The robot-dentist

Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

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#1
Hi everyone,

I have a question which might sound a bit strange at first because it is very abstract, but still, I give it a go:
Imagine that you have two options for a dental treatment: one is the conventional way, meaning a dentist treating in a dental practice. The second option is that instead of a human dentist you get a robot-dentist, designed to treat anxious patients: stop whenever you push a button and does not apply much force.

By the way, this is not that futuristic: even now there are several companies working on a robot that places implants in human patients, but I am not interested in the technological aspect but in the psychological one.
My question to you: how important is the human factor to you? How important is it that the person that does the dental work is someone you can communicate with?
 
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Stupiddentalfear

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#2
Hi Dr Daniel,

For me the human interaction is very important. I would probably want to run if I knew a robot would be working on my mouth. For me this is the worst thing that could enter a dentists office.
Aside from a machine not being able to understand my feelings, I would fear the fact that technology can go wrong. Chernobyl comes to mind!!
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

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#3
I, for one, welcome our new automation overlords.

Much like automated cars (I’ve nearly been killed by a reckless human driver), once the technology is proven effective, I’m all in.

Part of the reason I say this is that I’ve worked, tangentially, with the people working on this automated dental stuff, and besides being caring and dedicated, they are some of the smartest people in the world.

Human error, particularly demonstrated by me, more often than I care to admit, makes me welcome automation.

All that being said, I am grateful for all professional dental care. ❤️
 
brit

brit

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#4
The human element of trust is extremely important even though lack of it can be part of the problem too. I suspect I would have to join the sedation camp in the event of this happening. The closest to it I can currently think of, is staying in the car while it is in an automated car wash - that is a hideous experience and probably part of the reason jet-washes (which you control) and hand-car washes still exist.
I know robots are used in some aspects of medical surgery already but a human doctor is overseeing them - that is a world away from a totally AI experience which I would not like at all.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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#5
This would definately send me running in the opposite direction and not going . Could not imagine not having the human factor especially as a phobic patient. I saw a picture of this somewhere, maybe instagram and couldn't stomach it.
 
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MountainMama

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#6
Honestly, it would depend on the situation, treatment needed, and the dentist/surgeon. I am a science nut, so the accuracy of an automated procedure appeals, but only for things that can be programmed, like with an implant. For things like fillings or root canals, I would not want it, because things can change as the procedure progresses (more decay than expected, extra canal, etc).

I would not want the entire process to be done with a robot. I would want a dentist/surgeon overseeing. I can see a benefit for some things, but it still needs the human interaction as well.
 
FearfulInMA

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#7
That’s a big no for me. I worked in technology for many years - so it’s not a fear of technology. It really is that, as an anxious patient, it’s important that the dentist is there to be able to provide some comfort, kindness, compassion. A machine cannot do this.
 
Enarete

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#8
Wow. They really work on this??!

Well, this would take feeling like just a set of teeth into a fully new dimension!
 
Last edited:
Judythecat

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#9
I wouldn’t like this. The scariest medical situation I have ever been in was an MRI, where I felt abandoned to the machine - even though the radiographers were really kind and constantly talked to me between scans. I don’t even like it when the dentist steps outside to take x-rays. I need to be a person, not just an ailment or body part.
 
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LittleLynnie

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#10
I would not trust the robot. When calculators first came out, I always did the math by hand as well to make sure that the answer was right and did the same when computers came out and had built in calculators. Eventually, I began to believe that both had the right answers, but they had to prove themselves to me first. This would also be something that a dental robot would have to do too. Years of perfect performance would be required for me, before I would ever offer myself to it as a patient.
 
kitkat

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#11
It’s a solid no from me. If the robot is being used as a tool and operated by a person for accuracy purposes as others have stated under very specific circumstances (such as an implant) then sure; I am also not opposed to robotic surgeries as they have proven to be a great addition to medicine but I want human judgment and clinical expertise involved. A robot will not be able to pick up on subtle signs of stress (i.e. sweating, grimacing, shaking, changes in eye gaze, flinching, changes in tension/posture) that my dentist may notice and address throughout treatment. Also, the human compassion component is very important to me. I need to feel like the person working on my teeth has my best interest in mind and I feel like a robot is indifferent to my state of well-being.
 
Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

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#12
My impression from this discussion is that the human factor still counts.
Eventually we will all be replaced by robots but till then... let’s enjoy each other.
 
Enarete

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#13
My impression from this discussion is that the human factor still counts.
Eventually we will all be replaced by robots but till then... let’s enjoy each other.
Ohhh, getting quite pessimistic here! :grin:
Agree on the enjoying each other. Human factor always counts and will count, all we need is love :)
 
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comfortdentist

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#14
I fully expect a robotic surgical assistant where I the doctor design the procedure to be done and monitor the treatment. You simply can’t mill out a shape as well as an automated system.
 
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MountainMama

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#15
I fully expect a robotic surgical assistant where I the doctor design the procedure to be done and monitor the treatment. You simply can’t mill out a shape as well as an automated system.
This is what I would be comfortable with. The dentist overseeing and programming everything, but the robot precision.
 

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