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Would You Let Skynet be Your Dentist?

If your least favorite part about going to the dentist is the banter, then that part of your visit could soon be over. China recently introduced robot dentists to do the tooth work.

Possibly the world's first fully automated dental implant surgery took place in China in September in which a robot performed the procedure while human doctors watched but did not intervene. 3D printers were used to create the implants and local anesthetic was applied to the patient.

The South China Morning Post first reported the story that preprogrammed robots had been used to perform implant surgery, with a suitable margin of error. It seems that robot dentists are actually well suited for implant surgery because they have “more accuracy and agility in a narrow space like the oral cavity.”

Robots in dentistry have been introduced by Wuhan University Stomatological Hospital and Beihang University’s robotics institute to help the country that is experiencing a lack of dentists as well as ensure better accuracy and success in dental procedures.

It seems that the dentistry industry has been very welcoming of using robots in various capacities, including orthodontic procedures and root canal surgeries, as well as in student training. Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a robot system designed to assist dentists with dental implant procedure. The system is known as Yomi.

Yomi uses a patients CT scans to plan procedures. The company behind the software says that Yomi continually tracks the patient to help the human dentist control the direction of the drill as it drives into the tissue to avoid getting off track. The software allows for quick changes in the procedure and helps to provide a clear view without the obstruction of patient guides that are commonly used dental procedures.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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