How ChatGPT Could Transform the Dental Industry

ChatGPT (and other similar applications) offer tremendous functions for businesses and organizations, including dental practices.

More Than Just a Chatbot: How ChatGPT Could Transform the Dental Industry

Key Points in This Article:

  • ChatGPT (and other similar applications) offer tremendous functions for businesses and organizations, including dental practices.
  • While these applications are new, they can help healthcare providers handle routine tasks, enhance the patient experience, and even help dental professionals make more accurate diagnoses.
  • Because they are new, these applications are not perfect. Further, their use has profound implications for healthcare providers and society at large.

Since its launch in November 2022, ChatGPT has certainly been making waves. It’s dominated headlines because the artificial intelligence chatbot has performed remarkable tasks. The chatbot is not without its (well-documented) hiccups, but it certainly can generate content rapidly that can be utilized in various disciplines. Indeed, many academics and businesses are scrambling to implement detection methods to identify and screen out AI-generated content. But some businesses are looking to leverage AI-generated content for their own uses.

Could dental practices use ChatGPT? If so, how so? And what are the implications?

The answer to the first question is yes. Dental practices can use ChatGPT in several ways, including marketing content generation, administrative tasks, disease diagnosis, telehealth, and more. But before you use ChatGPT for your dental practice, you should be fully aware of its applications, limitations, and implications.

How Dental Practices Can Use ChatGPT

Before diving into the practical applications of ChatGPT for dental practices, it’s essential to understand what ChatGPT is, and broadly, it lends itself to fundamental business functions. If you haven’t explored ChatGPT yourself yet, its description above may bring to mind the chatbots that often appear on today’s websites. You may even have one on your own. Current chatbots have come a long way since their introduction. But most remain quite limited in their ability to answer queries. And if you’ve ever used one yourself, it’s not long before you find yourself asking to be connected to an agent.

ChatGPT is a far more robust and powerful tool. It wasn’t explicitly designed for customer service purposes. Utilizing machine learning and vast troves of textual data, developers taught it to mimic human conversation. The chatbot can answer questions you pose and compose a great deal of content, from essays to songs to code. It also can draw on knowledge from a great many disciplines, from psychology to history to mathematics.

The Limitations of ChatGPT

However, while ChatGPT’s facility with human language is miles ahead of other chatbots, it still has some substantial limitations. For one, testers and researchers have noted that sometimes ChatGPT provides plausible-sounding but factually inaccurate answers. In some cases, ChatGPT’s answers display certain biases as well.

Considerations and Concerns About ChatGPT Usage

Many pundits and critics have expressed alarm about the economic and societal implications ChatGPT, and similar applications like Google’s Bard and Microsoft’s Sidney, have. Students have already begun to leverage these applications to perform schoolwork, which raises questions about integrity and may undermine certain teaching approaches. Professionals have also used these applications to complete work assignments, which raises questions about integrity. But employee honesty is the tip of the iceberg. If professionals successfully use ChatGPT to do their work, does it mean that certain work is replaceable?

Alarms have been raised about how improved applications like these could be capable of replacing jobs in a wide variety of industries. And while you may have a hard time believing that such technology could replace jobs in your dental practice, understanding ChatGPT’s practical applications for the industry may change your mind.

Potential Applications

At the very least, Chat GPT and similar applications can supplement many existing dental practice functions to a tremendous degree. But it’s up to you how this emerging technology will fit into your practice and which functions you may leverage it for.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a powerful tool. Creating relevant and engaging material you share with the public helps you build brand awareness, establish your expertise, attract prospective customers, and retain existing ones. But when you’re running a dental practice, you don’t have time to churn out insightful pieces about dental trends or even new developments at your practice.

ChatGPT can generate the content you can use for blog posts quite easily and quickly. However, a word of warning. Not only does ChatGPT sometimes provide factually inaccurate information. But it also sometimes offers up passages that sound impressive until you read them closely and realize they’re nonsensical.

If you’re looking to use ChatGPT for marketing content right now, you’ll probably need to spend a good deal of time fact-checking and editing what it produces. And in a field where providing misinformation comes with legal risk, it may be premature to use ChatGPT for all but the most generic content.

Administrative Tasks

ChatGPT can also handle some administrative tasks, such as scheduling. There are already many online tutorials on leveraging ChatGPT to create optimal schedules that incorporate real data you provide quickly. And it can be used to supplement the patient experience by providing answers to common dental questions more effectively on a mobile app or a kiosk in the waiting room.

In both use cases, today’s incarnation of ChatGPT is surprisingly capable. But it’s also prone to periodic errors. None of the commercially available applications can replace your front office staff at this point. But as they evolve every day with us, they will likely provide a more effective tool that you can use for routine tasks, freeing your frontline staff to engage in more strategic revenue-generating activities.

Disease Diagnosis

Some healthcare professionals have already begun leveraging AI applications to generate second opinions on disease diagnoses. With their ability to access and analyze millions of data sources in fractions of seconds, these tools can help a dentist confirm their working diagnosis, suggest alternatives, and rule out certain possibilities.

While this usage is in its infancy, there are a few things to consider. One is accuracy, as mentioned above question. But the second involves the long-term implications for patient care. If the AI diagnoses are primarily correct, medical practitioners could soon start over-relying on AI’s diagnostic capabilities. Imagine a scenario where an AI-diagnostic tool has been right in practice 100 percent of the time, and a dentist stops making the initial diagnosis in favor of the AI. What happens when the AI then gets it wrong?

Another challenge: what happens when the dentist and AI diagnoses contradict each other? Which prevails? Currently, regulators and trade associations are just beginning to grapple with these questions, which have profound medical, legal, and ethical implications. For now, it may be worth exploring ChatGPT’s diagnostic power. But if you need a second opinion, calling upon a dental colleague is still the best and safest option.


ChatGPT also has substantial implications for telehealth, which has expanded since the pandemic started. Drawing on multiple data sources and leveraging its diagnostic (analytical) tools, ChatGPT, and similar applications can help streamline the telehealth experience. From scheduling virtual visits to answering common questions to aiding in diagnosis, AI-powered applications can help your practice provide a more robust and effective dental visit experience.

While questions persist about AI’s usage and effectiveness in diagnostic settings, they are certainly with exploring in this context. Expanding telehealth options allows you to expand your patient base and service area. And telehealth also allows you to provide care to underserved communities for whom transportation may present an issue.

Whether you’re excited or skeptical about the promise of ChatGPT, it’s a good idea to spend some time exploring it. Because whether this or another AI application eventually leads the market, it’s clear that our online tools have become far more robust and capable. Though they are in their infancy, exploring ChatGPT now can help you map out how this or a similar tool could help you grow your practice in the days ahead.

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