Robot Completes First Dental Implants Without a Dentist

A robot dentist has completed the first implants without human touch. The robot has completed the very first successful autonomous implant surgery by fitting two new teeth into a woman’s mouth. While medical staff was present during the operation, they did not play a major role in the implant surgery.

According to Science and Technology Daily, the one-hour procedure took place in Xian, Shaanxi on Saturday. The implants were fitted within a margin of error of 0.2 – 0.3 mm, reaching the new required standard for this type of operation, according to the report.

The technology was designed to help fulfill China’s shortage of qualified dentists and decrease the number of surgical errors.

The technology for the surgery was developed by the Fourth Military Medical University’s affiliated Stomatological Hospital, which is also based in Xian, and the robot institute at Beihang University in Beijing. The project took four years to implement and according to Dr. Zhao Yimin, the mainland’s leading oral rehabilitation specialist, the robot illustrates the dentistry expertise and benefits of technology.

Ultimately, the robot conducts the surgery by itself so it can avoid issues caused by human errors. Not to mention, the artificial teeth were created by 3D printing, Dr. Yimin explained.

It is important to note how common dental implants are in China. Approximately, one million implants are carried out in China every year and poor quality of the surgery can cause further issues, discomfort, and problems.

The report on the robot illustrates that dental surgeons are working within a small space in the mouth, which is hard for humans to see. As a result, human errors are common and the surgery is difficult to carry out. By using robots, it can further decrease surgical errors and increase the number of dental implants in the country.

How does it work?

Before the operation, dental staff fitted position orientation equipment on the patient. The staff then programmed the robot to move into the correct position to carry out the procedure and determined the movements, angle, and depth necessary to fit the new teeth inside a cavity in the patient’s mouth. The team then tested the movements and collected data to make the necessary adjustments before giving the women local anesthetic and carrying out the operation. During the operation, the robot was able to make changes in line with the patient’s movements.

Recently, robots have been used to assist dentists with other operations including root canal surgery. Last March, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a newly developed robot system called Yomi, which is designed to help human surgeons when fitting dental implants.

Overall, recent reports have found Chinese spending on technology and innovation is outpacing the United States thanks in part by cloud-based services. Moreover, artificial intelligence and robots are further taking jobs that were once heavily dependent upon human involvement.