Tallahassee, Fla. - Dental implant procedures are on the rise due to their esthetic appeal and high success rate. The dental implant and prosthetic market in the U.S. is projected to reach $6.4 billion in 2018, according the American Academy of Implant Dentistry’s (AAID) Press Room. More than 30 million Americans are missing all their teeth in one or both jaws and require an implant procedure. With the increasing demand for dental implants, The National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) encourages consumers to stay informed about the quality of their restorations in order to avoid future health implications.
“The public needs to be aware that in most states, there is no disclosure of the materials or brands used in their dental restorations, like you would find in the surgical medical device industry,” said Gary Iocco, co-chair of the NADL Public Awareness Committee.
When a patient goes to the dentist and receives a treatment plan for implants, they might assume their dentist creates their restorations. However, dentists rarely oversee the manufacturing process. Instead, dental technicians in laboratories design the implant abutment, as well as create the overdenture or crown that will be placed on top of the implant.
According to a 2014 NADL Materials and Equipment Survey, more than 85 percent of dental laboratories provide custom milled implant abutments for their dentists. According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, nearly 38 percent of dental restoration units are made overseas by foreign dental laboratories. Additionally, domestic laboratories remain unregulated in more than 40 states by their respective state boards of dentistry.
Given that more than 10 percent of all U.S. dentists place implants, NADL wants to make patients aware that most states don’t require disclosure of the materials used in their restoration. NADL created the "What's in Your Mouth" campaign to raise awareness of this issue.
Patients have the right to know where their restorations are from and the qualifications of the business that made the restoration. “What’s In Your Mouth?” suggests patients assess the quality of their restorations by asking their dentist these five basic questions:
1. What are the qualifications of the dental technician that will create my restoration? Are they a Certified Dental Technician?
2. Is the laboratory you work with certified and by whom?
3. Where is your dental laboratory located?
4. What patient contact materials are in the restorations you are prescribing for the treatment plan?
5. How does your dental practice ensure that it is not using misbranded or grey market dental implant parts?