Dental plaque-removing robots could be coming to mouths everywhere soon

13 May 2019

For some, it may conjure up images of a good oral health health-assisting Skynet, but two new robotic systems developed by a team of engineers, dentists and biologists from the University of Pennsylvania suggest that the idea of small robots scurrying across your teeth, removing dental plaque as they go, may be closer than you think. 

While the technology can potentially have a range of uses including maintaining plumbing systems and keeping catheters clean, the real point of interest for anyone in the dental field, is the way it could revolutionise the removal of plaque with some impressive upsides for both dental professionals and patients, says Edward Steager of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, one of the project leads. 

"Treating biofilms that occur on teeth requires a great deal of manual labor, both on the part of the consumer and the professional. We hope to improve treatment options as well as reduce the difficulty of care." (News Medical: Life Sciences) 

This advance in dental treatment is the result, notes co-lead Hyun (Michel) Koo of the School of Dental Medicine, of a truly multi-disciplinary approach. 

"This was a truly synergistic and multidisciplinary interaction. We're leveraging the expertise of microbiologists and clinician-scientists as well as engineers to design the best microbial eradication system possible. This is important to other biomedical fields facing drug-resistant biofilms as we approach a post-antibiotic era." 

For more on this story, go to “Small army of tiny robots can remove dental plaque”