Leaders from across the dental industry have announced the formation of the Dental AI Council (DAIC), which is devoted to helping to define the future of artificial intelligence (AI) in dentistry through research and education, according to the organization.
Members represent all major industry constituencies, DAIC said, including practitioners, dental service organizations, equipment manufacturers, practice management software providers, insurance carriers, laboratories, and universities.
As AI begins to yield increased efficiency, accuracy, consistency, and insight in a variety of dental applications, DAIC said, the organization will seek to stimulate greater industry-wide understanding of the technology.
DAIC also said that its primary function is to lead independent research to ascertain where and how AI will prove most valuable to dentistry, empirically validate its functional capabilities and performance, and answer fundamental questions related to AI’s role in tomorrow’s oral healthcare ecosystem.
In addition to research, DAIC said it will facilitate AI-related educational programming, thought leadership content, and public advocacy initiatives.
“Diagnosis, treatment, prosthetics, practice management, claims review, FWA oversight—the list of areas where AI can improve performance in our industry is long,” said Dr. Linda Vidone, chief clinical officer at Delta Dental of Massachusetts.
“To see that performance boost soon, we’ll need to buck a trend where innovation in dental lags behind other medical fields. The DAIC will be a reputable information source and guide to encourage AI’s early adoption and mindful deployment in dentistry,” Vidone said.
DAIC membership includes clinicians, professors, and senior executives of leading companies including Cigna, Delta Dental, DSG, Heartland, Henry Schein, NDX, and Walmart, DAIC said.
“The various dental stakeholders usually have distinct appetites when it comes to fruits of technological progress, but AI is a rare example of a technology that can serve all,” said Dr. Markus Blatz, chair and professor of restorative dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine.
“The range of representatives joining the table here reflects AI’s broad utility and ensures that DAIC research will attend to the whole gamut of industry interests,” said Blatz.
Dr. Roshan Parikh, head at dentistry at Walmart, described the opportunity to engage with leaders across industry constituencies as a key benefit to DAIC membership.
“We need productive interchange of ideas and expertise, cross-pollinated with a best practices-focused mindset to foster advancement in dental AI,” Parikh said. “Simply by bringing such a wide range of perspectives to bear on the topic, the DAIC can deliver tremendous value.”
DAIC notes that Parikh’s sentiments echo those of other AI proponents who have cited the importance of interprofessional coordination in dental AI development. The organization also said that its first and foremost purpose will be to answer calls for greater industry-wide AI literacy.
“At present, the excitement about AI’s enormous value potential in dental is attenuated by misconceptions and even some fear,” said DAIC lead organizer Ophir Tanz, CEO of Pearl.
“To chart a path forward for AI, the dental community needs to understand the science and recognize common fallacies surrounding AI. It’s the DAIC’s mandate to provide that education,” said Tanz.
DAIC has scheduled its first study to be released later this year. The organization also plans on publishing a newsletter. Its 15 founding members are:
- Ashish Tholia, director of strategy, Delta Dental
- Dr. Bruce Lieberthal, chief innovation officer, Henry Schein
- Dr. Kyle Stanley, chief clinical officer, Peal
- Dr. Linda Vidone, chief clinical officer, Delta Dental of Massachusetts
- Lou Azzara, chief executive officer, Dental Services Group Laboratory
- Dr. Markus Blatz, chair and professional of restorative dentistry, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
- Merrit Dake, chief executive officer, Rock Dental
- Mischa Reis, senior vice president, strategy and corporate development, Envista
- Ophir Tanz, chief executive officer, Pearl
- Dr. Robert Mongrain, director of clinical advisors, Heartland Dental
- Ronald Bolden, vice president of dental market insight, Cigna
- Dr. Roshan Parikh, head of dentistry, Walmart
- Dr. Sanjay Mallya, chair and associate professor of oral and maxillofacial radiology, UCLA School of Dentistry
- Steve Bilt, CEO, Smile Brands
- Tom Daulton, CEO and president, National Dentex Laboratories