A new device by Zaamigo allows patients to self-monitor their oral hygiene and alerts them when it is time to visit the dentist or dental hygienist.
“The users immediately see how well they brush their teeth and which areas they neglect — often up to 40% of the teeth,” explained Severin Stalder, founder of the ETH spin-off Zaamigo.
What looks like an electric toothbrush is actually a mini camera with which consumers can take microscopic pictures of their own teeth and gums. Within seconds, the images are interpreted in an artificial intelligence (AI) application and provide information about accumulated calculus, stains, and inflamed gums.
For 30 years, dentists have been using expensive cameras for microscopic images, and they have interpreted the images themselves and used them to explain to patients where there are problems and where they should brush better.
With the new Zaamigo device, experts analysed thousands of images. Based on these dental image interpretations, Zaamigo developed software using AI that can now identify problem areas in the images “within seconds”, according to Zaamigo.
With the help of a few photos, the neglected areas can be identified. The application also gives specific tips on how and where to brush better or whether a visit to the dentist is recommended.
“Even dentists are surprised when they see their own teeth,” said Stalder. “It is amazing how quickly changes can be seen. Calculus formation, for example, occurs within a few days. After a mere three weeks, the results of a professional cleaning may no longer be visible. Therefore, we recommend a weekly check-up to monitor possible changes and to be able to take corrective action.”
Identifying patients at risk
The device is for everyone, but most suited for children so that parents can take the necessary measures in time. Incidentally, the children can learn to brush their teeth properly at an early age, which is good prevention for healthy teeth.
There are also dentists who use the device and the images for patient communication to make their work more understandable to non-experts.
Stalder emphasised that the goal of this new device is not to replace dentists, but to “identify patients at risk”. Zaamigo’s camera can be bought online in Europe and the US for iPhones and iPads.