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Episode #622: How AI Could Be Better In Dentistry Than In Healthcare, With Florian Hillen

Do you want to elevate patient care? AI is your answer! To introduce the next big thing in dentistry, Kirk Behrendt brings in Florian Hillen, founder and CEO of VideaHealth, to showcase their AI software used by thousands of dentists and practices. Using it will increase trust with your patients, improve treatment acceptance, and optimize scheduling. To learn more about VideaHealth so you can start using it today, listen to Episode 622 of The Best Practices Show!

Episode Resources:

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Watch Florian’s TEDx

Read more about VideaHealth’s FDA clearing

Read about VideaHealth and Henry Schein’s partnership

Main Takeaways:

Using AI can optimize scheduling.

AI will help increase your case acceptance.

You will be able to identify more treatment options with AI.

Building trust and increasing patient education is easier with AI.

It’s not AI versus clinicians. AI working with clinicians is a win-win.


“I believe that [AI] is an industry-wide disruption. Similar to when we had industrialization, or every time we have very new technology, a lot of things are changing. But I truly believe it will change for the better. In dentistry, in particular, I think it will enable clinicians to finally spend more time with their patients to build this patient-provider relationship and trust, and also make the job much more fun while it helps them on diagnostics, as well as automate a lot of administrative tasks. I think there’s a huge opportunity.” (5:38—6:15)

“I think there are problems pre-office visit, during the office visit, and maybe post-office visit. Pre-office visit is all about patient engagement, scheduling appointments, etc. I think, there, we would see AI relatively quickly being introduced where you can have a natural feeling discussion with the office of when you should schedule or reschedule your appointments. It helps the provider because you can be super responsive also on the weekend, but you don’t need to be online all the time. Also, it optimizes your schedule and I, as a patient, don’t feel that I’m getting all of these cancellations. So, that’s huge.” (6:55—7:38)

“One of the biggest challenges we’ve been seeing is that there’s a huge information asymmetry between the dentist as well as the hygienist and the patient. The dentist knows exactly, ‘This cavity is all the way through the enamel and into the dentin, and it needs a filling.’ But the patient [doesn’t] understand that. So, there’s a huge suspicion from the patient if they really need this treatment. And to be honest with you, the suspicion towards the provider is, in dentistry, larger than in any other healthcare domain. One of the reasons is because in healthcare, where I was before, if you have a radiologist who does a diagnosis, but then the surgeon confirms it — so, we have a lot of confirmations vertically and horizontally, which you do not have in dentistry. You only have this one provider who does everything, from diagnosis to treatment. So, there’s this mistrust, unfortunately, to some extent.” (7:42—8:33)

“We have FDA-[cleared] algorithms. So, you can imagine you are a dentist, and you are taking the X-rays, or the hygienist takes the X-rays, or the assistant. We automatically source this into our AI-powered X-ray viewer, which we call Videa AI, and it points out all the potential cavities. It points out radiographic bone loss. It points out the calculus, etc. It then visualizes it to the provider to [help] make a more informed treatment decision, but most of all also to the patient so they see an ad hoc second opinion. So, where we’ve seen this is it helps tremendously with treatment acceptance. Treatment acceptance increased by over 20% of our customers because they are communicating with this AI the treatment plan. That’s why it helps. It helps with transparency and treatment communication.” (8:40—9:29)

“Post visit and administratively, in terms of treatment planning, charting, claim submission — all of these front office tasks which take a lot of time, and are not fun, and take away time from the entire staff to spend it with the patient — all of that, I think, will be automated to a large extent in the next two years.” (9:30—9:52)

“We already have tons of people adopting [AI], and we have great success stories of patients converting treatment. And patients want to go to the dentist who uses AI because they want the second opinion. We also have dentists who are reaching out all the time to give us more product feedback and what else they want, which, from a software perspective, that’s the most amazing thing that can happen because that’s how we can build an even better product.” (12:39—13:02)

“This is based on product feedback. We are now sourcing automatically to pass X-rays of a patient. So, you are coming in, and you were there last year. You are coming in this [year] again. We are diagnosing both of your X-rays. We are taking the past X-ray and we’re identifying the same decay, and then we can show you how much your decay grew in the last 12 months to explain the progression of disease, because the progression of disease is much more relevant than the stage of disease. So, those are things which we are building together with our clients, and that’s incredible.” (13:15—13:46)

“I think the problem in radiology is AI, to some extent, did threaten the jobs of radiologists because that’s what radiologists do. They sit in a dark chamber, and all day they diagnose different X-rays or CT scans or MRI scans. Now, in dentistry, it’s a bit different. A dentist has a lot of jobs. They are a businessman or woman. They are diagnosticians. They are primary care physicians. They are surgeons. It’s four jobs in one, which is honestly phenomenal that they can do it. We are only supporting them in the diagnostic part, at this point, as we automate a lot of processes. It’s not competitive at all because what we want them to do is to save time as well as be able to communicate it to the patient clearly. And so, what we are predicting is that the adoption of diagnostic AI will, in the next two years, significantly surpass the adoption of AI in healthcare, meaning in radiology. I think we are absolutely on track of that. We are already used, as I mentioned, by over a thousand dentists. We diagnose over, I think, a couple of million patients per year now. So, the adoption is rapid and I’m very excited about it.” (19:30—20:53)

