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Kunal Rai recently shared his insights on the transformative impact of artificial intelligence in the field of dentistry with Dentistry.co.uk, the leading publication in the UK’s dental sector. You can read the original article here. 

Close up of a Pearl May machine, used to take digital X-rays. This is an AI X-ray machine.

Dr Kunal explains how using artificial intelligence (AI) technology can improve clinicians’ confidence, and allow them to build essential trust with their patients. 

Please introduce yourself

Hi! My name is Dr Kunal Rai. I am the principal owner of Meliora Dental, a four-surgery mixed practice based in North Leeds. I am interested in aesthetics and implant dentistry, and I have an MSc in dental implant dentistry and a PG Dip in clear aligner therapy and restorative dentistry.

Before becoming a dentist, my first degree was in computer science with artificial intelligence (AI). Coming from an Asian family background, you are pre-conditioned to be a doctor, dentist, lawyer or engineer. You essentially need to have some sort of formal qualifications, so I initially did my A-levels in chemistry, biology and maths with dentistry in mind.

However, during the Silicon Valley boom, I thought, ‘Why spend five years in dental school when I can earn the same amount doing computer science and with less stress?’ But when I started my internship, I dreaded sitting in front of a computer all day – I didn’t get to engage with people.

With my computer science degree and A-level subjects, I returned to university in 2010 to study dentistry at Charles University in Prague. But in my heart, I always had a sweet spot for technology and AI.

How did you find out about Pearl?

When I started doing my VT, I found we were all interpreting X-rays differently. Different clinicians have different treatment opinions, which can become quite confusing for the patient, and indeed, they must think, ‘Which dentist should I go for?’ I wanted to address this issue when I started my practice.

I started researching on Google, spoke to a few providers, and discovered Pearl, a company whose approach stood out because it wasn’t overly salesy. Additionally, they offered a two-week trial period.

What are some of the benefits of using Pearl?

Pearl is very easily integrated, there was no hassle. Usually, you install something, and there are some frustrating teething issues for the first week. But with Pearl, everyone in the team knew what to do immediately. Setting it up was also very easy – our IT team were in touch with the Pearl team, and it was straightforward. We lost no historical data, so we had all the patients’ older X-rays available.

Loading it up was no problem; everyone understood how to use it. We didn’t have to close the practice for a day of training – a quick online demonstration- and we were ready. The application is self-intuitive.

As a business, it allows us to sell more private treatment as it helps the patient understand better. For instance, showing patients an X-ray with a 30% cavity helps them understand the need for a more extensive filling. So, from a sales perspective, ‘Oh, this will be a big filling. I’d rather have a white one’ helps to convert NHS patients to private work without having to act like a salesman – the patient understanding is much better.

Alternatively, when the cavity is small, and the fenestration is represented in percentage, the patient can leave and review it with another X-ray in a year. This feature allows the patient to see the progression and decide on the treatment options provided without pressure, inadvertently building trust and rapport and elevating communication.

What would you say to those apprehensive about embracing AI in dentistry?

We are living in an AI world. We are seeing people use ChatGPT for writing, for example.

As dentists, we are apprehensive about using AI in dentistry because of the fear that it will replace us. But it’s not there to replace; it’s here to help. We should embrace it.

It will, if anything, make us more robust with our notes because we live in a world of defensive dentistry now. AI allows us to build trust with our patients. Believe it or not, It will boost productivity and provide a better work-life balance

A question I often get is how does it work with associates? All you have to do is speak to your principal and have them on board with allowing access to the server. You will need to call Pearl and sign up. The software is on the central server; you can limit it to your personal use only or share it across all the practice surgeries – the price is the same.

However, once everyone in the practice gets a feel for it, they will automatically start using it, making them more confident with their treatment planning and conversions.

On a different note, for those who would like to collect Amex points, I think this is the only dental software that allows payment through Amex, so it’s a win-win situation!


To learn more about the power of AI in dentistry, visit hellopearl.com/getdemo.

