Cyberdontics raises $15M for robotic root canals • TechCrunch
It’s been more than 20 years since the da Vinci Surgical System received approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Incredibly beautiful when you think about it. Robotic surgery and automation in general have come a long way since then, and a number of companies have entered the lucrative category, focusing on all different types of procedures. Surprisingly, robotic dental procedures have been slow to follow.
Let me get this out of the way in advance – I’m very sensitive about dental procedures. I don’t like to think about it, I don’t like to talk about it and I certainly don’t like it being there. And like many of you reading this, I’m definitely not in a rush to get a bot rooting me anytime soon. I’ve said a lot to dentist-turned-Cyberdontics founder and CEO, Chris Cirillo.
The executive notes that there are two big selling points here from a patient’s point of view. The first is effectiveness. He says the system being developed by Cyberdontics will be able to cut very fine teeth, down to about 30 microns. The second – and perhaps the most important – is speed.
“If you have something like a root canal or a crown or any of those types of procedures, where you spend an hour or two in the dentist’s chair and spend several trips to get back and fix it, “the idea that you can literally put this robot in your mouth for less than a minute,” he explains. One and you can walk out the door 15 minutes later, is a game-changing idea. For people who don’t really like the dentist, this is a really attractive way to get in and out faster.”
The idea was attractive enough to guarantee $15 million in Series A for YC grad. The round, led by dental chain Pacific Dental Services, will go toward further research and development and bringing the system to market.
The system is overseen by a dentist, and like surgery robots before it, it is designed to compromise access to such procedures amid a shortage of dentists.
“Today, the dentist would cut a hole in your tooth and fill the hole with some sort of material, whether it’s a crown or a filling or some kind of plastic they’re spraying in,” Cirillo says. “What we do is scan your teeth, and then we actually create a model of what the tooth will look like after it’s been cut. Then we can cut out your tooth and make a prosthesis at the same time, or we can make the prosthesis before surgery. Then that piece will fit just like a puzzle piece, Right in the hole we cut.”
Cyberdontics is “ambitiously” planning to launch its imaging process within the next year, with plans to introduce the robot within the next two years, depending on regulator approval.