Dentists Advocate the Use of Artificial Intelligence in Dental Health Care in Nigeria

Dental professionals have advocated the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in dental health care in Nigeria. They gave this charge at the 15th Annual Scientific Conference and 5th Alumni Guest Lecture of the Faculty of Dental Sciences, College of Medicine (CMUL), University of Lagos (UNILAG).

The hybrid event which was held on Thursday, August 17, 2023, at the Old Great Hall, CMUL, Idi-Araba, had dignitaries, staff and students of the College as well as alumni of the Faculty in attendance.

The Conference, with the theme, “Oral Health Care in the 21st Century – Dental Education, Dental Patients and Business Models” kicked off with the presentation of scientific papers by various members of faculty and students.

Dr. Soyombo

It featured a keynote address delivered by an alumna of the Faculty (1986 set), who is a UK-based Consultant Peridontist and CEO, Dental Specialists MK, Dr. Bola Soyombo via zoom. In her presentation, she alluded to the fact that “almost half of the world’s population suffer from oral defects”. She noted that dental education has evolved over time, from apprentice-based education to the 1st Dental School in Baltimore to Science and Clinical Skills Curriculum in the 20th Century and to “Technological Advances with Virtual Simulation AI driven tools and Teledentistry” in the 21st Century. Dr. Soyombo also touched on 21st century curriculum trends. She highlighted some of the trends to include: Virtual & remote learning, teledentistry training, patient-centred education, problem-based learning, advanced imaging and AI assisted diagnostics, simulation-based learning, etcetera.

The seasoned Consultant Peridontist further discussed the strategic drivers of change in dental education & training; how technology and artificial intelligence can be incorporated into dental education and endodontics. Lastly, she discussed the constantly changing business models in dentistry. She listed them as follows: traditional vs modern dental practice models; customised patient management; wellness models of care; evidence-based/data-driven care; teledentisty and remote consultation; subscription based oral care services and integrated care services. She wrapped up her presentation by recommending methods to improve patient engagement, including predictive analysis, behaviour analysis, competitor analysis, the use of chatbots and virtual assistants, voice search optimisation, content generation, and social media insights, all with the help of AI.

The forum also featured a Guest Lecture titled, Revolutionising Dental Care: The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Training and Diagnosis and Treatment Outcomes” delivered by Dr. Amy Traore-Shumbusho, an orthondotist, Clinical Director at Smile360 Dental Specialists and Founder, ProjectSmile Nigeria.

Dr. Traore-Shumbusho

Dr. Shumbusho, while delivering her lecture physically at the venue, emphasised that using artificial intelligence (AI) helps dentists see beyond ordinary eyes can see, especially to ensure proper diagnosis. She also explained the various ways AI can be used in dental education. She noted that the use of AI can greatly improve diagnosis, personalised treatment, orthodontics, improved treatment planning, simulation from start to finish, prosthondontics, patient care to mention a few. She encouraged female dental students to launch into the tech world in dentistry as it is currently dominated by the male folk.

Prof. Oke

In his address, the representative of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, FAS,  the CMUL Provost, Prof. David O. Oke appreciated the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the great work done to ensure actualisation of the event. While pointing out that the theme of the conference was indeed timely, the CMUL Provost welcomed and wished participants successful deliberations.  

Prof. daCosta

The Dean of the Faculty, Prof. O. O. DaCosta, in her address, stressed the need to properly educate upcoming dental professionals, and re-educate the existing ones, to properly cater to the needs of their patients. She noted with pride, that the Faculty remained on the right path with the CMUL SPICCES curriculum which commenced in 2017, with the aim of producing dentists/physicians who can cope with the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century as well as promote competence, curiosity, creativity and collaboration among students.  

Prof. Orenuga

Similarly, the Chairman, LOC of the event, Prof. O. O. Orenuga in her address explained “while understanding business models, education and patient care in dentistry is important, understanding the use of artificial intelligence is pivotal to extraordinary success in the present climes, seeing as innovations and technology are fast transforming the world into a global village”.

The event also featured goodwill messages from the Chief Medical Director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Prof. Wasiu L. Adeyemo: Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, Prof. Folasade Akinsola and Prof. Abayomi Okanlawon, the representative of the Dean, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Prof. Akinloye.

The event was rounded off on a fun note with a raffle draw, and gifts were presented to lucky winners. The following were adjudged winners of the scientific paper presentation: Dr. H. E. Akindele (1st position), Dr. B. O. Ehanire (2nd position) and Dr. O. A. Koledoye (3rd position).  

L-R: Winners of the scientific paper presentation: Dr. Koledoye, Dr. Akindele and Dr. Ehanire

The 15th Annual Scientific Conference and 5th Alumni Guest Lecture – a 2-day event commenced on Wednesday, August 16, 2023 with a community outreach/oral health awareness programme held at the Dental Clinic Car Park, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba (see and ended with the conference and lecture on Thursday, August 18, 2023.

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