A new robotic tool is changing what we know about cosmetic dentistry, from the early phases of surgery planning to the recovery process.
The YOMI robotic dental system essentially works as a GPS navigation system to assist doctors in performing dental implant procedures. Created by Neocis, Inc., the first ever dental robotics company, YOMI is the first dental robot to be cleared for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
YOMI allows doctors to create a personalized treatment plan for each individual patient while monitoring all the movements the patient makes during the procedure. YOMI adjusts as needed to ensure the procedure runs smoothly as the doctor maneuvers the robotic arm to perform the treatment. As a result, what was once a potentially weeks-long endeavor can be completed in a single session.
One physician in particular, Dr. Jay Neugarten, jumped at the opportunity to incorporate YOMI into his practice. He first used the technology in late 2019-early 2020, when the FDA approved only the early phases of its use.
“[Neocis] approached us saying, “We think this would be a good fit for your practice.” When I looked at it, it was very attractive to me, but it wasn’t there for me yet, which meant that at this point it was only approved for three implants. If someone is missing an entire row of teeth in one jaw, that aspect is not yet approved,” Dr. Neugarten said. “Once it became FDA approved, which was the summer of 2020, I was ready to go.”
Dr. Neugarten’s practice, the New York Center for Orthognathic and Maxillofacial Surgery, focuses on oral and maxillofacial surgery, covering a range of procedures below the gum line, including implant surgery, bone grafting and corrective jaw surgery. Dr. Neugarten says that implant surgeries in particular have four main methods: freehand, surgical guides, augmented freehand, and dynamic navigation. YOMI, Dr. Neugarten says, is particularly helpful in the dynamic navigation method of surgery.
“The kind of analogy I give with this kind of technology is that you create a plan and a workflow just for the patient. For example, let’s say you want to take a train from New York to California, and there is no train that goes from New York to California, you need several trains. Come in and make a plan, I’ll take that train from New York to Philly, Philly to Des Moines, Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa to Vegas, and then Vegas to LA. You get on this train and the train basically does all the moving for you, you just have to know when to get on and get off,” Dr. Neugarten said. “What I do in robotic dentistry is this: I make a plan in advance, I present it on the screen just for the patient. When I use the robot on the patient, for me the map is already there, I plan exactly where I need to be. Once I dial that into the plan, when I use YOMI, my arm goes up and down like a train goes back and forth – I can’t go left or right, I can’t swerve.’
Dr. Neugarten’s patients have the option of being awake or asleep during their YOMI procedures, depending on their comfort level. He also noted that he often makes little or no incisions during surgery.
Dr. Neugarten has seen firsthand how well YOMI has helped patients recover. Although he says his work isn’t particularly painful compared to other aspects of dentistry, Dr. Neugarten’s patients do even better in their recovery.
“Nobody likes going to the dentist, it’s an anxious event. It’s not pleasant. But when we can use this technology and patients go home with Advil or Tylenol with little or no downtime, it really changes a lot,” Dr. Neugarten said. ” I operated on a man who had severe anxiety, gag reflex, couldn’t go to the dentist, lost all his teeth. I didn’t have to get a single stitch. If you saw his before and after, you wouldn’t think he had surgery. He came at 11:30 in the morning and ate eggs in the afternoon. The fact that he was able to resume a normal life and have a normal activity, I had to pinch myself with that.
Dr. Neugarten notes that patients should have a soft, non-chewing diet for a period of time after surgery, but the overall recovery time is like night and day.
“I love this technology, for today and for tomorrow. The ability to bring robotics into the maxillofacial space, where you think about all the other disciplines of medicine, robotics in the world of surgery and medicine has solidified to improve accuracy, improve predictability and provide better outcomes for our patients.” said Dr. Neugarten. “So this technology is something that I’ve been so passionate about for the whole arc, but also being able to innovate and train and develop these systems to improve the care of our patients is something that attracts me and drives me and is really what patients want, need and demand.”
For more information about Dr. Neugarten and his practice, visit www.nycoms.com/jay-neugarten-dds-md.