Like everything else, dentistry has come a long way.
Now, robots are being used for a complex oral procedure.
Dr. Robert Payne is an oral surgeon and big proponent of technology. He married the two with a robotic system called Yomi which does the hands-on work of placing dental implants. He is the only practice offering robotic surgery in Southwest Florida.
The implant is best described as a screw. Over time it fuses to the bone and a crown or bridge is placed on top.
“Think of a dental implant like you’d think of a titanium-shaped root. Typically, an implant’s placed where a tooth used to be, the tooth is gone,” Payne said.
The old procedure is a complex and time-consuming one. It requires slicing into the gum tissue, drilling into bone and suturing the incision. It’s one of the procedures most patients dread.
But James Carlin welcomed the chance to try the new approach.
“I thought it was interesting, scientific,” Carlin said. “It seemed like it’d be more exact in terms of how I got the implant into my mouth.”
Everything is overseen by the doctor. The robot is his tool. Yomi is the first one cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Its first contact is to make a cone-beam CT scan that provides a 3D picture of the patient’s jaw. The robot’s computer brain maps nerves and sinuses and determines logistics. It virtually plans and later implements the procedure.
“Using the Yomi robotic system, you don’t have to make an incision in the gum tissue, there’s no stitches, it’s quicker. Therefore, the recovery time is much faster,” Payne said. “There’s very little if any, discomfort and the patient gets what they want quicker, which is a tooth.”
Carlin said it made the operation a little easier to swallow.
“I’m glad I had the experience of doing it,” Carlin said. “I imagine it’s the future.”