” to identify the best match for enterprise talent acquisition teams. In the dental industry, Travis and his team at DrDDS Innovations have continued to utilize AI for their database product, referral product, marketing automation, and others. In 2024, Travis will be launching an AI-based mental wellness application to address what has become the most significant growing issue in healthcare.