How can we capture data to personalize dental care?


Columbia recently opened the Center for Precision Dental Medicine, a new clinic designed to tailor care for each patient more accurately than ever before. With automated chairs and instruments, the clinic captures every aspect of a patient’s visit, from which tools are used to the time spent waiting.

The Center is working with data scientists from Columbia Engineering to develop new ways of analyzing the data, which in turn inform clinical practice. “In the past, we expected patients to benefit when 80 percent of the people had a positive response to certain interventions,” said Christian Stohler, dean of the College of Dental Medicine. “Nowadays we would like to be much more specific, to know how a treatment works.”

This data-driven analysis will also inform new dental tool development. As students interact with patients, sensors will capture which instruments they use and for how long. This information will be used to see which current tools are meeting students’ needs and where there might be a need for a particular type of instrument that does not yet exist.

The Center will serve the upper Manhattan community where it is located, opening the first-ever big-data precision medicine dental clinic to those who have historically lacked equal access to quality dental care. Learn more.



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