Zaamigo: “A friend for your teeth”

Dental Equipment
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Zaamigo AI acts as oral health alert system

A new device that looks like an electric toothbrush has been developed but which allows us to self-monitor our oral hygiene and alerts us when it is time to visit the dentist or dental hygienist. Zaamigo contains a mini camera with which anyone can take microscopic pictures of their own teeth and gums.

Severin Stalder, founder of the ETH spin-off Zaamigo, explains: “Within seconds, the images are interpreted in an app by artificial intelligence (AI) and provide information about accumulated calculus, stains, and inflamed gums. The users immediately see how well they brush their teeth and which areas they neglect – often up to 40% of the teeth.”

Stalder continues: “Dentists have been using expensive cameras for microscopic images for 30 years. Up until now, they have interpreted these images themselves and used them to explain to patients where there are problems and where they should brush better.

“For the new Zaamigo device, experts analysed thousands of images. Based on interpretations of these dental images, Zaamigo was able to develop software using AI algorithms that can identify problem areas in the images within seconds.

“Unfortunately, not all teeth look as beautiful as the ones you see in the mirror. Even dentists are surprised when they see their own teeth. The app also gives specific tips on how and where to brush better or whether a visit to the dentist is recommended.

"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.”

The simple to use product was originally developed for children to explain the importance of dental care.

Stalder adds: "I see a big difference between my children's teeth, which I test regularly, and the teeth of children in the neighbourhood where Zaamigo has not been used in the past. It is definitely worth it. Incidentally, the children learn to brush their teeth properly at an early age, which is the best prevention for healthy teeth.

“Dentists also use the device and the images for patient communication to make their work more understandable. Our goal is not to replace dentists, but to identify patients at risk. If problems are detected early, patients can save a lot of money. Zaamigo's camera is affordable and can be bought online in the UK, Europe and the US to be used with iPhones and iPads.

"In the future we also want to develop an AI aid for patients and dentists with in-depth experience to provide advanced diagnoses. The idea is to detect caries, periodontal diseases or nocturnal teeth grinding. To do this, the images must be linked to other findings (e.g., x-ray images or bleeding gums after a tactile test) and then compared with the image data – a major but very exciting challenge.”

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