Science + Tech

Using AI in dental technology: WebCeph

The technology we use in the dental field is evolving and changing every day. One such technology is WebCeph, an online-based orthodontic diagnostic platform for dental clinicians. It was founded by Dr. Yehyun Kim in October 2019, after he started to think about the potential of digital and cloud technology and the use of artificial intelligence for an innovation in dentistry. 

This software permits cephalometric landmark detection, cephalometric tracing, analyzing, inquiring and printing reports. It also establishes treatment plans, simulates treatment procedures and consults patients. AI is incorporated into elements of WebCeph, and there’s also an online discussion space for dentists worldwide to exchange opinions on different cases and communicate about clinical trials and diagnostic analysis solutions.

I have been working as a student intern at WebCeph for a little over a year. I was introduced to the technology during a virtual shadowing session where Dr. Jaebong Park, the director of the company, was the guest speaker. I was immediately intrigued by this technology, as I’ve always been interested in machines, and when I decided to reach out to Dr. Park after the webinar, he offered me a student internship.

In summer 2021, the company launched a new initiative called “WebCeph-S” in hopes to provide various resources for predental and dental students. Part of this initiative is a virtual shadowing webinar platform. As the moderator of these webinars, I find guest speakers by contacting our WebCeph users from all around the world. WebCeph-S also invites dental students to hold webinars and talk about their journey as a predental student. These remarkable experiences of meeting dentists from all around the world allowed me to gain new a perspective on dentistry.

How WebCeph works

The software automatizes the steps of orthodontic diagnosis through AI, allowing clinicians to focus on important decisions, and it shortens the time required to trace cephalometric images by automating the detection of anatomical landmarks in lateral radiographs, and it selects a preferred analysis method that allows clinicians to print out organized reports. Clinicians can also see the progress of treatments at a glance, and using AI, WebCeph automates the procedure of overlapping medical images and managing data. Dentists can make intermediate or final evaluations of treatments and exchange opinions among dentists based on standardized data, thus making it available to deliver the treatment process to patients through the app. 

Challenges and counter-measurements in ethical aspects

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a personal information protection law applied to the medical sector. It is enacted for health insurance companies, medical service providers, and information management and processing agencies. The revision of the act in 2013 expanded the beneficiaries to the suppliers who have access to health information. 

The relevant obligations and compliance of HIPAA apply to dentists and WebCeph, and each step of 1) patient information collection stage, 2) patient information consignment stage, 3) patient information use stage, 4) patient information destruction stage, has its compliances. WebCeph uses appropriate methods to inform members about the HIPAA requirements during the subscription stage and while using the software. 

Following HIPAA’s regulation, WebCeph safely stores patient data through the Amazon Web Service (AWS), which abides by HIPAA and GDPR regulatory programs and is secure. It also meets the technical requirements for storing electronic medical records in locations other than medical institutions described in HIPAA. In addition, patient data stored in AWS is stored by an encryption process, and thus can effectively protect the software against external network attacks.

As our society is becoming more technologically advanced day after day, dentistry will become hugely dependent on various machinery and A.I. technology.

~Sunwoo Kim, Nova Southeastern ‘23

Sunwoo Kim

Sunwoo Kim is a third-year undergraduate student at Nova Southeastern University, majoring in biology and minoring in business and global engagement. As an aspiring pediatric dentist, he likes to shadow his sister’s pediatric dentist in his free time!

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