Arkansas Oral & Facial Surgery Center in Fayetteville was the first in Arkansas to insert a dental implant using a robot.
Dr. Scotty Bolding, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and one of three partners at the center, inserted the implant April 2 using dental robot Yomi — the only one approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for dental surgery. The center is one of 25 globally with the robot, which was developed by Miami-based Neocis Inc.
“From a technology standpoint, we’ve been chosen by the company as a select group of pioneers in the area of dental robotics,” Bolding said. “And to be able to use the technology to place a dental implant as precise as we can using technology, it really transforms the way we approach patient care.”
The center received the $150,000 Yomi robot the last week of March, and the robot has been used to insert dental implants in 25 patients.
Bolding compared the benefit of the robot to how autopilot has helped the aviation sector. The robot provides surgeons a guide in which to operate and can prevent mistakes, such as drilling too deep, and is able to reach angles difficult for human hands. The surgeon controls the robot, however, and it doesn’t operate autonomously.
Bolding spent a week training to use the robot and expects to receive continued training for it.
The robot is only used to insert dental implants but potentially could be used for jaw surgeries or in general dentistry, he said. The procedure to install an implant takes about 15 minutes, and when factoring in the 30 minutes to an hour of preparation, the amount of time it takes is similar to the timing for a manually inserted implant. Most good dental insurance plans cover the procedure using the robot, Bolding said.