Should a dentist be an experienced psychologist to understand the mental state of his patient during the treatment procedure, or let the dentist give him signs? In the Center for Precision Dentistry at Columbia University, we decided to transfer this function to equipment, specifically a new “smart” chair, which will analyze the level of the patient’s stress. The prototype will begin testing in the very near future.
Even today, visitors to this center are given bracelets with RFID tags, through which all movements and manipulations of the patient are monitored during treatment. How many times did he ask to go to the toilet, how long he took in the chair, what tools the doctor had to use more often than others, how many seconds did the standard procedure take, etc. An array of data that will help to make an individual profile of the patient and choose the best treatment option.
In a few months, a new instrument will begin to work here, an armchair with heart rate meters and oxygen level sensors in the human blood. They will help to pinpoint when a patient begins to worry, to distinguish weak stress from a strong one and to compare it with the actions of a doctor. You will not have to wave your hands and yell in pain, the signal to the dentist will come automatically. And in the future there will be a camera with the function of recognition of emotions, for greater accuracy of the situation analysis.
And this is only the beginning – visiting the dentist is always stressful, but measuring it will give doctors information about the general condition of the patient, potential neuroses and problems with other organs. Already today, an experienced dentist on the condition of a person’s teeth can give advice to undergo a test for diabetes or cancer. And if a set of “smart instruments” helps him, visiting a dental office will give a qualitatively different result.