In a recent article for DentistryIQ, Dr. Oksana Bandura offers an overview of the ways in which computer-aided diagnosis systems can empower dentists. As a general radiologist, Bandura has over three years of clinical experience in the field and works as an image analysis researcher with ScienceSoft. Drawing on her expertise in radiology, Bandura explains how various forms of computer-aided diagnosis systems for dentistry can be used for preventive care purposes.

Many dentists know that dental computer-aided diagnosis systems can diagnose various dental pathologies. However, recent studies show that by expanding the scope of computer-aided diagnosis systems for dentistry, dentists can analyze other regions of interest in patients, effectively identifying issues in other parts of the body before they become serious problems.

These studies also show that by increasing the scope of their scans, dentists can detect early signs of various conditions such as maxillary sinusitis, osteoporosis, and carotid artery calcification.

Maxillary sinusitis is detectable using panoramic radiographs, but new dentists often overlook the signs of this particular condition, according to Bandura. A recent study by Ohashi, Ariji, and Katsumata et al. demonstrates that maxillary sinusitis can be diagnosed using CAD.

Osteoporosis is something that patients often develop without realizing it. Loss of bone density makes bones more fragile. The disease isn’t generally accompanied by any symptoms; then, one day, a bone will break without warning. Screening for osteoporosis is therefore incredibly important in certain patient populations; however, many patients don’t seek out these kinds of screenings. As Suprijanto, Diputra, and Mayantasari concluded in their recent paper presented at the 3rd International Conference on Instrumentation Control and Automation, dentists have a unique opportunity to provide this service to patients. This can help patients put a stop to the disease before it progresses any further.

Calcification of the carotid artery is a warning sign of more severe arterial disease. Like osteoporosis, this condition can go unnoticed until it’s too late. Bandura points out that according to a new study by Sawagashira, Hayashi, and Hara et al., dentists are able to spot carotid artery calcification using a dental panoramic X-ray. Armed with the knowledge that their arteries are experiencing a significant buildup of fatty deposits, a patient can work with their primary care physician to reverse the condition before it worsens.

Dentists have a unique opportunity to prevent serious diseases utilizing computer-aided diagnosis systems for dentistry. Armed with the knowledge of what to look for, they can not only provide their patients with top quality dental care, they can also give them life-saving information about other developing conditions.

Nima Dayani, D.D.S., M.S. –