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Generative AI Orthodontics

Update the Future: The Impact of Generative AI on the Orthodontics Workforce

Why embrace generative AI? This technology amplifies creativity, speeds up problem-solving, and unlocks new possibilities for innovation. It's about working smarter, not harder. By adopting the power of generative AI, professionals across the dental industry can elevate their expertise, streamline workflows, and deliver unparalleled value to their customers.

It's highly unlikely that AI systems will fully replace orthodontists in this lifetime, with the probability being as low as 3% according to some analyses. Early adoption of AI technologies, however, provides a significant competitive edge to organizations.

Generative AI acts as a conduit, enhancing customer experiences by integrating various AI technologies into software and applications. This integration spans from basic functionalities like Q&A sessions, training, and customer support, to more complex applications such as diagnostics, treatment planning, and enhancing clinical outcomes and predictability.

This transformation will be similar to the shift towards digital workflows in dental practices, which marked a transition from traditional methods to fully digital operations—a change driven by convenience and efficiency. The adoption of AI technologies is expected to occur at a faster pace compared to the digital workflow transition, potentially becoming the new industry standard in half the time.

Companies that delay investing in AI technology risk falling behind. Drawing from our experience of onboarding doctors to embrace digital orthodontics technologies, we believe generative AI will be a pivotal innovation in this field.

The key question is, how does one begin? With the right investment, businesses of all sizes can achieve a degree of AI integration. The challenge lies in developing an AI system that seamlessly integrates with existing processes, enhances efficiency without disrupting the organizational structure, and automates essential tasks. This requires a blend of clinical expertise, operational understanding, educational capabilities, and AI vision for digital orthodontics.

Begin with a focused approach. Instead of aiming to develop a comprehensive AI system that handles various tasks, narrow your focus to a singular application. For instance, concentrate on training a large language model specifically to enhance customer service through an AI agent that's knowledgeable about your products. Start with this targeted model, launch it, and only consider expanding its capabilities once it has proven effective.

Creativity is the key. It enables creative individuals to discover innovative ways to engage with their generative AI 'assistants' and introduce fresh approaches to collaboration with their peers. Team-building and collaborative skills are equally crucial as mastering software development and coding, even more so than expertise in analytics and data science. However, creativity truly takes precedence, leading the charge in driving forward-thinking and innovation within teams.

In contrast to new technologies that focus solely on machine capabilities, generative AI enhances human potential. It optimizes the work of creative dental professionals, ranging from content creation to experience and research design, and automates repetitive operations to detect clinical patterns and improve protocols.

We believe the future belongs to those who integrate generative AI into their skill set. It's an invitation to grow, to evolve, and to lead in your respective fields.  Let's not view AI as a threat but as a catalyst for growth and innovation. The question isn't whether AI will replace humans; it's about how we, as orthodontists, choose to embrace these tools to propel us forward. The individuals and organizations that recognize this potential and act on it will set the pace for the future.

Prof Dr Adriano Araujo, DDS, Ms, PhD - Founder of Ortho.i®

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