A robot in China has successfully performed dental surgery on a volunteer. The recent procedure records the first successful autonomous implant surgery, and could change the way dental surgery is performed in China.
Brave Volunteer, Successful Surgery
Would you willingly get dental surgery from a robot? One woman did and because of her bravery, experts saw how the robot was able to perform dental surgery successfully and efficiently — not to mention she got two of her teeth replaced with dental implants.
Before the operation began, the staff fitted the patient with position orientation equipment and programmed the robot to move into the correct position including the angle and depth required to fit the patient with two, 3D-printed artificial teeth. They also tested the movements and made adjustments to the robot before administering the patient with an anesthetic and pushing through with the surgery.
During the surgery, the robot performed admirably as it was able to adjust itself along with the patient's movements, and complete the surgery in about an hour without intervention from the human medical staff. The robot completed the surgery with a 0.2 to 0.3 mm margin of error, which is within the required standard for this type of operation.
"The operation ran very smoothly," said Dr. Zhao Yimin, leading oral rehabilitation specialist and professor at the Fourth Military Medical University's affiliate, Stomatological Hospital.
The robot that performed the dental surgery was developed by experts from Beihang University in Beijing and Fourth Military Medical University in Xian. According to Dr. Zhao, the robot was created by combining technology and dentists' expertise.
One of the biggest advantages of robotic dental surgery is its accuracy. This is perhaps due to the fact that using a robot lessens the chances of human error, not to mention the robot can move flawlessly in the small space within the mouth, something human dentists may have difficulties with.
According to an epidemiological survey, there are about 400 million people in need of new teeth in China and as it stands, there are about 1 million implant surgeries in the country each year. Unfortunately, the country has been having a shortage of qualified dentists of late, and the poor quality of the surgeries often leads to further oral problems.
By combining the robot with 3D-printing technology, there is hope in solving mainland China's dentist shortage and surgery quality issues. This is yet another case of how new technologies aid in advancing the medical field.