South Florida company brings smart assistance to dentistry

MIAMI – Artificial assistance is common in our lives; examples range from Siri, to Alexa, to Google.

While that can be frustrating at times, some companies are taking the idea of ​​smart assistance and beefing it up for more than just directions around town.

A South Florida company hopes to use the technology to change the way certain medical procedures are handled.

Neocis, a Miami-based surgical robotics company focused on the dental space, has created a machine called “Yomi.”

The founder, Alon Mozes, named the device after a family friend, who was a dentist. It is the first FDA-cleared robotic surgical device designed to assist with certain procedures, such as dental implants.

While not a dentist by trade, Mozes has a background in engineering, receiving degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before earning a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Miami.

Neocis was co-founded by Juan Salcedo, who also has an engineering background and earned degrees from Florida International University in mechanical and biomedical engineering.

Mozes and Salcedo’s experiences and skills helped blossom the idea of ​​Neocis and, in turn, Yomi, making it what it is today.

“They’re trying to drill an implant into her jaw, and they have to worry about hitting a nerve, hitting a sinus or other healthy teeth,” Mozes said. “So they really need precision and accuracy, to perform the surgery as well as they want. And that’s really hard to do with human hands. And that’s exactly where robotics can help.”

The technology with Yomi is best described as haptic robotics, meaning a robotic guidance system that works hand-in-hand with a dentist, providing real-time feedback and assistance to the exact degree.

The software allows the dentist to virtually plan everything based on a CT scan, and then translates it to the robotic system.

The system, during a procedure, moves when the user moves, feeling very stiff if going in the wrong direction, while feeling very soft when moving in the right direction.

Therefore, Yomi does not replace the human so much as it complements it.

“The dentist is not out of the loop and still has the dentist’s hand on the drill,” Mozes said. “He forces the dentist to drill, essentially coloring the inside of the lines. So whatever they’ve planned ahead of time in the software is exactly what they’re going to get.”

The system is also designed so that it does not interrupt the dentist’s workflow as much as possible.

Mozes says that more than 100 robots are spread across the United States so far, and more than 20,000 implants have been placed with those robots.

“Now we’re at a different level where we can really not just launch these robotic platforms in the United States, like we’re doing now,” Mozes said. “There’s going to be an opportunity to launch it internationally and really alter the standard of care for dentistry and I think that’s really exciting.”

In addition to launching widely across the country and the world, Mozes says the company will soon be moving into new space in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, which would give them much more space than they’re operating now.

Neocis continues to work on new ways to improve the technology, with even more applications across the dental space.

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