5 less talked-about benefits of robot-assisted implantology
This blog post is based on “The Robotic Workflow: Singles to Full-Arch,” a webinar hosted by Neocis KOL and clinical advisory board member Jody F. Griffin, DDS. You can watch the full presentation, which originally aired in April of 2022, on demand. This piece has been published with the presenter’s permission.
Dr. Griffin, a general dentist based in Knoxville and the first surgeon in Tennessee to begin using the Yomi system, has placed approximately 430 implants under robotic guidance. In the on-demand webinar linked above, he walks through the preoperative and intraoperative workflows when using Yomi for single-implant and full-arch procedures. Throughout the presentation, Dr. Griffin delves into several commonly cited advantages of robotic guidance: Restoration-oriented planning, heightened accuracy due to haptic feedback, the flexibility to make intraoperative treatment adjustments, and other considerations. But he also touches on benefits of this modality that aren’t as widely known. We’ve outlined five of them below:
1. Real-time feedback that goes beyond haptics
Like many robotic surgical devices used in other medical disciplines, Yomi employs haptic feedback. When the drill tip is in close proximity to the surgical site, the guide arm doesn’t allow the user to deviate from the treatment plan in relation to the location, angulation, and depth of the planned osteotomy. In short, the robotic arm restrains extraneous movement, which is functionality no other dental surgical system offers.
But in addition to this clear tactile feedback, Yomi also delivers helpful audio and visual cues over the course of a procedure–and this is one of Dr. Griffin’s favorite things about the platform. He appreciates the multi-sensory nature of the system and the added clarity it creates for his clinical team.
Throughout a case, the user is prompted with intuitive on-screen alerts pertaining to a wide variety of factors. Yomi also provides audible alerts to notify the surgeon of important details. For example, when the user has positioned the drill tip at the correct angulation, they’ll hear a single beep. Next, when the bit is directly over the planned osteotomy site, the system will beep again. And when the surgeon has drilled to the appropriate depth, three beeps are heard.
This combination of physical, visual and audio feedback assists the user in following the defined surgical plan and
helps ensure all those in the operatory are aware of treatment-critical factors.
2. Better ergonomics for the surgeon
As someone who has struggled with back pain at various points in his career, Dr. Griffin is quick to point out the ergonomic benefits of robot-assisted implant placement. Yomi was designed with doctors top of mind and that’s evident in the seamless operative experience for the user. Because a patient’s anatomy isn’t obscured by bulky surgical guides and drill keys, the surgeon can maintain excellent visualization without having to contort their body into uncomfortable positions–even when working in the posterior of the mouth. Dr. Griffin also points out that due to the added stability the robotic arm provides, he doesn’t need to hold the handpiece as firmly as would be necessary if drilling freehand, which makes things easier on him physically during longer, complicated cases.
3. Less stress around costs
Static-guided therapy adds another variable to the equation that can impact patient outcomes and your practice’s financials. Dr. Griffin finds robot-assisted treatment liberating in the sense that he isn’t reliant on outside vendors or on the hook for additional costs associated with designing and manufacturing guides, and acquiring specialized, guide-compatible drills. Once a CT scan has been imported, Yomi functions as a self-contained system, which makes costs more predictable and helps eliminate financial stress.
In “The Robotic Workflow: Singles to Full-Arch,” Dr. Griffin speaks about a particular static-guided case earlier in his career that ended up being quite costly for his practice. His patient had an unrelated medical emergency shortly after being fitted for a guide and his procedure with Dr. Griffin had to be postponed. Due to the amount of time that elapsed before the surgery could be safely rescheduled, the vendor that had manufactured the guide wouldn’t guarantee the guide and refused to cover the cost of a replacement. As such, his practice, Cornerstone Dental Arts, was forced to eat this cost. Rather than pay for another guide, Dr. Griffin decided to move forward with Yomi.
4. Patients are asking for robotic-assisted surgery
Not only are many prospective dental implant patients familiar with robotic surgery given its growing popularity among a wide range of medical disciplines, some are actively seeking out this approach when evaluating dental surgeons in their area. Dr. Griffin believes Yomi has helped position him as a trailblazer in the dental implant space and set his practice apart in eastern Tennessee. In fact, since installing Yomi in the fall of 2019, Cornerstone Dental Arts has seen a 25% increase in total implant volume. Dr. Griffin largely attributes this explosive growth to the groundbreaking nature of this surgical method, his office’s ongoing marketing efforts, and word of mouth among patients and referring dentists. On the very rare occasions when he’s unable to use the Yomi system and must perform a case freehand, it can be a letdown for his patients.
5. A true team-building technology
Installing a new technology–whether it’s for the clinical team or the front office–can sometimes create stress, stemming from the technology itself or how the onboarding process unfolds. Dr. Griffin will be the first to tell you that robotic adoption is disruptive in the early stages as it requires both surgeon and clinical team to adapt to a new type of treatment and learn the ins and outs of a state of the art robotic system. But he’ll also be the first to tell you that this transitional period is only temporary, and once a team starts to get more cases under their belt, Yomi has the potential to completely transform a practice and foster stronger collaboration among the clinical team.
Not only does the robotic workflow drive collaboration within your office, because YomiPlan is a restorative-driven software suite, it also facilitates seamless collaboration between a patient’s implantologist and their referring and restorative dentists. YomiPlan is designed around digital imaging technologies, doesn’t require impressions or printed guides, and has an extensive library of implants, abutments and restorations, all of which allow for transparent, real-time communication between doctors and comprehensive, team-based treatment planning.
Accuracy. Haptic guidance. Operative flexibility. These are a few of the biggest selling points associated with robot-assisted implantology. But that’s just the beginning. There are many additional benefits that drew Dr. Griffin to Yomi initially and have helped him become one of the highest-volume robotic implant surgeons in the country:
- Multi-sensory feedback
- Improved ergonomics
- More predictable financials
- Popular treatment method among patients
- Fosters collaboration within a practice and with referring/restorative dentists
Want to hear more from Dr. Griffin himself? Watch his latest webinar on demand. Ready to learn more about Yomi and robot-guided implant surgery? Whether you’re interested in adding more complex implant therapies to your repertoire or just want to place more implants, robotic guidance may be the answer for you–schedule a hands-on demo right at your practice.
More on Dr. Jody F. Griffin
As the lead implantologist at Cornerstone Dental Arts, Dr. Griffin places upwards of 400 implants in a typical year, many with his Yomi system. He has been practicing implant dentistry for nearly two decades and has extensive experience with freehand and static-guided surgery. In addition to implant placement, Dr. Griffin also specializes in advanced bone grafting, IV sedation, pinhole surgery and other soft tissue procedures.
Dr. Griffin has always been a forward-thinking clinician with an appreciation for the positive impact innovative clinical technologies can have on his practice and the lives of his patients. Not only is Dr. Griffin one of the most active robotic dental surgeons in the country, he also contributes meaningfully to Neocis’ ongoing R&D efforts as a core member of our clinical advisory board.