A robot in China is making headlines for completing the first successful dental implant surgery without human intervention.
The groundbreaking procedure was carried out in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, on Saturday.
In the one-hour surgery, the robot placed two new teeth into a woman’s gums, fitting them within an acceptable margin of error of 0.2 to 0.3 millimeters. The teeth were created via 3D printing.
The robot’s core technology is composed of oral implant planning, surgical navigation and autonomous control functions.
The robot, developed by Fourth Military Medical University’s Stomatological Hospital in Xi’an and Beihang University in Beijing, was created to address mainland China’s lack of qualified dentists. Around 400 million patients are said to be in need of new teeth.
The machine also attempts to reduce errors committed by human dentists.
In an interview with local outlet Science and Technology Daily, oral rehabilitation specialist Dr. Zhao Yimin stressed that the robot is autonomous and consequently capable of avoiding subjective factors that often cause problematic errors.
For Saturday’s procedure, dentists programmed the robot to move correctly and place the implants on the patient under local anesthesia.
Interestingly, the robot was also able to adjust according to the patient’s movements, the South China Morning Post noted.