Science + Tech

Robot-assisted dental surgery: The new frontier in implant dentistry

Any field that requires high precision minimal invasiveness, and whose results are subject to human fatigue, can benefit from implementation of robotics systems. So it comes as no surprise that oral and maxillofacial surgery, particularly implant placement, has seen recent advancements in robotic-assisted surgical techniques. CAD/CAM technology and digital planning tools are already standard of care for dental implants, and robotics appear to be the next generation in
making dental implant placement more precise and less invasive.

A research team, led by Dr. James McEwan at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver General Hospital, developed the first clinically significant surgical robot, called the Arthrobot, in 1983 for use during orthopedic surgery. In an article from Canadian publication The Medical Post in November 1985, Dr. McEwan described the advantages of having a robot assist in surgery: “The surgeon no longer has to do two jobs at once — that is, manipulate the joint and perform the procedure … Or, alternatively, the surgeon no longer needs a human assistant to position and hold the limb while he operates. Holding a limb in place for long periods of time can be very fatiguing. The robot doesn’t get tired and doesn’t get bored. The whole idea behind the robot is to reduce the labor intensiveness of certain surgical procedures.”

Further progress with surgical robotics came out of NASA research in the mid-1980s, when scientists developed ways to operate remotely on astronauts. Since those early days, surgical robotics have found applications in a wide variety of health care specialties, including neurology, ophthalmology, cardiology, transplant surgery and general surgery.

Finish reading this article in the April 2021 issue of Contour magazine.

~Jeannie Binder, Texas-Houston ’21

Jeannie Binder

Jeannie Binder is a fourth-year student at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Dentistry and has previously served as ASDA's editor-in-chief.

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