Robot Dental Assistants? We’re Not So Sure

Robotics have changed the workplace significantly in recent decades, and it’s a trend that’s expected to continue and intensify. Getting its most visible start in the automotive sector, robotics slowly spread through the manufacturing industries, and there is always a lot of speculation about what sector will be the next to be transformed.

A recent report has some people suggesting the next affected industry may just be dentistry. According to the Centre Daily Times, Dr. Eddie Kotary of Penn State College has become the first general dentist in the world to have a robotic dental assistant in his office. Dubbed “Yomi,” the device is an FDA-approved robot used during dental implantation procedures, the creation of Miami company Neocis.

But keep in mind, the robot doesn’t do the whole job; it actually serves as a guide for a human dentist. That tells me that despite its sophistication, it should be regarded as merely another tool in the dentist’s arsenal. And an expensive tool at that: Dr. Kotary estimates the technology cost him “about as much as a house.”

Once you fully consider these cost constraints, and add to them the buying public’s innate discomfort with robots, the prospects for widespread use of this technology seem to dim. After all, there have been robot hairdressers since at least 2011, and cutting someone’s hair isn’t nearly as complicated–or intimate–as most dental work.

When it comes to dentistry, it seems clear that the human touch is critical. And while the tools will certainly get better as time passes, there’s one thing that isn’t going to change: people are always going to want to be cared for by people. And here at our Moraga dental offices, we’re happy to be here to do just that.

Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you here soon!