An international study led by researchers from the The University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Dentistry has developed and tested a new AI model to screen for gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, using images in the mouth.
The study, which is one of the first to investigate the use of AI in detecting gingivitis, used 550 gingival images with varying degrees of inflammation.
Related to ResultsPublished in the International Dental Journal, the official journal of the World Dental Federation, the novel AI model is able to detect signs of inflammation such as redness, swelling and bleeding along the gums with over 90% accuracy.
The study also involved researchers from the Department of Computer Science at Hong Kong Chu Hai College, the School of Information Engineering at Guangdong University of Technology and the Faculty of Dentistry at the National University of Malaysia.
WHY IT MATTERS
Inflammation of the gums is an important indicator of periodontitis. Early detection helps prevent and treat adjacent oral and systemic diseases, including tooth loss, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
The research team now wants to extend the application of their AI model to community services, thereby improving access to dental care for elderly and underserved communities.
THE BIGGER TREND
In dentistry, AI has been increasingly used in recent years, from detecting tooth decay to predicting treatment outcomes and designing artificial teeth.
In the United States, startups like VideaHealth and Overjet have developed AI-powered tools that also help identify periodontal disease. Pearl recently brought its FDA-cleared tool to support AI diagnostics, Second Opinion, to Australia and New Zealand.
ON THE RECORD
“Many patients do not attend regular dental check-ups and only visit the dentist for pain relief when their teeth are in the end-stage of dental disease where tooth loss is inevitable and only expensive rehabilitation treatments are available,” our study shows that AI can be a valuable screening tool in detecting and diagnosing gum disease, one of the key indicators of periodontitis, and enabling earlier intervention and better health outcomes for the population,” says Dr. Walter Yu-Hang Lam, one of the lead researchers on the study. explained.