Robot Performs First Dental Implant Surgery without Human Involvement

For the first time in the history of dentistry, a dental robot named Yomi performed dental implant surgery to place two dental implants in the patient’s mouth. It was done without significant human involvement. This event has hinted towards the future of dental robotics. Since this very first procedure was a success, dentists believe that further advancement in the dental robotics can open the door to a new era of industry. Nevertheless, the capability of current technology deployment regarding handling of complicated procedures and emergencies is yet to be analyzed.

Looking at the positivity of the prospect, it can be said with surety that the typical human errors can be avoided if dental procedures are carried out with the help of robotics. Although the dental procedure by robot was carried out under the supervision of medical staff, no one played active role during the one-hour long procedure.

Evaluation after the procedure revealed that there was an error of 0.2 – 0.3 mm, which is quite ignorable in such cases. Yomi was basically developed under the collaboration between Fourth Military Medical University’s affiliated Stomatological Hospital and robot institute at Beihang University in Beijing. It took for years for the researchers to complete this project. The main reason which pushed dental robotic professionals to focus on this project was the shortage of dentists in mainland China and the frequent surgical errors made by dentists during the dental procedures. It’s worth mentioning here the study which suggests that, currently, about 400 million patients in China need teeth replacement and the dental services are insufficient in terms of serving personnel to fulfill these major requirements.

According to Dr. Zhao Yimin who is an Oral rehabilitation specialist, “The robot combines dentists’ expertise and the benefits of technology”. He also mentioned the fact that there were one million implants being placed in the patients every year, and the frequent surgical errors resulted in a lot of failed procedures.

Since oral cavity is pretty small area to work with and the chances of errors which can lead to injuries are always there in case the position of patient and area of robot’s working are not synchronized, the medical staff ensured that patient was fitted in perfectly according to the position of equipment. It was then left up to the equipment which was programmed well to move the related tools correctly inside the mouth in order to perform surgery. The machine is quite capable to read angles and textures inside the mouth. These reading then guide the machine’s tools to perform surgery.

It needs to be mentioned here that these readings were performed before the procedure was started. After the reading, patient was given local anesthesia which numbed the location of surgery. The surgical process started as soon as anesthesia completed the action.

It’s worth mentioning here that this dental robot has been approved by US Food and Drug Authority in March this year for being a qualified machine for placing dental implants.