The prevalence of oral diseases, mainly dental caries and periodontal diseases, are increasing worldwide including Norway, resulting in serious health and economic burdens, and greatly reducing the quality of life for those affected. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 estimated that oral diseases affected half of the world’s population (3.58 billion people) with dental caries (tooth decay) being the most prevalent condition assessed. Another prevalent oral disease i.e. severe periodontal (gum) disease, which may result in tooth loss is also increasing globally. Dental treatment is usually very costly, averaging 5 % of total health expenditure and 20 % of out-of-pocket health expenditure in high-income nations. Therefore, it is a major public health concern globally to identify individuals and treat their oral abnormal changes at an early stage, before any symptoms become noticeable. This would significantly help in reducing the overall healthcare expenditure and save huge expenses.
Every year around 75-85 % Norwegian adults above age 18 years visit their dentists for an annual oral health check-up. In the interest of improving the health care system, it would be a great opportunity to implement an automated computer-aided-diagnosis tool to detect oral health-related abnormalities beforehand. Hence, there is an imperative need to develop and integrate new computational models with the ability to analyze data to retrieve useful information to aid clinicians in accurately diagnosing oral abnormalities. Furthermore, it is of great interest for the patient to reduce variation in interpretation between operators of the images used in dental diagnostics, and also to be able to objectively grade and document findings efficiently. AI has the potential to revolutionize dental healthcare and may assist in addressing the weaknesses harshly criticized in conventional dental care.