Read the article on Dentistry.co.uk.

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CLIENT TESTIMONIALS

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As a result of an accident I had as a child my front tooth suffered some trauma and became discoloured over time. The tooth eventually broke last year which led to it being removed. I was referred to Kunal who took me through the various options I had. As functionality was the most important aspect...

Andrea B

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As a child, I was given a fixed brace by a practice who showed very little care. These were removed after 9 months due to them being "unable to straighten anymore" leaving me unhappy with my teeth and a major open bite. As years went on, I became less and less confident with my teeth,...

Imogen O

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Thank you for your hard work and I hope this testimonial reflects just how happy I am with my smile. The care and attention which I received during my smile makeover was far better than any I have previously experienced. Kunal and his team were amazing throughout the entire process. I had regular check-ups throughout,...

Matthew G

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Kunal is a very approachable, informative and meticulous dentist. From the beginning of my last Invisalign journey, Kunal explained the procedure very clearly and thoroughly. He showed me a 3D image and how my teeth would change throughout the treatment, the length of the treatment and the possible cons of it, such as black triangles...

Charanprite D

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I was never conscious of my teeth much but over the years my teeth became more overcrowded, in particular my bottom teeth. I found myself smiling in photos with my mouth closed as I didn’t like the way my teeth looked this was something that over time I got even more conscious of and so...

Eve

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Kunal and his team gave me the best experience throughout my transformation. Everything was explained all the way through the process and he even accommodated my lunch time appointments every 4 weeks! He always gave his honest opinions and made me feel at ease. He is such a perfectionist and wouldn’t let me leave my...

Happy Patient

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CLIENT TESTIMONIALS

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As a result of an accident I had as a child my front tooth suffered some trauma and became discoloured over time. The tooth eventually broke last year which led to it being removed. I was referred to Kunal who took me through the various options I had. As functionality was the most important aspect for a replacement for me we agreed an implant was the route to go. The tooth removal however left an element of damage to the natural bone so I had to undergo a bone graft to repair this. One year after the extraction (as 2 bone grafts were needed in the end) I'm now fitted with my implant and I can honestly say I have never been as proud to smile as I am today. From start to finish Kunal...

Andrea B

stars 1

As a child, I was given a fixed brace by a practice who showed very little care. These were removed after 9 months due to them being "unable to straighten anymore" leaving me unhappy with my teeth and a major open bite. As years went on, I became less and less confident with my teeth, until I came across Kunal. From the first moment I walked into the practice, Kunal was very welcoming and talked me through every possible stage that would happen if I was to go ahead with treatment with zoom calls to show the perceived results and ensure I was happy to go ahead with treatment Kunal gave me a diagnosis of my open bite, which was behavioural, therefore instantly this behavioural trait was worked upon to receive the best results from...

Imogen O

stars 1

Thank you for your hard work and I hope this testimonial reflects just how happy I am with my smile. The care and attention which I received during my smile makeover was far better than any I have previously experienced. Kunal and his team were amazing throughout the entire process. I had regular check-ups throughout, and each time Kunal would make sure I was happy, not just with the work that had already taken place, but with the direction my smile was headed. Kunal engaged in discussion with me about each aspect making sure I fully understood what would happen and giving me the chance to have my own input. This combined with his vast knowledge and incredible skill left me feeling fully relaxed and in safe hands. Each step was performed in meticulous detail,...

Matthew G

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Kunal is a very approachable, informative and meticulous dentist. From the beginning of my last Invisalign journey, Kunal explained the procedure very clearly and thoroughly. He showed me a 3D image and how my teeth would change throughout the treatment, the length of the treatment and the possible cons of it, such as black triangles and what can be done to minimize them. Kunal made it clear from the beginning that as a dentist his interest was the function of the teeth, better oral hygiene, the bite etc. I learned so much from him regarding my own teeth, that it was my bottom teeth that was causing the misalignment on my top teeth, l have gum recession due to excess brushing and l was in danger of losing two teeth due to it! Things my...

Charanprite D

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