The world of robotics is introducing some interesting changes to our society as we know it. While not all robots are out to take our jobs, it will be interesting to see how things evolve in this regard. In China, we now have seen the first robot dentist capable of fitting implants in a patient’s mouth. There is no direct human involvement whatsoever, although there will always be some degree of oversight. This development won’t make going to the dentist any less scary, though.
Robot Dentists Are Sorely Needed
Although most people may not realize it, there is a severe shortage of qualified dentists around the world. This situation is especially troublesome in China, by the looks of things. As a result, the country is preparing to experiment further with robot dentists, even though it is only in a limited scope for the time being. Fitting implants in a patient’s mouth is something a robot can do, especially considering that the process can take valuable time away from addressing bigger problems.
The first trial of this type was successfully completed in China earlier this week. A robot dentist fitted two new teeth into a patient’s mouth without requiring any human intervention during the procedure. It is good to know that medical staff was present just in case something went awry, though. Experiments like these are often cause for concern, but things turned out just fine in the end. That is a good thing, although it is only the first step along the way.
Very few people consider how long it takes to implant two new teeth into someone’s mouth. In this case, the robot dentist needed about an hour to successfully perform the procedure. As always, there is a certain margin for error when fitting such implants. In this case, the robot reached the required standard for this type of operation. Both teeth were implanted within 0.2mm of where they needed to be.
China is a country where many things are lacking, especially when it comes to qualified dentists. Moreover, the nation is prone to frequent surgical errors, which raises a lot of concerns. Deploying robots to take over a large part of the world makes a lot of sense in this regard, even though it may not be the perfect solution either. Just because this trial was successful doesn’t mean every Chinese individual will be treated by robot dentists in the future.
This particular robot was created by the Fourth Military Medical University and the Beihang University Robot Institute. It took four years to get to this point, indicating a lot of time and effort has been poured into this experiment. Bridging the gap between innovative technology and a dentist’s expertise is not easy by any means. What’s more, the implants used for this procedure were 3D printed. It is good to see emerging technologies coming together in the medical sector.
It is evident that there is a growing need for robots in China’s dental industry. With around 400 million citizens requiring new teeth and lacking sufficient experts to perform those procedures, there is a lot of work to be done moving forward. Although it remains to be seen how many of those interventions will be performed by robots in the coming years, it is good to have an alternative solution if push comes to shove.