“I do believe that in the next two years, AI-supported diagnostics in dentistry will become, to some extent, a standard of care. And patients will also request that. I can speak from my own experience yesterday, being at the dentist’s and seeing our AI. I would like to have that. And then, number two, I do believe it will elevate or it will enable dentistry, in the long run, to get to medical-dental integration. And that is also what our company — that’s why it’s called VideaHealth, by the way. Videa means to improve overall health — is about. I do believe, with massive amounts of data, we can do studies with AI machine learning where we can actually show if you have certain age, gender, diabetic, etc., certain other medical conditions, and then you have this bone loss, this calculus, and all of that, you have a very high risk of being diabetic, or have hypertension. And then, we can flag that, and we can request to send them to a primary care physician. I think that’s how actually — not healthcare will go into dentistry. I think dentistry will go into healthcare. That’s our vision for the company, that we enable medical-dental integration in the long run.” (21:05—22:20)

“Experienced dentists think it’s AI versus them, and they think, ‘I don’t need AI.’ I totally understand where that’s coming from. But at the end of the day, we see AI similar to digital radiography. Like, when we had phosphor plates, everyone was like, ‘I don’t need digital radiographs.’ But at the end of the day, it’s another [tool in the] toolbox which makes things easier, faster, better. I think it is a tool which supports the dentist in making their treatment plan, as well as converting it. But it should not, in any way or form, cut the autonomy of the dentist. That will always stay. And I think that is what we are facing, not in young dentists and not in hygienists, but especially in experienced dentists, is that they see it as challenging them.” (22:51— 23:45)

“Where AI is really good, the dentist is not so great at. And that is being consistent. Like, not being sleepy, haven’t slept well, or you are already in your office for nine hours, and now comes new patients, like being impatient, or whatnot. That just happens. We are humans. AI is always on point. It never sleeps, and so on. Now, the dentist is much better at taking the input from the AI and then forming a holistic treatment plan. Like, know the patient, know the history of the patient, sees the patient, sees the skin color, understands how they are feeling, understands fears, and all of that. AI is terrible at that. So, bringing the strength of a dental clinician with lots of experience and being human, together with AI, it’s a win-win. It’s really a partnership. It’s nothing against. It’s like, together they are better, if that makes sense. It’s pretty magical, to be honest.” (24:07—25:08)

“We are helping our clients right now to save time, as well as get higher treatment acceptance by improving patient communication. I also believe that this is the future, and in two years it will become the standard of care, and patients will demand it. I’m very excited about it because there will be more and more stuff around automation of strenuous tasks. And so, I would encourage your listeners — obviously very innovative. I mean, listening to your podcast, innovative clinicians — to reach out and give it a try and see for themselves if it helps them. I’m convinced it would be.” (26:12—26:51)


0:00 Introduction.

2:09 AI, explained.

6:29 The problems that AI can solve.

10:07 The impact of AI on treatment planning.

14:12 Why FDA approval is important for the AI process.

17:12 How AI helps with patient communication.

22:36 What dentists get wrong about AI.

25:49 Last thoughts on AI in dentistry.

27:12 More about VideaHealth and how to get started.

Florian Hillen Bio:

Florian Hillen is the founder and CEO of VideaHealth, an MIT spinout and leading dental-AI company working with leading DSOs, insurers, and other companies in the dental industry. Previously, he conducted research at the intersection of engineering and social science at MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society and at Harvard Business School. He also worked for McKinsey & Company and founded Ninu, a digital healthtech startup. He holds two master’s degrees from MIT in computer science and technology policy, and a bachelor’s in management and technology. He has also completed the first German State Exam in medicine.

Kirk Behrendt

Kirk Behrendt is a renowned consultant and speaker in the dental industry, known for his expertise in helping dentists create better practices and better lives. With over 30 years of experience in the field, Kirk has dedicated his professional life to optimizing the best systems and practices in dentistry. Kirk has been a featured speaker at every major dental meeting in the United States. His company, ACT Dental, has consistently been ranked as one of the top dental consultants in Dentistry Today's annual rankings for the past 10 years. In addition, ACT Dental was named one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States by Inc Magazine, appearing on their Inc 5000 list. Kirk's motivational skills are widely recognized in the dental industry. Dr. Peter Dawson of The Dawson Academy has referred to Kirk as "THE best motivator I have ever heard." Kirk has also assembled a trusted team of advisor experts who work with dentists to customize individual solutions that meet their unique needs. When he's not motivating dentists and their teams, Kirk enjoys coaching his children's sports teams and spending time with his amazing wife, Sarah, and their four children, Kinzie, Lily, Zoe, and Bo.