By Barrett Seaman–
There are plenty of dentists in Tarrytown, where Clair Moore lives and works as a real estate salesperson, but he is perfectly willing to drive half an hour up the Taconic to the offices of Advanced Dentistry in Mohegan Lake. That’s where Drs. George Sepiashvili and Wanda Mejia perform dental implants with the assistance of YOMI, the first FDA-approved dental robot.
YOMI, whose full name is the YOMI Robotic Dental System, is a product of Neocis, a Miami-based manufacturer of precision robotics for medical use. YOMI doesn’t do the extractions and implants itself but rather assists oral surgeons by providing a precise three-dimensional map of a patient’s mouth and jaw, and then guiding the doctor’s drill at exactly the correct depth and angle. If there is no need for bone grafting after a tooth is extracted, a single implant can take less than an hour;’ a “full arch,” in which the entire front row of teeth is replaced, can be done in 90 minutes.
Once YOMI gets a CAT scan-generated picture of the patient’s jaw, it can map the route the doctor will take. If the patient’s head moves during a drilling, YOMI adjusts. “The margin for error is much, much smaller,” says Dr. Sepiashvili (called ‘Dr. George’ by both patients and staff). “It’s more precise and there’s less discomfort. You really can’t achieve that degree of accuracy doing it by hand.”
Dr. George has had YOMI for only a couple of months and has done some 50 implants. With him along with a dental assistant is Keenan Siciliano, a clinical sales rep from Neocis, who engages or disengages YOMI at the doctor’s command, allowing him to change drill bits, for example. His role will diminish as the doctor becomes more familiar with the robot. “There’s a learning curve,” allows Dr. George, “like anything else.”
In Clair Moore’s case, the longest part of that day’s procedure was the extraction of the old tooth. He will require a bone graft, which will take several months to harden before he returns to have the crown installed. That second appointment will most likely be it, however. Without YOMI, a typical implant will take up to four appointments. With YOMI, a single implant takes about 30 minutes.
Keenan Siciliano was reluctant to put a figure to YOMI’s price tag, but Dr. George called it a $250,000 machine –plus. “It’s a very sizeable investment,” he admits, “but we don’t charge anything extra for it.” By cutting appointment times by half or more, the practice can handle more patients, which will eventually pay for YOMI.
There are about 100 YOMIs around the U.S. at present, including several in New York City, Connecticut and two in northern New Jersey. Advanced Dentistry in Mohegan Lake has the only one in Westchester.
Back home in Tarrytown, Clair Moore pronounced himself “very happy with the doctors at Advanced Dentistry” and “very pleased with the result,” even as the anesthesia wore off.
Advanced Dentistry is located at 1966 E Main St, Mohegan Lake, NY 10547 (phone 914-594-6824). Appointments are required and can be made online at newsmile4u.com