Patients Prefer AI in Practices? What it Sees That You May Not | Mike Buckner | MME

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Have you been wondering how AI could revolutionize dental practices and patient care? In this Monday Morning Episode, we chat with Mike Buckner from Pearl, an AI company dedicated to transforming the dentistry landscape with cutting-edge technology. I begin by asking for insights on integrating AI into dental practices, Mike emphasizes that, despite the confidence many experienced dentists have in their diagnostic skills, patients increasingly expect advanced technologies that offer precision and unparalleled care. He delves into how Pearl’s AI assists by marking pathologies on dental x-rays, making dental issues more comprehensible to patients and boosting acceptance of recommended treatment plans.

Mike shares compelling statistics from the CDC on undiagnosed conditions and highlights how AI offers a valuable second look, ensuring no critical details are overlooked. He discusses the reliability of AI, acknowledging its occasional false positives or negatives but likening it to a TSA scanner that identifies areas warranting closer dentist inspection. Throughout the conversation, he emphasizes that AI aids rather than replaces dentists, providing them with robust tools to enhance diagnostic accuracy. A deeply personal story about his wife’s missed breast cancer diagnosis underscores the broad potential of AI to elevate diagnostic care across medical fields. As the episode wraps up, Mike encourages listeners to explore Pearl’s offerings and consider a demo to experience AI’s benefits firsthand.

What You'll Learn in This Episode:

  • How AI is transforming the field of dentistry and patient expectations
  • The advantages of using AI for diagnosing dental issues through x-ray analysis
  • Key statistics on undiagnosed conditions and the role of AI in mitigating these
  • The limitations and reliability of AI in diagnostic procedures
  • Personal anecdotes highlighting the broader significance of AI in healthcare diagnostics

Don't miss out on discovering how AI can elevate your dental practice and ensure the best patient care – tune in to this episode now!

Pearl AI:
The Future of Dentistry, Powered by AI: (Don't forget to mention you heard about Pearl AI on the podcast!)

You can reach out to Mike Buckner here:


Can You Beat AI?

Mentions and Links:

Podcast Episodes:




Sources for Referenced Stats:

Development of a Deep Learning Algorithm for Periapical Disease Detection in Dental Radiographs

Diagnosis of Occlusal Caries: Part I. Conventional Methods

Products - Data Briefs - Number 307 - April 2018

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Episode Transcript (Auto-Generated - Please Excuse Errors)

Michael: Hey Mike. So talk to us. What's one piece of advice you can give us this Monday morning?

Mike: A little background. I work at a, an AI company, right? Pearl. and so what we're doing is we're helping dentists see and analyze everything that's on the x rays that are taken.

And oftentimes, you know, it's really interesting, but oftentimes talk to dentists who say, you know what, I've been looking at x rays. for the last 20, 30 years, I don't need help. I don't need technology to help me look at or diagnose or find things on x rays. I never miss anything on my x rays.

And I guess a piece of advice that I would give is that it's not necessarily about. You know, that sounds really bad, but it's really about the patient and what the patient is expecting. oftentimes we get an influx of patients that reach out to us at Pearl are asking us, Hey, can you help us find a dentist in the area that we live in that utilizes artificial intelligence?

because they've been burned before. They've had bad experiences before they needed to go and get a second opinion before. And so it's really about what the patient's expectations are. What is going to give your patients the peace of mind that they are going to a practice that leverages the latest and greatest in technology so that they are going to someone who's going to provide them with the best oral care available.

Michael: And so you guys have been bumping into this a lot with regular population, general population asking.

Mike: Yeah. So we, we get a lot of patients that,have an interest in what we're doing with artificial intelligence and highlighting all of the pathologies on the x rays because really what it does is it's giving the patients as a patient's in the chair.

