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Alumnus Brings Dental Robotics Technology to UTHSC College of Dentistry

College of Dentistry students Benjamin Jones, back right, and Augustus Fletcher, front right, get a demonstration of the Yomi dental robotic technology from a representative of Neocis, Inc.

Third-year dental student Benjamin Jones got what he called “a glimpse the future” for dental implant surgery recently.

In an air-conditioned trailer parked behind the College of Dentistry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, he watched a demonstration of Yomi, the first and only FDA-cleared robotic device for dental implant surgery.

Representatives from Neocis Inc., a dental robotics company, came to the UTHSC College of Dentistry to demonstrate the technology at the invitation of Hank McKay, DDS, a 1990 alumnus. Dr. McKay, an oral surgeon in Birmingham, was an early adopter of the Yomi device in his practice and wanted to introduce his alma mater to it.

He is donating funds to the college to purchase a Yomi robot to add to its training technology.

 “We were among the first 20 people to have one, and it’s been an amazing addition to the technology we’ve been able to offer our patients,” he said.

“This school is as technologically advanced as any school in the country,” Dr. McKay said. “This will enhance an already technologically superior dental curriculum.”

Yomi provides computerized haptic robotic guidance to dentists performing implant surgery. It is designed to give the dental surgeon precision and control throughout the process to achieve the right location, angulation, and depth for the implant.

Hank McKay, DDS, a 1990 alumnus of the UTHSC College of Dentistry invited Neocis, Inc., to bring its van to UTHSC recently to demonstrate its Yomi robotic technology.

Staley Colvert, DDS, an associate professor in the Department of General Dentistry at UTHSC with more than 30 years experience in private practice, tried his hand at using the robotic arm, watching the computer register the exact spot for the implant as he guided it.

Augustus Fletcher, a third-year dental student, was amazed as he stood with Jones, watching the demonstration. “It doesn’t seem real,” he said.

“It is an exciting time for dentistry and oral surgery,” said Jeffrey Brooks, DMD, chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and executive associate dean of Clinical Affairs for the college. “Robotic technology is a truly transformative technology. We have seen robotics on the medical side for 20-plus years and having robotics for dental will enhance the precision and accuracy of implant surgery. Successfully placing dental implants requires careful preoperative planning and a high degree of accuracy and precision to avoid critical anatomical structures and provide the best outcome for the patient.”