It’s not unusual to place an order on a tablet or computer, or for a Roomba to clean your floors. However, how would you feel about a robot performing dentistry? Economists predict that robots will soon take your order at drive-thrus and even change your oil or rotate your tires. But at the thought of robots cleaning your teeth, filling cavities or giving you a root canal, most people don’t think this is a good idea. At Smile Columbia we don’t have any plans to replace our amazing dentist with robots. However, they might play a role in your care.

illustration of a man sitting in a dental chair while a robot works on his teeth

How Do Americans Feel About Robot Dentists?

Researchers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University of Florida recently conducted an online survey with an audience of more than 500 people to find out how they felt about robot dentists. The survey included a list of 10 procedures. It then asked respondents to indicate how willingly they would let a robot perform the procedure instead of a dentist.

Procedures included:

In the survey, the procedures that were more invasive like root canals, dental fillings, and gum surgery, respondents felt like these were too intricate to trust in the hands of a robot. However, there was one factor that persuaded some respondents to change their mind: price.

The survey then asked participants if they offered teeth whitening for half the price, would they allow a robot to perform it? In the first survey, 32% of participants felt opposed to a robot giving them a teeth whitening treatment but once asked with a 50% discount, nearly 83% were okay with a robot giving the procedure.

Is Robot Dentistry The Future?

Although it’s not unusual to see robots in the healthcare industry to assist doctors with surgery and other treatments, they’re not here to replace doctors or dentists anytime soon. Healthcare professions will continue to use robots for their pristine precision for surgeries and soon for dental treatments like dental implants, bridges, fillings, and crowns.

Dentists currently use robotics for digital impressions, laser measurements, and milling. This is a large difference from doing these tedious tasks by hands just years ago.

Although a robot won’t be cleaning or drilling your teeth anytime soon, you can count on assistance from robots and technology to improve your dental procedures and treatment process. There is one thing a real dentist can offer that a robot can’t, a compassionate ear to listen to your dental problems. Visit Dr. Adam Hahn at Smile Columbia for your next dental procedure by scheduling an appointment at (803) 781-9090.