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Not like pulling teeth

WVU offers robotic dental procedures that can be less painful, anxiety-ridden

WVU Today

Visiting the dentist, especially for dental surgery, can be a source of anxiety and fear for many patients. Providing a quick and efficient procedure may put a big smile on some patients’ faces by allowing them to get back to their lives sooner. 

The West Virginia University School of Dentistry now offers robotic-assisted implant procedures that are, in some cases, quicker than conventional methods and in certain circumstances can be less painful than traditional procedures and help reduce recovery time.

Since 2000, more than 6 million robotic-assisted surgeries have taken place across multiple medical specialties, including cardiovascular, neurology and orthopedics. However, surgical robotics have only recently become available to dentists.

“The ability to use this robotic implant device and collaborate across specialties is a strength,” said Gian Pietro Schincaglia, chair of the WVU dental school’s post-graduate periodontics program. “For our patients, it provides options, and for our residents, they can access the other specialties as needed. This will make them very competitive compared to residents graduating from other schools when they leave and enter the practicing workforce.”

After acquiring this breakthrough dental-implant technology — called Yomi — from Neocis Inc., WVU has become one of just two schools in the United States where providers have access to it.

Yomi is the only device of its kind that the Food and Drug Administration has approved for dental implant surgery.

The technology doesn’t just benefit patients. It also allows for even better accuracy by dental specialists. And accuracy in dentistry can come down to a distance that’s thinner than a credit card.

It “permits the school to build on an already advanced dental implant program,” Schincaglia said.

Yomi complements, rather than overrides, a provider’s clinical expertise. The provider performing the surgical procedure first creates a virtual plan for the placement of a dental implant, using detailed 3-D scans of the patient’s mouth. Yomi then uses physical cues to guide the provider along the precise implementation of that plan, but the system is also dynamic enough to accommodate mid-procedure changes.

“We believe that Yomi may become a new standard of care for dental implants, and are thrilled to be working alongside the faculty, students and residents at the West Virginia University School of Dentistry to implement this technology,” said Dr. Alon Mozes, founder of Neocis. “By embedding the technology at the dental-school level, we are building comfort and skill with this technology from the ground up.”

Neocis technicians installed and calibrated the WVU system in early September. Following rigorous training later that month, faculty members in periodontics, prosthodontics and oral and maxillofacial surgery will start to incorporate Yomi into their patients’ treatment plans. Post-doctorate students will also begin faculty-driven instruction of using the technology.

Patients can inquire about robotic guided implant surgery through WVU Dental Care by calling 304-293-5831.

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