It gives them the opportunity really for the first time to kind of see what the clinician's seeing, to see what the doctor's seeing. The dentist can look at the x rays and he can see and analyze almost everything that's on there. But when he's pointing out the treatment to the patient, the patient's like, I'm sorry, everything looks

Kind of gray or this dark color gray, because the doctor's like, do you see this area right here? That's a little darker and for them. They're not seeing it But when AI can come in and highlight all of those areas on the x ray it breaks it down for them It helps them see it and understand it and when they see it and they understand what's going on in the x rays it makes sense to them.

It truly leads to an increase in case acceptance.

Michael: Do you, Mike, by any chance have stats on how much missed things have happened you know what I mean? like my own self trust. I got this. Don't worry. I've been doing this for years. Compared to AI.

Mike: I do. In fact, I'm glad you asked that. We did not rehearse this before, but I actually have some stats up that I wanted to share.

this is right off of the CDC website. are some studies show that 43 percent of carries in x rays are undiagnosed. 20 percent of carries diagnosed in patients are not actually carries. here's the big one, 49%, almost right down the middle, almost a coin toss 49 percent of periapical radiolucency and x raysare undiagnosed.

That's huge. Yeah. That's massive. And even if it's just one that's missed, now, unfortunately we're seeing it more than ever. We're seeing, law firms that are advertising to patients. saying, Hey, did your dentist miss this or miss that? Cause if so, click here and submit a claim and we're going to go after him and get you some money.

It's, unfortunate, but that's really the way that things are going. So, This just allows that second set of eyes, that peace of mind, especially as you have associates, you've got other people working with you in the practice to make sure that everyone is seeing all of the detections.

It's not diagnosing. But it's just helping highlight and find things earlier or sooner than human eye might be able to.

Michael: the human eye can only see between 30 and 50 different shades and tones of gray, artificial intelligence, it has the ability to really pick up and highlight between 500 and 700 different shades and tones of gray, it really is able to catch things earlier than what a dentist might be confident in finding diagnosing.

Gotcha. Okay. now this is a question I've seen floating around. Can AI make mistakes?

Mike: Absolutely. In fact, what I would say is that when you do install or implement AI, there will be times that you'll look at it and it might be a false positive.

It might be a false negative. And here's really kind of reasoning behind it. if you go onto your phone, your iPhone. And they have that search in your photos, you can go to your photos and you can search and type in something fairly generic into the search. You can type in like a dog or a cat and it's going to go in and it's going to give you all of the pictures, all categorized, all bunched together, all the pictures of dogs in your phone.

But you might have a couple of those that are going to be cats or might be deer or might be something else, but it looks very similar to that. Now, this is where it's not a replacement for the doctor. It's not a replacement for the human eye, because if you look at that, you can easily see, Oh, you know what?

It's actually a deer. It looks like a dog, but I can tell that it's a deer. The same thing applies with the x rays. Sometimes the x ray might be taken on a poor angulation or with a lot of overlap and it might pick something up. But looking at it, oftentimes the doctor will say well, yeah, I can see why it might be highlighting or showing that as carries.

But I know that there's just massive area of overlap or something else that, they can easily see and pick up.

Michael: So would you recommend if we're utilizing Pearl or AI, right? We use it Hey, this is our first round and then I will double check it as a doctor and make sure it looks good.

Or the other way around,

Mike: because it works instantaneously, I would almost suggest look at the areas that the AI is saying, Hey, there might be a curious lesion here. Very similar, Michael, when you go through like TSA at the airport, you walk through that scanner.

And when you walk through, there's a little box that it shows kind of an outline of a person and it shows a little box to the TSA agent saying, Hey, you should probably check this area. And that's very similar to what the AI is doing. showing you the areas to the dentist that saying, Hey, you might want to check this area based upon the pixels on the x ray in this area.

There's a high likelihood that there's, radiolucency that's found within this area.

Michael: Gotcha. it's really good. To always keep that alert on this thing. And so with AI, you mentioned that patients reach out to you. Is there a specific thing that you guys do where you're like, Hey, there's doctors near you who have, you know,

Mike: So we don't have anything that's programmed yet that we, have released, probably coming soon, kind of a little teaser there but, is something that AI is huge in medicine. we talked about this, right before this podcast where, it affected me as well. In fact, my wife's breast cancer was missed on a mammogram. And I started researching where is AI in mammography we're seeing more and more of it, but patients are aware of this.

