Purpose: To assess the knowledge, attitude and perception of dentists (dental students, dental school graduates/interns, postgraduate dentists) of the role of robotics (R) and artificial intelligence (AI) in oral health and preventive dentistry. The null hypothesis was that dentists would not be aware of R and AI use in dentistry and would not be ready to accept them in oral health and preventive dentistry for dental care management and training.
Keywords: artificial intelligence, digital dentistry, oral health, questionnaire, robotics, survey
Materials and Methods: This was an observational cross-sectional study in which data was collected from a representative population in Saudi Arabia. 570 participants answered 26 closed-ended questions. The questionnaire’s validity and reliability were evaluated for vetting and remarks. The questionnaire collected demographic data of participants and their knowledge, perception and attitude about R and AI. Questions were to be answered with ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘I don’t know’. Descriptive statistical analysis was performed using the control chart technique and the chi-squared test, with statistical significance set at p < 0.05.
Results: The majority of the participants (n = 313; 54.6%) were males. Dental students, dentist school graduates/interns, and postgraduate dentists comprised of 58.8%, 18.2%, and 23.0% respectively. Most of the respondents gave affirmative answers for knowledge, attitude and perception of R and AI (58.3%, 67.4%, and 60.3%, respectively). Participants agreed that R and AI is beneficial in dentistry and would provide better results. Most (83.3%) would be willing to be treated using R/AI and would recommend (84.5%) treatment with R/AI, as shown in the control chart by affirmative answers. These were significantly above the overall affirmative answers, as the corresponding point lies above 95% UCL (upper confidence limit).
Conclusion: Most dentists were unacquainted with R and AI. Dentists had a positive attitude towards R/AI, but due to inadequate knowledge and understanding, its use and applications were very limited. There is significant need in the near future to increase awareness of this concept, as it may increase treatment efficiency and effectiveness.