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Getting an instant artificial intelligence (AI) dental check-up on your phone has always been the stuff of science fiction. But now you can, thanks to an ingenious new free AI app called Pearlii – a self-help tool that can accurately detect potential tooth decay and cavities. Pearlii was developed by Australian oral health specialist Dr Kyle Turner. As a child, Dr Turner grew up in a remote area without local access to dental care. As a result, he ended up paying thousands in dental treatment costs as an adult. Poor access to dental care has always been a problem in many remote Australian communities. That’s why Dr. Turner decided to improve this long-standing health inequality by developing an AI powered phone app that could automatically check your teeth and gums.

How can AI apps accurately detect tooth decay and cavities?

AI powered apps utilise a machine learning algorithm that is specifically developed to detect any signs of tooth decay, cavities (caries) and gum issues. With the Pearlii AI app, you simply download it for free from Google Play or Apple App Store. Once you open the app, you answer a few questions about your oral health situation and then take 5 guided photos of your teeth. After the AI works its magic, you’ll be able to view an instant results page. This displays an overview that includes each of the 5 images with potential problem areas outlined by a colour coded line. The five colour codes are used to indicate the presence of the following oral conditions:

  1. Decay
  2. Stains
  3. Tartar
  4. White spots
  5. Red gums

* Screenshot images courtesy of Pearlii Pty Ltd

Can AI dental checkups take the place of a dentist?

No, AI dental check-ups can’t take the place of a dentist because there will always be a need for in-clinic dental care and treatment. However, AI apps such as Pearlii can help people with limited time, poor access to dental care or during a Covid lockdown. When the app detects an oral anomaly, it can advise and help incentivise the user to book an actual dental appointment for professional treatment. Remember that Pearlii is NOT a diagnostic tool. It is a screening and educational tool only. You’ll still need to go see your dentist if an oral problem is detected for a proper check-up and diagnosis.

What kind of phone do you need for Pearlii’s AI app?

You’ll need a smartphone with Android version 5.0 (or later) or iPhone 5S (or later). Where can I download Pearlii? Apple iOS users can click here to access the Apple Store. Android users can click here to access the Google Play Store. ‍