One trend we’re eyeing with fascination may not be quite ready for primetime, but could represent a seismic shift in dental over the next decade or so.
What’s that, you ask? Robot-assisted surgeries.
Specifically, Yomi — the first-ever robot dentist (sort of, anyway). Built by a company called Neocis, Yomi has recently been given the green light by the FDA to begin helping dentists place implants on patients.
Most implant surgeries typically require at least two appointments, often spaced months apart to allow a patient time to recover. Neocis claims that Yomi can do the same procedure in a single visit — allowing patients to rebuild their smiles in a day.
How is this possible? Per Neocis, dentists using Yomi can make more precise, accurate incisions than any human could hope to do by hand, making the entire process both more efficient and significantly less taxing on patients’ bodies.
Now, we’re not going to be the first to volunteer to be on the receiving end of a robot-led surgery. Kinks are inevitable with any new technology, and we’d imagine that Yomi (and similar technologies) may yet have growing pains to work through.
But we also see a tremendous opportunity here to raise the quality of care and help more patients.
Should robot-assisted implant procedures become the norm, thousands of patients every year would be spared longer recovery times. And reducing the number of needed appointments could also help lower the cost of implants — which remains prohibitively high for too many patients in need — to the point where they might become accessible for thousands more.
Dentists, of course, could benefit by being able to treat a higher volume of cases while producing more reliable work than ever.
We don’t want to make the mistake of trying to predict the future with too much confidence. Nor do we want to make light of the potential for disruption that comes from integrating any new technology into an established business.
But today, we’re hopeful that robot dentists could be a win-win for all involved.