Hong Kong Researchers Develop AI Model for Gingivitis Screening with Over 90% Accuracy
Hong Kong, June 15, 2023 – A team of international researchers led by the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Hong Kong has successfully developed and tested an AI model for screening gingivitis, a common gum inflammation condition, through intraoral images.
The groundbreaking study, one of the first to explore the application of AI in gingivitis detection, utilized 550 images of gums exhibiting varying degrees of inflammation. The findings, published in the International Dental Journal, the official journal of the World Dental Federation, highlight the AI model's remarkable ability to identify signs of inflammation, including redness, swelling, and bleeding, with an accuracy exceeding 90%.
Collaborating institutions included 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.
Early detection of gum inflammation is crucial as it serves as a key indicator of periodontal disease. Timely identification allows for proactive prevention and management of oral and systemic diseases, such as tooth loss, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes.
The research team is now focused on expanding the application of their AI model to community services, aiming to enhance access to dental care for underserved communities, particularly the elderly.
The integration of AI technology into dentistry has gained momentum in recent years, ranging from cavity detection and treatment outcome prediction to the design of artificial teeth. In the United States, startups like VideaHealth and Overjet have developed AI-powered tools for periodontal disease detection. Additionally, Pearl recently introduced its FDA-approved AI diagnostic support tool, Second Opinion, to Australia and New Zealand.
Dr. Walter Yu-Hang Lam, one of the study's lead researchers, emphasized the significance of AI as a screening tool in detecting and diagnosing gum disease. He stated, "Our study shows that AI can be a valuable screening tool in detecting and diagnosing gum disease, one of the key indicators of periodontal disease, allowing earlier intervention and better health outcomes for the population."
This breakthrough in gingivitis screening opens new possibilities for leveraging AI technology to improve oral health worldwide.
The study, Accuracy of Artificial Intelligence-Based Photographic Detection of Gingivitis, is available on the International Dental Journal (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.identj.2023.03.007).