A robot from China has performed the first automated dental implant recorded. This marks a new page in the world of technology and robotics, which for years had only been used in less intricate job applications.
The robot was created by the Fourth Military Medical University and the Beihang University Robot Institute in a combined effort. Four years were taken to develop the technology to this point, with a lot of trial and error, according to developers.
The robot dentist installed two dental implants for a woman just this last Saturday, reports the South China Morning Post. Human doctors were at the scene, but only in a supervisory role. They did not directly intervene or perform any of the procedure. According to the report, the robot followed a series of pre-programmed commands to install these implants into the patient. The implants were created using 3D printing technology, another growing technological pursuit.
The experts on site say that the implants were performed within a margin of error that matches the standards required for this type of procedure. The error margin was 0.2 to 0.3 mm.
According to the report, these medical robots could be the answer to a shortage of dentists that is occurring worldwide, which is something that many are not even aware of. The problem is especially prevalent in China. The country is preparing to experiment further with the idea of robotic dentists, though only in a limited fashion for the time being.
Implants are something a robot can do quite easily, but more complicated and delicate procedures like fillings or a root canal might be beyond the technology at present. Having automation take over for these more time-consuming procedures can allow doctors to focus on larger and more important tasks.
Somewhere around 32% of people are “concerned with the look of their teeth,” according to the American Dental Association. More can be done to address these concerns if the more time-consuming tasks are take out of the hands of qualified dentists. Automation could make this a reality, it appears.