In Japan a Robotic nurse had been developed and being tested for shifting and moving elderly patients. A similar machine is under development for basic dental assistance like greeting and welcoming patients, taking down notes and draping and preparing for treatment.
It is worth noting that Japan is already using Robotic technology to train dental students. Tokyo’s Showa University is using its latest robotic dental patient giving students the feel of working with real patients in pre-clinical setting. The robot has many ‘human’ behaviors like blinking, rolling eyes, sneezing, coughing, shaking its head and moving the tongue. An interesting feature of the robot its capability of simulating a gag reflex, and even getting tired when having to keep its mouth open for too long which is quite frequent during dental procedures in real patients.
Meanwhile the world’s first fully automated dental implant surgery was conducted In China in the city of Xi’an last year by a robot. Human doctors supervised the whole procedure but did not actively intervene. The artificial teeth it implanted were created by 3D printing.
Dentists need not be concerned about their career prospects with the emergence of mechanized competitors as they still need a skilled dentist to operate them !!