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  • Jordan D. Smith

The New Dentist in Town Isn’t Exactly…Human

Tru Family Dental in Portland is a two dentist shop run by Dr. Laura Haness and Dr. Andrew Schweitzer.  Unbeknownst to many, these local dental docs have a secret non-human partner in keeping teeth healthy.  No, you aren’t about to have an android drilling your teeth, but you may have an artificial intelligence analyzing your dental x-rays to spot those hard to see signs of decay. 

According to Dr. Schweitzer, their practice has always tried to keep up with the latest technology.  In the realm of dental x-rays, that means having AI to give an “second opinion” on the analysis. The AI which is built to recognize and look for certain patterns in x-rays, highlights areas the human dentist may want to take a closer look at.  This includes spots on x-rays that may have graduations of shadow that are not obvious to the naked eye which could indicate the beginnings of tooth decay. 

The AI is used by dentists in many offices across the country.  Each time it analyzes an x-ray it gets feedback from the human dentist which is fed back into the program to help it to spot similar patterns better the next time.  In that way, the program is “learning” much in the same way people do by trying, failing, and getting feedback.  As the saying goes, “practice makes progress.” 

Dr. Schweitzer is keen to point out that this is not a replacement for a human doc.  He compares it to a dentist consulting with a colleague by asking them to look at an x-ray to confirm a diagnosis or see if they missed anything.  In this way, the AI acts as an automatic “consultant” for every patient allowing them to receive the benefit of countless dentists across the country whose experience is continuing to help the AI learn.

Drs. Harness and Schweitzer practice general and cosmetic dentistry in their office on Rowe Avenue.  To learn more about the cutting edge technology they use to keep teeth healthy right here in Portland, you can check out their website or follow them on Facebook. 

DISCLAIMER: The author of this article is in fact human, and as such, when he needs his teeth cared for he sees Dr. Schweitzer…who is also human.

Image by Bob from Pixabay


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