Because of the vast number of advancements in the dental world, dentistry nowadays is much more reliable. Technologies such as the the TENS have made diagnosing and treating certain oral conditions much easier and a lot more dependable. The TENS System is often used to determine one’s ideal bite, a necessity in treating a patient with TMJ.
Technologies such as polysomnography are also important in the dental world as the computer-based technology is widely used by physicians to diagnose sleep apnea, which can then be treated by a dentist. Sleep apnea continues to be one of the most overlooked and under-diagnosed health conditions today. Millions of Americans suffer from the condition. With the help of PSG, patients can undergo a sleep study which will provide results of any physiologic changes that occur when the patient is sleeping. There are even portable units that patients can take home with them for an ambulatory sleep study. PSG in itself is a highly advanced technology but believe it or not, in the next coming years, there may be something even more advanced.
Meet Watson. If you watch Jeopardy, watch the news, or read online news articles, you probably know of the name of the IBM computer that was designed to have artificial intelligence. After being properly programmed and loaded full of information, Watson was able to come out victorious on a game of Jeopardy. But how can a computer like Watson be helpful in the dental community?
Highly sophisticated learning computers like Watson could be used to diagnose health conditions such as sleep apnea. Since the computer is able to understand plain language, digest it, and then provide relevant, accurate answers, the technology could be adapted to provide for proper medical diagnosis. The machine could be consulted as a way to determine whether or not symptoms a patient is experienced are in fact sleep apnea related. If designed to do so, the computer may even be able to provide for other possible diagnoses if sleep apnea is not the condition at hand.
Watson is now being fed a steady learning diet of medical information from books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and medical journals. For now, these computers are just test models so to speak but given the right amount of development time, one could assume that a “Dr.” Watson is on the horizon. However, it’s important to note that Watson can only provide a possible diagnosis, not one that is guaranteed. If anything Watson would be used to narrow down diagnosis possibilities.
When looking at the history of the diagnosis and the treatment of sleep apnea, it is obvious that technologies will continue to advance. At our office we can help you find a local sleep lab or set you up with an ambulatory study for you to take home. If you are positively diagnosed with sleep apnea, Dr. Berry will work with you to determine the first step in treating your condition. Contact Dr. Berry online or call (303) 691-0267 today to schedule a consultation so that you’re sleeping more safely at night!