RP-VITA Remote Presence Robot receives FDA Clearance
The future is here as the FDA has approved a new, patient friendly robot that wonders into patient hospital rooms and helps to remotely diagnosis problems with the help of a physician specialist who may be thousands of miles away! The joint venture between iRobot, the inventor of the home robot vacuum cleaner called Roombas, and InTouch Health, this five foot tall avatar may well be the one to greet you as you awaken after your next surgical procedure. While, perhaps, not as warm and fuzzy as Dr. Kildare, these medical robots may well improve patient outcomes and reduce health care costs in line with the aims of the Affordable Care Act.
So why is your local, Gettysburg Dentist talking about medical robots?
Because the same medical technology revolution is occurring in the modern dental practice! One of the most common dental procedures is the placement of a porcelain crown. Most of us who grew up in the 60s or 70s have a mouthful of amalgam (silver-mercury) fillings. Over the years these metal fillings expand and contract, develop microscopic openings at the margins, and cause teeth to crack and break. Generally, a tooth that is more filling than tooth needs a crown or onlay to hold it together, to restore natural function and, hopefully, preserve it for a lifetime of chewing and smiling. Traditionally, the dentist uses local, dental anesthesia to numb the tooth, remove the decay, build the tooth back together and then prepare it for the crown covering. A very accurate mold is made of the prepared tooth and this mold, or impression, is sent to a laboratory. Once at the lab, a team involving a dental lab technician and a porcelain artist take over to custom fabricate the dental crown by hand. The final result must be precision crafted to fit perfectly with no gaps and to blend in perfectly with the natural teeth. The patient leaves the dental office with a temporary, dental cap and returns in about three weeks to have the cap removed and the new porcelain crown bonded to the tooth. There are lots of steps where errors can occur, especially if the dentist is unable, or unwilling to us a high quality dental lab, Unfortunately, more and more dentists are having dental work made in China and other cheap, poorly regulated, off shore factories. But that is for another story!
OK. Back to the Dental Robot Story.
Imagine this. The dentist prepares your tooth as before. Instead of the patient having to leave the office with a temporary dental cap, a robot technician is wheeled into the room! Called a Cerec machine this hi tech, dental office technology uses a special infrared wand to digitize the tooth. The Cerec trained dentist then designs the dental crown on a computer screen and wirelessly emails the design to a cad-cam, dental robot located in another room. In about 15 minutes of fascinating buzzing and whirring a perfectly shaped and colored dental crown or onlay is almost magically produced and can be bonded to the tooth in one visit.
Robotic type Cerec dentistry can be ideal for use in sedation or sleep dentistry. Fearful dental patients don’t have to come back for multiple visits. The teeth can often be prepared for Cerec type crowns and finished in one visit while the patient is sedated by the dentist anesthesiologist. No dreading the second visit to put the crowns on!
Invisalign orthodontics is yet another example of robotic type, dental treatment available from your hi tech Gettysburg Invisalign dentist. Your crooked teeth are digitally recreated and then digitally straightened, allowing a series of tooth straightening dental aligners to be robotically fabricated. Incredible technology!
While the robot dentist is not yet ready to roll into the room ask you to open wide, your hi technology Gettysburg dental office is already here and the future is coming fast!