Working together over the course of four years, the Stomatological Hospital at Wuhan University and the Robot Institute at Beihang University, both in China, developed Yomi, a robot designed to help human surgeons with the dental implant process. Now, Yomi has successfully performed the first autonomous implant surgery on a patient in China.
Researchers suggest the goal is not to replace dentists but to help with the worldwide shortage of qualified dentists and to aid in some procedures where human error can be avoided. In March 2017, the Food and Drug Administration approved Yomi for use in assisting dental surgeries. The system uses CT scans to plan, track and control dental procedures for more precise techniques than typical human error allows.
The team’s research concluded that there are 400 million patients in China who need new teeth. A shortage of dentists has made it near impossible to meet these needs.
Missing Teeth: A Problem That Needs Addressing
Missing teeth aren’t just a problem abroad. The American College of Prosthodontics estimates that 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. Replacing missing teeth shouldn’t be taken lightly, according to Dr. Ken Collins, DDS, founder of Collins Dentistry and Aesthetics in Spokane, Washington.
“When you lose a tooth or multiple teeth, replacing them should be a priority. The longer a space exists in the mouth, the more other teeth will shift to fill it and the faster jaw bone loss can occur,” he said.
Although there are many methods to replace teeth, including dentures, bridges and crowns, Collins stresses the importance of replacing the tooth from the root up, something none of those options do. Dental implants are titanium rods that replace the root of the tooth and are implanted in the gums. After the implant is placed, a crown is installed in the space where the visible tooth once was. Advancements in dental medicine have made it so that in many cases the crown matches surrounding teeth perfectly.
A Missing Tooth Can Lead to Missing Jaw Bone
“Many people are simply unaware that jaw bone loss begins occurring after a tooth is lost,” said Collins. “They may not replace the tooth because it isn’t visible when they smile, or they may choose a cheaper option like a denture just for a quick cosmetic fix.”
Experts agree that during the first year after a tooth is lost, the jawbone is reduced by close to 25 percent. Not only does this make replacing the tooth harder as more jawbone is lost, but the face can also begin to age prematurely.
The jaw plays a very important role in the structure and support of the face.
“As the jawbone deteriorates after tooth loss, the lower third of the face begins to collapse,” Collins said. “The distance between the nose and chin begins decreasing, lips begin to sag and the face as a whole begins to take on the appearance of someone much older and even unhappy looking due to the downward turning of the mouth.”
Or office in Spokane is located at:
3151 E. 28th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99223
Office phone # 509-532-1111