Patients know that AI is here to stay. It is really elevating the standard of care because humans are prone to mistake. Humans are prone to errors and missing things. And the AI is really kind of that, unbiased, able to just highlight all the data that's shown and let the clinicians, let the doctors make the final decision.

Michael: Gotcha. Can I ask Mike, what made you, when it came to the breast cancer with your wife, get like a second opinion and not just depend on that one doctor and say, Hey, cool.

Mike: Yeah. It's funny. there was a phrase that was shared with us when the oncologist, showed us the mammogram and then he said, we can do an ultrasound.

We did the ultrasound. Same thing. It's not really typical to what we see with breast cancer. And then he said, we can watch it. you're young, I wouldn't worry about it. You can come back next year. We'll get another mammogram.

We can see if it's changed in size or anything. I'm like, there's no way there's no way I'm watching it. Cause I know what that means. What are we going to watch it do? We're going to watch it get bigger. I don't want to play with that. that's really where I thought, you know what? kind of. wanted to research where is AI in mammography? Because this all happened while I'm working at Pearl, while I'm working at a company that is bringing artificial intelligence, aid or detections to x rays. those words, we can watch it. To me, it was like, okay, the doctor sees something there, but is not certain enough.

To give a diagnosis.

went ahead with the biopsy and the biopsy came back positive. She's doing well now, but the biopsy came back positive and I went home and I was like, Oh my gosh, of course. humans make mistakes.

don't blame him because here's the thing that I don't know. Was that his first mammogram that he looked at on Monday, or was that his 500th mammogram that he looked at on Friday and where everything is kind of all blending together, can't blame him for that, humans just make mistakes, but that's really where after we got the results back from the biopsy, I went back and I started researching this.

And, AI in medicine is making massive strides all across all the different fields in medicine. And it's exciting because I do think that it will improve the overall standard of care.

Michael: That's interesting. Man, that you mentioned that because for a lot of patients. Dental or not, like this is their, visit, whether they're in the chair, right?

And then they're getting checked up on and stuff like that, that could be their first most terrifying experience ever. But for the doctor, it's it's Friday, my last pay, I just want to get out of here kind of thing. Right. I have stuff to do. And so the doctor could be super experienced.

But the time of day and how they're feeling and everything plays a huge factor, and that's what can miss it, right? And so I guess we're not really thinking of, oh, this is the patient's first and most terrifying experience ever here with us. And they're depending on me to get everything on point, but I'm like, I gotta get

Mike: out of here

Michael: kind of thing, right?

Mike: Yeah. you look at those x rays, we've been looking at the same black and white and gray technology for a long time now

oftentimes it is kind of on the fence, like, should we treat it? Should we not? We don't want to be too aggressive. But I remember I've been to the dentist before and the dentist has told me like, ah, there's something here, but might want to just keep an eye on it.

And I'm like either there is, or there isn't. Can we stop it? Can we do something to remineralize whatever? But don't just let me walk out of here. If you see something there let's take care of it. I want to fix it.

Michael: Yeah. A hundred percent, man. That's true. Awesome. Mike, thank you so much for your time.

I appreciate it. But if anyone has further questions or concerns, where can they reach out to me?

Mike: Actually you can go to our website. Hellopearl. com. If you go to our website, you can sign up for a demo of Pearl. see how the AI interfaces with your x rays.

what it can do for your practice. So we really have designed different features and different tools for all areas of the practice, whether it's front office, whether you're a hygienist, you're a dentist. We really have, explored ways to leverage artificial intelligence to really increase overall efficiency and the standard of care in the practice.

Michael: Awesome. So that's going to be in the show notes below. So you can reach out to Mike and get that free demo. Mike, thank you so much for being with us on this Monday morning episode.

Mike: Thank you very much.