A robot has carried out a dental operation without help from humans for the first time, carrying out implant surgery on a patient in China.
It was developed jointly by the Fourth Military Medical University’s affiliated Stomatological Hospital, based in Xian, and the robot institute at Beihang University in Beijing over the past four years.
According to Dr Zhao Yimin, the mainland’s leading oral rehabilitation specialist who works at the hospital, the robot combines dentists’ expertise and the benefits of technology.
Two new teeth, created by 3D printing, were successfully implanted into a woman’s mouth, the South China Morning Post reported.
The implants were fitted to within a margin of error of 0.2-0.3mm, reaching the required standard for this kind of operation, experts said.
The robot was developed by Beihang University in Beijing and the Fourth Military Medical University’s Stomatological Hospital.
Dr Zhao Yimin, who works at the hospital, told the newspaper the robot was designed to carry out dental procedures and avoid mistakes made by human error.
It followed a set of pre-programmed commands to fit the implants into the patient’s mouth but was able to make adjustments as the woman moved.
The robot was built to help deal with China’s shortage of qualified dentists. Hong Kong and Singapore are also facing a shortage of dentists, experts have warned.
According to the report, there are around 400 million patients in need of new teeth in China.
Experts say robot surgery, or robot-assisted surgery, allows doctors to perform complicated surgery with more precision, but some question whether these operations are safe.