Changing the future of implant dentistry with robotics

March 10, 2017

A robotic guidance system for dental implant procedures just received FDA clearance.

Dental implants, in one form or another, have been around for centuries. In the mid-1960s, Per-Ingvar Brånemark, a Swedish physician known as the “father” of the modern dental implant, greatly advanced the technique by discovering that titanium could be used to create an anchor for artificial teeth, a process called osseointegration.

Now, implant dentistry is taking another large step forward as Neocis Inc. introduces Yomi, a robotic guidance system for dental implant procedures. 

It’s estimated that 69 percent of Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 have at least one missing tooth, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, while one in four people over the age of 74 have lost all their natural teeth. It may come as no surprise then that nearly 4 million dental implants are placed annually in the United States, according to Neocis Inc. 

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After receiving clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Neocis is marketing Yomi as a computerized navigational system intended to aid in both the planning (pre-operative) and surgical (intra-operative) phases of dental implantation surgery. The system reportedly provides software to preoperatively plan dental implantation procedures and is designed to provide navigational guidance of the surgical instruments. 

“Yomi will revolutionize dental surgery,” says Alon Mozes, CEO and co-founder of Neocis. “Dentists can currently capture a pre-operative cone beam CT scan (CBCT), but much of that information is effectively lost during the most critical part of the dental implant process: intra-operative surgery. Yomi enables dentists to bridge the digital imaging pre-operatively into their operating environment through the use of haptic robotic technology. They receive real-time physical and visual guidance throughout the surgery. This provides accuracy and reliability without the need to manufacture a custom plastic guide or worry about performing an unguided freehand approach.”

Haptic robotic technology provides sensory feedback by applying vibrations, forces or motions to the user. In Yomi, the technology is designed to contain the drill in position, orientation and depth. It’s engineered to leave the surgeon in control at all times and allow for clear visualization of the surgical site.

In addition, Mozes says patients will benefit from surgeons’ use of Yomi due to its accuracy, reliability and flexibility. Yomi is engineered to eliminate dentists’ dependence on plastic drill guides, which can impede the site of surgery and block proper irrigation and visibility.

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“Yomi solves all of these challenges by providing dynamic digital guidance with haptic robotic technology,” Mozes explains. “No plastic guides are manufactured or block the site of surgery. Dentists can change their plans in the middle of surgery without losing the benefit of guidance. They can simply change their software plan and Yomi will instantly update the guidance to the new position.”

Mozes says Neocis is committed to ensuring that dentists are fully trained if they choose to use Yomi in their practice.

“Neocis experts will train dentists on every feature of the planning software and every aspect of the Yomi workflow. Yomi is designed to be easy to incorporate into the dental practice. Neocis is excited to enable dentists to make their practice state of the art,” he says.