Future of oral care technology comes to North Mankato dentist

Dentists work with a team of people. Now, a North Mankato dentist is the first in the state to bring on board a robotic assistant.
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 10:52 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2022 at 10:54 PM CDT
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NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - This isn’t a scene from a science fiction movie or an episode of your favorite hospital TV show. This is a dentist’s office in North Mankato where YOMI, a robotic assistant, lends a hand in dental procedures.

“The exciting thing about the profession of dentistry, just like with computers things are always changing and evolving, better procedures, things are becoming faster,” said Dr. Keith Flack, a dentist at North Mankato Family Dentistry.

Flack controls YOMI through a computer, dictating every move. He says YOMI has made an impact. For dental surgeries, patients have fewer return visits. For dental implants, YOMI brings precision to the tools, something patients appreciate.

“I kept waiting for it to be uncomfortable, didn’t happen,” Susan Hirvela said.

Once the implant is placed, there is a healing piece that goes on top, and in 3 to 3 1/2 months the crown can be put on. Before this machine, it was taking 10-11 months, now it shortens the time span quite a bit thanks to YOMI.

Flack says the machine’s accuracy adds up to less stress on patients’ pocketbooks. That’s because it’s fewer visits, less time a patient needs to sit in the chair and shorter healing time when they leave.

“It will allow me to get the procedure done faster, placing the implant and placing that healing piece right away which will mean instead of 5 visits to get your teeth it will only take three visits,” Flack said.

Something Hirvela says is something to smile about.

“The placement is probably just exactly where it should be they were able to see where it went between the bone which is important,” Hirvela said. “So yes I am very confident.”

The YOMI robot is one of only around 125 in the world.