Robotic technology is disrupting traditional dental implant surgery, here’s how

By Alon Mozes, Ph.D., Founder, Neocis

Good dental health is essential to everyday life, and the physical and mental distress resulting from missing teeth can have a significant impact on our overall well-being. Dental implant surgery has become the standard of care for people with edentulism, which can be caused by improper dental care or trauma from injury. The geriatric population is at increased risk, with nearly one in five American adults age 65 or older having lost all of their teeth.1

Approximately 3 million people in the United States currently have dental implants, a number that is growing by 500,000 per year.2 Although these surgeries are becoming more common, dental implant procedures require extreme precision to avoid critical anatomical structures.

While robot-assisted surgery has become increasingly common in various medical specialties, most dental implant surgeries today are performed using a freehand approach with minimal guidance. In a field where precision and accuracy in a confined space are essential, robot-assisted technology can allow dental surgeons to operate with unparalleled precision, ensuring the best functional and aesthetic results for patients.

The dental industry has broadened its embrace of robotic technology in recent years, paving the way for the modernization of dentistry and paving the way for robot-assisted surgery to become the method of choice over freehand dental implant procedures. for the benefit of both provider and patient.

The limits of traditional dental implant surgery

Dental implant surgery usually involves replacing missing or damaged teeth with artificial teeth, as well as replacing tooth roots with screw-like metal posts.

During a traditional implant procedure, the surgeon drills a hole in the patient’s jawbone where the post is then placed. The implant fuses with the surrounding bone, providing a solid base for the abutment and replacement artificial crown which are then attached to mimic the look and function of a real tooth. Although bridges and dentures can also be used in these cases, these alternatives can strain other healthy teeth and lead to bacterial infections. Also, since these treatments are not fixed in the jawbone, they do not prevent bone resorption, which leads to further physical and aesthetic degradation. Additionally, traditional freehand techniques require surgeons to cut through the patient’s gum tissue in order to access the surgical site, which can lead to post-surgical pain and longer recovery times.

To complement freehand procedures, various guidance mechanisms have been introduced to the field. However, each has its own issues and restrictions. Although more accurate than freehand, plastic surgical guides lack intraoperative flexibility, can obscure the view of the surgical field, and can be difficult to irrigate. Camera navigation provides intraoperative flexibility, but requires the dental professional to operate while looking at a computer screen instead of the actual surgical site. Moreover, this system does not prevent the dental professional from deviating from the surgical plan.

Successful placement of dental implants requires careful preoperative planning and intraoperative flexibility, as well as a high degree of accuracy and precision to avoid critical anatomical structures and provide optimal patient outcomes. Robot-assisted technology offers the greatest accuracy and precision in dental treatments as well as better workflows, effectively addressing the limitations of traditional implant techniques.

Implementation of state-of-the-art surgical technology – without cutting tissue

By integrating digital pre-planning software, robot-assisted dental technology can help surgeons safely adhere to the surgical plan.

Importantly, robot-assisted dental technologies enable minimally invasive procedures, helping dentists perform flapless techniques, avoiding unnecessary incisions and streamlining the recovery process for patients. Robotic systems currently in use provide accurate and precise physical guidance during surgery using robotic haptic technology, preventing drill deviation or over-drilling beyond the pre-planned depth, thus ensuring that the surgeon avoids the critical anatomy such as nerves or sinus cavities.

Haptic robotic technology provides real-time physical feedback to guide the surgeon’s movements, while limiting angle and depth based on the surgeon’s procedure plan.

To be clear, the surgeon controls the implant procedure at all times. Robot-assisted dental technologies enhance the surgeon’s existing expertise, rather than replacing it altogether. The surgeon is the one who plans and executes the operation. They are guided by robotic technology throughout the procedure to ensure maximum precision.

Navigate complex cases

In addition to increasing safety during surgery, robot-assisted dental technology helps clinicians achieve positive outcomes in complex cases that might be difficult or impossible to manage by hand. There is a wide variety of complex cases in dental surgery, ranging from implants in the aesthetic zone, implants near the sinus, multi-implant cases and full arch surgery.

The precision of robotics allows surgeons to optimize the use of available bone, guiding them in some cases to place the implant precisely at the floor of the sinus, thus avoiding the need for a sinus lift. Full arch cases also benefit from robotic guidance. Multiple implant cases become a simple assembly line process, which can streamline clinical workflow and potentially reduce overall surgical time. The robotic precision and resulting parallelism can also lead to faster prosthetic restoration.

Additionally, while analog plastic surgical guides create limitations when a clinician needs the ability to change direction during surgery, robot-assisted technology allows dentists to easily manage sudden changes during implant surgery. Surgeons often encounter unforeseen clinical conditions, such as softer bone or unexpected extraction results that necessitate a modification of their preoperative plan. However, the plastic guides are fixed, forcing the surgeon to decide whether to stick with a flawed plan or discard the guides and perform freehand surgery.

Robotics, on the other hand, makes it possible to adapt on the fly to clinical conditions. Robot-assisted dental technology allows surgeons to modify the preoperative plan mid-procedure and use real-time updated robotic assistance to continue to guide the procedure, without lacking a freehand approach. With the help of robotics, clinicians can perform more efficient procedures and reduce the risk of implant failure.3

A new standard of patient care

By providing real-time visual and physical guidance during surgery, robot-assisted dental technology maximizes accuracy and precision while ensuring exact operational angulation, location and depth according to the surgical plan.

Today, as knowledge and understanding of robotics grows in the dental industry, the systems are increasingly being used to train the next generation of implant dentists. In fact, several major American dental schools have installed and integrated robotics into their standard curricula.

Robot-assisted dental surgery is not a futuristic concept. He is here now and will only grow in importance and presence. Robotics is essential in its ability to provide patients with the best possible functional and aesthetic results. Safety and patient experience are primary goals in dentistry, especially when it comes to implant surgery, so robotic implementations and procedural improvements will naturally become the norm in our industry over time.

The positive impact of robot-assisted technology on dental implant surgery highlights the importance of modernization for the industry as a whole. As the use of robot-assisted dental technology grows among clinicians, it is possible that the technology will be implemented in the dental industry more broadly, increasing the likelihood that manual procedures and problems that accompanying them will soon be taken into account. thing of the past.

About the Author:

Alon Mozes has worked in the field of computer graphics and image-guided applications for over 20 years. He has led Neocis as CEO and co-founder since its inception, through early prototyping, first FDA clearance in 2016 for a robotic dental surgery system, major venture capital fundraising and launch. successful business. Mozes began his career at Sportvision, creating real-time special effects, including the first and 10th yellow line in NFL games, before joining Mako Surgical, where he was a lead engineer developing the groundbreaking Rio system of the society for orthopedic robotic surgery. Mozes obtained his doctorate. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Miami and his BS and M.Eng. computer science and engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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