(ANTIMEDIA) — The world’s first successful autonomous implant surgery was completed in Xian, Shaanxi last week, the South China Morning Post reported. Human medical staff were present but did not take an active role in the hour-long procedure, during which a robot dentist fitted two implants into a woman’s mouth.
After medical personnel set up the hardware and positioned the robot, the machine conducted a few tests before implanting the 3D-printed artificial teeth into the patient’s mouth within a margin of error of only .02-.03mm — the required standard for such procedures. The AI dentist was even able to make adjustments based on the patient’s movements throughout the operation.
The robot combines the expertise of a dentist with the precision of technology while nearly eliminating faults caused by human error, says Dr. Zhao Yimin, the mainland’s leading oral rehabilitation specialist who works at the hospital. Developed jointly over the past four years by the Fourth Military Medical University’s affiliated Stomatological Hospital and the robot institute at Beihang University in Beijing, the robotic surgeon is expected to help combat the shortage of qualified dentists in mainland China.
According to the Morning Post:
“An epidemiological survey has found there were about 400 million patients needing new teeth in China, but the number of qualified dentists was lagging behind demand.
“Around one million implants are carried out across the country each year and the poor quality of the surgery that patients face can often cause further problems.”
The same report also pointed out that robotic surgeons are able to maneuver easily within the small space inside a patient’s mouth and can work on areas that are typically hard to see, sidestepping some of the obstacles faced by even the best human surgeons.