Going to the dentist can be an unnerving experience for many children. This is especially true if it’s their first visit or they know they have a procedure coming up. Dentists who plan to work with children need to have the knowledge and experience to do so effectively. While many dentists learn about pediatric care during their education, first-hand experience is different. A robotics company out of Japan, Tmsuk, is looking to change all that.
Introducing The Robot Helping Educate Pediatric Dentists
Tmsuk has developed a robot designed to help pediatric dentists get experience before entering the field. This robot helps prepare them by behaving like that of a child in the dental chair. They’ll close their mouth randomly, fidget, and even flinch at inopportune times. The underlying mechanics use piezo technology and devices known as proportional pressure regulators. While no one would mistake the robot for an actual child, its behavior is distinctly reminiscent of theirs.
Future pediatric dentists aren’t the only ones benefiting from this technology. Those who intend to work in the field as dental hygienists or dental assistants. This is important as the child will sometimes require that these assistants gently restrain the child while the dentist works. This mimics real-life instances where difficult patients require additional support in remaining still throughout the surgery.
The robot is also designed to aid the dentist in practicing his oral surgery skills. Throughout real procedures, it’s not uncommon for young patients to experience shock, drops in blood pressure, and unconsciousness. In rare cases, they may experience critical health complications during the procedure. Responding to these instances effectively is essential to ensuring that the care delivered is safe and effective.
One focus on the development of this robot was affordability. For all the benefits it offers potential pediatric dentists, it doesn’t help if it’s beyond the reach of educational institutions. Tmsuk is dedicated to providing educational organizations with the ability to improve the outcomes of care for future patients.
The Technology Behind The Pediatric Dental Robot
This robot is the culmination of decades of robotics research and centuries of advances in dental care. Within the child robots can be found in air cylinders designed to use a minimum of pneumatic pressure while providing powerful dynamic responses when necessary. Piezo-electric crystals are not a new technology, but they see a new application in this device. They trigger responses in the robot, allowing it to behave as childlike as possible within certain parameters.
Who knows what the future of dentistry holds when paired with robotics. There may come a day when your dentist performs house calls remotely using a dental robot. Robotic-assisted surgeries are already happening in other medical spheres. As the price and availability of medical-grade robots become more approachable, we may start seeing them in smaller clinics like dental offices.