Could Developments in Dental Implant Robotics Revolutionize Dental Care?

A team of researchers has developed a novel robotic system for dental implant placement with remarkable results.

By Solomon Ndungu

Robotics have become increasingly popular in medical surgery as advances in technology and computer science have allowed for greater use of robots in surgical navigation and are considered superior to freehand approaches when placing instrumentation inside the mouth. Computer-aided systems, prosthetic solutions, and patient monitoring have helped dentists advance the level of care provided to patients.

For example, dental procedures are increasingly more accurate because electronic devices that record x-ray images have helped dentists identify anomalies during treatment planning, compensate for missing teeth during implant surgery (such as bridges), and guide them toward optimal treatment outcomes.

Electronic apparatuses also streamline work processes by allowing dentists to perform more complex treatments without the need for additional staff members or resources. These systems, in conjunction with navigation instructions, increase precision and accuracy in dental treatment while reducing time spent processing paperwork.

Precision of Implant Placement Key Success Indicator

Dental implants are today's gold standard therapy for edentulous individuals. Prosthetic-driven implant placement for esthetic and functionality restoration is becoming increasingly popular, necessitating a higher degree of accuracy.

In the 3D space (angulation, platform position, apical implant location), correct implant placement and depth in the ideal position are important goals from both a functional and aesthetic standpoint. It also preserves the integrity of surrounding anatomical structures, allows for proper prosthetic rehabilitation, enables excellent esthetics outcomes, and contributes to long-term rehabilitation success.

The precision of implant placement is an important indicator of successful implantation. To minimize the risks of surgical problems such as bleeding, sinusitis, and nerve damage, a dentist should seek to achieve an ideal three-dimensional (3D) implant position. It also helps to prevent unpleasant aesthetic outcomes. More importantly, damage to the sinus cavity during implant placement can cause infection and start chronic complications. Failure of dental implants is also a possibility, with around 5% to 10% of them failing due to damage or infection.

Robotic Technologies in Dental Implant Placement Surgeries

Recently, robotic-assisted surgery has been applied to dental implant placement. In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the first robotic dental surgical system (1) for dental implant treatments in the United States. The dental industry's embrace of robotic technology has increased significantly since, paving the road for dentistry's transformation and robot-assisted surgery to become the preferred method of choice over freehand dental implant operations for the benefit of both the dentist and patient.

By connecting digital pre-planning software to robotic assisting dental technology, surgeons can better follow the surgical plan. Dental professionals are increasingly using robotic-assisted technologies to allow minimally invasive treatments, allowing them to perform flapless techniques and avoid unnecessary incisions, and streamlining the recovery process for patients. Haptic robotic technology provides accurate and precise physical guidance during surgery, ensuring no drill deviation, over-drilling beyond pre-planned depth, and helping the surgeon avoid vital anatomies such as sinus cavities and nerves.

Haptic robotic technology provides real-time physical feedback to assist the surgeon's procedures while restricting angle and depth as specified in the procedure plan. Robotic dental technologies improve rather than replace surgical skills; the surgeon is in command of planning and executing the operation, assisted by robotic technology throughout the process to guarantee utmost precision.

Computer-aided Dynamic Navigation System Vs. Image-guided Robotic System

The use of dynamic navigation enhances the effectiveness and precision of surgical procedures. The ability to apply dynamic navigation to pre-surgical 3D planning is enabling clinicians to operate with greater accuracy. This allows dentists to provide a more predictable prognosis and better outcomes when treating patients.

The most significant benefit of dynamic navigation systems is that they allow dentists to check for accuracy throughout the surgery, which they can't do in static navigation systems. However, in a recent study published in the Journal of Dentistry (2), an image-guided robotic system for dental implant surgery was found to be more precise than a computer-aided dynamic navigation system for positioning implants in 3D-printed phantom jaws.

This is a significant finding, as it could have important implications for the future of dental implant surgery. The study was conducted by a team of researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. The team developed an image-guided hybrid robotic system for dental implant surgery (HRS-DIS) that aimed to compare the accuracy of dental implant placement using a dynamic navigation system versus their novel, image-guided robotic system.

The results showed that the robotic system was more accurate than the dynamic navigation system for all three measurements (angulation, platform position, and apical implant location). The placement accuracy was superior with the HRS-DIS prototype compared to the dynamic navigation system. This hints at the possibility of future image-guided robotic surgery systems, like this robotic system, supplanting conventional dynamic navigation systems – revolutionizing how dental procedures are performed.

References:

  1. Wu Y, Wang F, Fan S, Chow JK. Robotics in Dental Implantology. Oral Maxillofacial Surg Clin North Am. 2019 Aug;31(3):513-518. doi: 10.1016/j.coms.2019.03.013. Epub 2019 May 15. PMID: 31103316.
  2. Baoxin Tao, Yuan Feng, Xingqi Fan, Minjie Zhuang, Xiaojun Chen, Feng Wang, Yiqun Wu, Accuracy of dental implant surgery using dynamic navigation and robotic systems: An in vitro study, Journal of Dentistry, Volume 123, 2022, 104170, ISSN 0300-5712, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2022.104170.

Author: Solomon Ndungu is a technical writer and digital marketer with over eight years of professional experience. When he is not writing or creating SEO strategies, you will find him reading a book or singing his favorite tunes.

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